Search

skiddingtowardsretirement

semi-retiring, work life balance, lifestyle block living

Category

water

Pumped up

With another summer of very little rain, our water is now down to under a quarter in our main 6000 gallons tank. Our second tank of 5000 gallons is sitting at about three quarters full.

Yesterday the man made the decision to take all our water from the back up tank. The man also thought that a bit of maintenance wouldn’t go amiss, so he decided to do a filter clean at the same time he did the swap over.

At about noon, I received a text from the man to say that all had gone well. He also mentioned in passing that the water pressure wasn’t crash hot. Now to those who have experienced the joy of showering at our home, you will realise the man’s comment about the pressure was worrying as it is terrible at its best! At this stage, I put on my Pollyanna hat and thought it would come right.

I was wrong. It went from bad to worse.

When I arrived home from work, the man greeted me with the words ‘We have no water to the house’. He followed this up with, ‘We will have to get the pump guys as I think the pump is …. (insert your own choice word here)

I knew in a trice that this was going to be a very expensive exercise; firstly, because it was going to attract an after hours call out fee, and, secondly, we would be in for hefty travel costs too as we live in the back of beyond. I was far from happy.

I also knew as I ran my fingers through my hair that desperately needed a wash that we had absolutely no alternative but to get it fixed as soon as possible.

And as I faced the realism of a huge budget blow out this week, I remembered that son No.1 was most of his way through his water reticulation qualification and knew a thing or two about water and pumps. So we did the sensible thing and called upon his services.

And low and behold, in an hour or so, son No 1 had fixed the issues and we had running water again. We also had a pump and water filter that had had their yearly maintenance. Oh, and the water pressure? Sadly, this is a blog, rather than a fairy tale, so it is still pathetic!

Water play

The vegetable garden has been neglected since last summer when an eight or so month drought played havoc with our capacity to water the plants.

This lack of rain had been exacerbated by a connection on one of our tanks failing in mid-winter 2019 while we were overseas. This resulted in the loss of every drop of water in that one tank. Our available water was halved.

Luckily our tame herd manager came to the rescue in our absence, reconnected the hose and kindly ordered a load of water for us. The price of this 10,000 litres was eye-watering high, but hey, we thought spring is around the corner and it always rains in spring and our water problems will be solved.

Spring 2019 was rain-free.

As spring turned into summer, the drought bit and economic or miserly us, depending on your world view, made a pact to conserve water, rather than buy it in. Our tight approach was fashionably in line with the council request to go easy on usage – sad losers, we are not!

Over the summer of 2019/20 we honed our conservation skills. Recycling became our buzz word. We limited flushing the toilet to only when absolutely necessary. We abandoned the dishwasher in favour of washing the dishes in a bucket in the sink. We then popped the used water onto the plants. We caught the first water from the shower while it was heating up and used this too in the garden. We tried collecting the water from the washing machine, but due to reading the litres the machine used incorrectly, I flooded the hall carpet. At that point I gave up that idea.

Our efforts to keep the plants alive over this period weren’t successful. We got a few tomatoes, some potatoes, half-formed corn and some bitter tasting lettuce. With the drought still continuing, I let the garden go to seed.

After lockdown ended we finally had rain. These two events were enough to inspire me to make an half-ass attempt to plant a few winter crops. I planted spinach, cabbage, cauliflower and beetroot. In the depths of winter, I lost the will to tend them.

Subsequently, many of the cabbages and cauliflowers fell victim to vermin and didn’t survive or didn’t survive to look pretty. The spinach flourished and is presently threatening to go to seed. I am not sure why I planted it; the truth is we aren’t overly keen on spinach except when it is used in the occasional spanakopita.

The beetroot.. well, the beetroot is my success story. Today I picked two good specimens. I will boil them, slice them up and pop in vinegar following the Edmonds Cookbook recipe, just like my mother and grandmother did before me.

Beetroot is the perfect accompaniment for a salad, and let’s not forget, hamburgers – beetroot is the absolute making of a homemade hamburger.

Today I planted more beetroot. And tomatoes. And capsicum. And lettuce. And chillis. And courgettes. And cucumber.

I gave the spinach a miss.

New Life – Week 4 – Water rights

Last night it rained. This morning it rained. 6 days ago a drought was declared up here, so these showers will be welcomed by the farmers, and also by those folk on tank water who are running short.

The man and I are on tank water too, so logically we should have been low on water too, except we weren’t. The water level in our two connected tanks (we have a third, unconnected tank too) has remained consistently at just over 3/4 full since we arrived a month ago.  And therein lies the mystery – with no rain topping them up, how come the level hasn’t gone down?

Now we are not new to this tank water lark, having lived with it for most of the last fifteen years. But we confess, we are flummoxed.

We do know that the tanks are fed by rain from the shed roof, but from what we can see, the house roof is not supplying.

We also know that in a former life, the property was part of a farm, and in another life, calla lilies were grown here commercially. Each of these operations would have required a serious water supply way beyond what a roof or two can provide: the black alkathene pipes which zigzag across our paddocks in a haphazard way from the taps nailed onto fence posts to the troughs, or to form the  regimented lines of a very sophisticated irrigation system are testament to this.*

So where did this water come from? And is it still supplying us?

On Sunday, Kevin, the next door neighbour, popped in to introduce himself. Over a beer, we mentioned our magic never-ending water supply and Kev said it was sourced from our pond; except we think he is wrong. Actually, we hope he is wrong. You see after he left we visited the pond and there are no pipes, pumps or other paraphernalia down at the pond to make this possible. Also the pond was full-on disgusting and if we’ve been drinking that water, the man and I are convinced we would be dead, or soon to be dead.**

Which makes the man and I think that our water supply is something to do with a strange small round concrete bunker thing which sits besides the tanks. It is always full of clear water, although it is not connected to the roof. We think that it might be something to do with a spring or a bore. Both of which would explain our omni-present water supply.

Fortunately for us, the original builder of our house lives about 500 metres away; one day we’ll pop in and ask him.

*sadly, pipes and irrigation have been cut and left in quite a random fashion, rather than kept in good nick or removed. This makes it a bit like solving a jigsaw puzzle as we try and work out which troughs and irrigation pipes are still connected to water supplies.

** our tenant farmer is going to clean out the stagnant pond.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑