Thursday, 8 September 2011

Moving water from here to there

This experience so far has been mostly about getting other people to get things done here. The big stuff like digging trenches and large holes, connecting to hydro, building docks on impossible rocks, erecting towers, and replacing toilets is better left to the people with the right tools. So far, our tool selection consists mainly of a shovel, a rake and a pruning saw. By the way, Priscilla's house call went very well. Repairman Sean had the shiny new toilet in and the leaky window fixed up in good time. We were also able to get some welcome information from him about Priscilla's electrical workings which, for the most part, still remain a mystery to us. He looked at the fridge and it seemed to be working fine at the time, of course, so nothing further was done about it and he went on his way.

The one chore that we deal with most often around here is moving water. This job is like having a membership to the gym but at a much lower cost. Before the large water holding tank was here we would take the bucket down the hill, dip it in the lake then haul it back up the hill...excellent cardiovascular workout with some good resistance work all rolled into one activity. Water conservation just comes naturally when this much effort is involved in collecting such a small amount of it.

We are constantly being asked why we don't just pump water up from the lake. In the beginning, with no hydro, this was the obvious answer but it is also a good distance from the lake to Priscilla with a pretty steep uphill climb. It would take a substantial pump to move the water this distance. I want to be able to deal with the water in a less energy intensive way. With the dependable part time power in this part of the province, we would still have to haul water up the hill by the bucketful when the power goes out...which seems to be quite often. Our goal is to keep the holding tank topped up with rainwater but we need to seriously overhaul our collection practices so we can also collect rainwater when we aren't here. This will be a challenge since Priscilla has no eaves troughs and the collection points are mostly near ground level.

To fill Priscilla's interior holding tank, initially I was siphoning water from the large holding tank into a bucket and then using a bailing can to transfer the water from the bucket to a small handheld funnel into Priscilla's water inlet. This would take at least an hour to fill the 38 gallon tank and by the end of it I would have swallowed more water than I cared to from siphoning. Hmm...there must be a better way. The next week, back in the city, the latest Lee Valley Tools gardening catalogue arrived in the mail. What great timing and, sure enough, there is a better way to siphon water with a garden hose siphon pump. I love Lee Valley Tools.

Moving water from here to there takes care of itself with the siphon pump and temporary ramp setup.

The next challenge was getting water the 20 foot distance from the large holding tank to the interior tank's inlet. I needed a ramp to support the siphon hose. I made a 16 ft long v-shaped, wooden holder at my shop in the city and attached a garden hose with cable ties. Then at the lot, I was able to use old dock boards, from the little dock that was removed to make room for the new dock, to make a stand to hold the ramp. That was different since all I had to cut wood with was a pruning saw. I might not make furniture with a pruning saw but it worked just fine and got the job done. Once I got the ramp set up at the right angle, it took a couple of tries for the water to continue running through the siphon pump but it finally did. I will admit that the speed at which the water was transferring from one tank to the other would certainly not break any records but it was working. Water is moving from here to there without the use of electricity, buckets, funnels or the climbing of any hills. Life is good. Now I have the time to get to the gym again...the gym of hydro trench infilling, of course. Where's my shovel?


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