Thursday, August 03, 2006

More on the project...and assorted

Thanks to those of you who have volunteered already. Emails will be going out in the next 30 hours or so to the so-far list. I've been uploading recipes to the forum like crazy all week and have lots more to do. If I seem slow on the uptake communication wise, that would be the reason.

Also, for the next ten days I'll be in and out...but more out than in. Hubby is off work till the 14th. Over the next couple days he and his nephews are *topping* the haystacks and then first cut will officially over. The bale wagon stacks the hay in rows with a flat top which doesn't shed rain or snow all that well. So they create a peak with more bales over the center of the stack, then tarp it down so it will keep well for the required months.

Because this is a temporary shut-down at his place of employment and wasn't figured into our vacation days, we're not wandering far from home. By the time these dates were announced, my in-laws--who live on the farm and are our backup--had already made appointments in a city far from home. Hubby's fancy water system requires somebody keep a close eye on it at this time of year, so we'll ask a neighbor to do that a few times. We plan on doing some local camping overnighters, including taking his dad's boat across the lake and camping for a couple days there.

Our water system, in case you're interested, consists of a shallow well in a place where most households are hooked into a community system. Because we have two households on one deeded property (legally I might add), the community system refuses to service us. It's a mixed blessing actually, because hookup would cost us ten thousand dollars plus several hundred dollars a year usage fees. His folks, back when they owned the farm, put in a 1300 gallon cistern. In the months of the year that the well was usable (February through June or July, depending on the year) they ran the farm off the well. The rest of the year they filled the cistern using a 300 gallon slip-tank that fits in the back of the pickup truck. Then they'd switch back and forth between the well and the cistern whenever the water level in the well came up enough to use. Because the cows can go through 300 gallons on a hot day, that meant hauling a load of water became part of the daily chores (especially during the hottest part of the year which so happens to coincide with haying, the busiest part of the year.) The well water does not pass health standards, so an extra tap in the kitchen was permanently hooked up to the cistern, which always had clean water in it.

Hubby wasn't thrilled with that chore when we took over the farm. We did it for a few years and then he came up with a brainwave. He stuck a sump pump down the well so that whenever there was a bit of water in it, it would get pumped directly into the cistern. When the well doesn't keep up with the usage, we haul water. Allowing it to come in a little at a time prevents us hauling water for most months of the year. In spring there is so much water in the well that I would turn on the sump pump for about 15 minutes daily to top off the cistern. Now it is taking about four hours of running the sump pump daily, which is why we can't leave the farm totally unattended. In a few weeks I'll likely be able to leave the sump pump on around the clock. The last time we hauled a load of water in the slip tank was November.

The downsides are fairly minor compared to the gains. We now have a water cooler in the kitchen for all our drinking water--one of those commercial ones with the 5 gallon jugs. For awhile last fall I couldn't lift those into place but if I was careful in managing the water, I didn't run out while hubby was away. The other downside is changing filters often on the pipes around the cistern. The well water is quite murky.

Well. I had no intention of going off on water systems when I started this post! All to explain why we can't just throw the camper on the truck and disappear for the entire week, being as the cows are happy on grazing and don't require any personal attention.

We live in a beautiful part of BC--I've shown you pics before so you already know that--so it's not a hardship to camp nearby and do some day trips. We're hoping to find a good huckleberry patch or two as well. I've gotten kind of addicted to having fruit at the ready and our local huckleberries are superb. It's a little early in the year yet for the best spots, but we'll see what we can find.

Behave yourselves while I'm gone. I hope to come back at *it* all refreshed and ready for anything. Ha.


Random Walk Writer said...

Behave myself? Must I?

Cool water system. Not so much to live with, I imagine, as the aquatic plot bunnies it breeds.

EJ said...

If I didn't get an e-mail, does that mean I didn't make the list? And if I didn't make the list, can I still try recipes for my own edification?

Valerie Comer said...

EJ, you should have gotten an email. I'm home for a day or so here now and I'll doublecheck and try to send it again though tbh most of my info is on my work computer. I'll check with you next week, okay? And if I can't resend from here (thinking about what all is in the email) I'll do it again Monday from work.