Sunday, April 13, 2014

Water, Water, Water...

....water! Water was a big concern of ours when we first started building. When you buy property, there really is no way of telling if you have a viable source of water for a well. Of course if there is a spring or stream, there is little question.

With our house being on top of a hill, we were a little unsure of our chances of finding water for a good well. We had things all set in place for one well driller to come and drill it for us, but his rig broke down in the middle of our building process. We were luckily able to find another well driller who had some availability to come help us out.

Our driller and his wife came out to our property and used a "divining rod." It is basically a forked branch of a certain species of wood. Cherry is a good choice. If there is water, the stick will bend toward the water. They walked around our house and tried to find spots that seemed favorable. One was right behind our house and the other was near the bottom of our driveway,  in the middle of the road. Convenient, right?

He started drilling behind our house first. Boy, well drilling is a dusty job! Things looked favorable and it seemed as though we had hit water. He asked me to come out the next day so I could "see the show." But, when I got here....The well was empty. He speculated that there was some sort of crevice in the rock that allowed the water to flow away. So, back to the drawing, er, drilling board.

The drilling rig was moved down to the switchback in our driveway. The divining rod showed the most movement in the middle of the road, but that wasn't going to work for a well. Off the road slightly, there was still some promise. And luckily for us, he hit water. At a depth of 160 feet, we had a viable well.

The well is 1500 feet from our house. At the bottom of the hill. Our driller had a small excavator and spent the better part of a week trenching and laying water and electric lines to get the water to the house. What a fiasco!

Because the well is so far away from the house, we have a storage tank in our basement. The well itself has a 2 horsepower pump in it and it takes 7 minutes for the water to get from the well to our basement. Obviously, that would make doing anything with water difficult,  so we have a secondary pump that pumps water through the house from the storage tank. The well is set up to pump water up to the tank every 30 minutes as needed.

We try our best to conserve our water. We bought all new appliances, so we were sure to buy a front loading washing machine as well as low flow toilets and shower heads. We also wanted to use rainwater. We found rain barrels that matched the siding on our house!  We have 6 - 65 gallon rain barrels.

This particular barrel sits on the southwest corner of the house and is perfect for watering our garden. We were able to use only rainwater to water the garden last year and hope to be able to do the same this year. We have plans to connect them all together in the future and set up some sort of irrigation for our garden(s). Baby steps, right?

And the chicken coop is coming right along! Here's a teaser picture,  but be sure to check back tomorrow to see Dan's passive solar designed coop!

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