It’s been a frustrating week in many ways. There is my well, with water at the bottom, and I can’t get at it.
I’ve been trying to get a pump installer, find out about plumbing, find out how much power I need, and find out what solar equipment I need. I knew nothing about this when I started and know very little now. I have been on the phone and internet for hours – and no one that I have left messages for is getting back to me. It is driving me crazy.
Having never owned a house with running water in it before, I know nothing about plumbing. And I am also finding that running things on solar power is a lot more complicated – and the equipment is a great deal more expensive. (Of course, once it is set up, it is there: and there are no hydro bills or power failures.)
According to the well driller, I have 1/4 gallon a minute. There are 200 gallons in the pipe. The pump I am considering getting pumps 2.5 gallons a minute. Whereas it has a shutoff valve to protect it if the well runs dry, I don’t particularly want to be standing in the shower all nice and soapy when the water quits.
I can have the well pump push water directly into a pressure tank. Or I can have it put into a holding tank and then use a second pump to get pressure. These second pumps are incredibly noisy, and two pumps will use more power than one.
A larger pressure tank means the pump won’t kick on and off frequently, and this saves power. But then I find that a 116 gallon pressure tank actually holds only 36 gallons of water! (At the rate I use water – I will have no flush toilet – that will probably last 3 – 4 days.)
I have to calculate how much power the pump(s) use and how long they are on for. I have to factor in a freezer and a washing machine (no drier – NEVER a drier: I don’t believe in them when you have the great outdoors to dry clothes) and a vacuum cleaner: this last will use the greatest power surge.
I have a 1000-watt inverter that will run the pump and computer stuff and internet and lights – the freezer is 12-volt so bypasses the inverter – but may have to buy a bigger one for a washing machine and certainly for a vacuum cleaner. There goes another $3,000 – and this before I have even bought any of the appliances. And if I get a larger inverter, I might buy a different pump….. and so it goes. And I haven’t even started figuring out how I am getting the water to the sink (and I don’t have a sink yet, either!)
So 10 days has gone by since the well was dug and I am very little further forward. I did manage to get a local backhoe operator to dig the trench to the house.
So now, when I go out of my door in the frosty dawn to do my energy exercises (qui gong, yoga etc), I have quite an obstacle course to negotiate before I reach level ground.
On the plus side, though, two volunteer workers arrived. Camille is a wwoofer from France, and Ron is a workawayer from Germany. Last spring, two other volunteers (also from France and Germany) insulated the ceiling, and just before I went into the mountains, a pile of lumber was delivered. Now the two young men are lining the attic with tongue and groove. (Camille is on the left.)
When we first went up there, we could see that a packrat had got in. What a mess! We blocked the loose board – but then I heard him running around inside at night so I had to trap him. As we were working I noticed a slightly fermented smell. And there, in some empty boxes on top of a pile of my possessions jammed into a corner, was his winter food supply. This guy had collected soopolallie exclusively!
A derelict building on the property is full of packrats – I call it the Packrat Palace.
When Ron and Camille were exploring it, Ron took these great photos of a packrat. it is a pity they are so destructive as they are otherwise very cute.