Sunday, April 20, 2014

Water in the Bathroom - Fast Expansion of my Gravity Fed Water System

Recently Donna and Kenny decided to take advantage of Mummu's full size washing machine to make short work of the bedding.  Our little Panda washing machine, while it has endeared itself to me, still is rather limited with what it can handle in a single load.  I would say that it can only do one sheet at a time, and it best not be a very heavy one at that.

As soon as they left, I took a rather unsatisfactory break to gather my thoughts.

With the break over I decided I best have something to show for my time alone.  Just before the two of them had left, I had cleared under the bathroom sink to prepare to hook it up to the water line in place since the fall (when it had leaked many, many litres of water onto my floor, unnoticed during the night).

In the sauna, I turned the shut off valves on each tank, and then opened up the kitchen sink faucet.

Even so, I had to drain a little water into a basin as the bathroom sink is a few inches lower than the kitchen one.

Luckily, I had extra fittings from my failed attempts to have hot running water at multiple sinks.  In fact, the length of hose was pretty much exactly correct - serendipidous, as I was thinking I would have to cut it, and fearing it would be too short.

With a little manipulation, it slid onto the adapter under the taps, and this time I (correctly) double clamped it.

I returned to the sauna, turned on the valves, pondered pessimistically "what if it leaks and it takes me a few minutes to get to the cabin, and then a few more minutes to get back here to shut off the valves?"

For once, I needn't have worried.  I returned to dry pipes, which gurgled and belched briefly when I turned on the bathroom faucet.  Suddenly - water!  I could wash my hands!  I could rinse out the toothpaste in the sink!

Once I fish some of the twigs and leaves out of the well that fell in while Grandpa and I were thawing the short section of line there, I will be prepared to use this water to also wet my toothbrush and rinse my mouth while brushing teeth.  I don't see it to be much more hazardous than swimming in the lake at camp and getting some lake water in my eyes, up my nose, or in my mouth.  I *know* that animals are doing thier business (including a rather grisly death that Grandpa described last fall) directly in *that* water.  At least my well is filtered through a few feet of sand, and clay before that.

I plan on shocking the well with some chlorine once I get those physical objects out as well.  But then I think I will return to using the Berkefeld filter and will even contemplate drinking the filtered water, even if it comes back with bacteria reports.  I'm very tired of hauling water from the neighbours, no matter how nice the visit.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

To Our Door Delivery Courtesy of the ATV

With the melting of the snow everywhere, the packed trail between Mummu and Grandpa's house and our cabin had become extremely treacherous.  In fact, my foot is STILL store from going down hard while carrying both water jugs.  Luckily Papa saw me coming and rushed out to help, with similar results.

Grandpa came to visit shortly afterwards and agreed that the pathway was no longer suitable for moving water back and forth.  Although the well was opened up, our water is not yet fit to drink.  I have ordered more filters for our Berkefeld filter, but in the meantime we are still relying on Mummu and Grandpa's for our drinking water.

With that trail closed, I attempted to get down our laneway with the ATV, but rapidly became stuck.  Grandpa fetched his gravel shovel and managed to make a good showing in front of the cabin before he broke for lunch.

When he returned, I grabbed my similar shovel and began where the ATV had left off.  My path was a fair bit narrower, as I am lazy (or efficient?) and only shoveled exactly to the width of the ATV.

Once we reached one another, I climbed into the seat of the ATV and established that it was possible to get to the front door!

So, I loaded up the water jugs and drove to Mummu's via the front driveway.  This worked well!

Subsequently, I have also used the ATV to help me move some insulation and lumber from the dojo tent to the yurts/cabin area.  Next year, I really hope to be able to keep our laneway open right from the road to the cabin.  The ATV plough should go a long way towards accomplishing this hope! 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Getting My Gravity-Fed Water System to Flow After Freeze-up

The advent of some wonderfully sunny and warm weather got me once again excited about the prospect of having our water lines back in action.

I strapped on the snowshoes, and began digging down to the exposed water line at the sauna.  I had painted it a dark green last summer (to protect the pipe from UV, as well as to help disguise it in the underbrush).  With the amount of sun we were getting, I felt that exposing the pipe would help it to heat up to a far more beneficial degree than the snow was insulating it.

For the next few days after exposing it to a few hours of sunlight, I also turned on the heating cable down in the well and between the sauna and the cabin.  This appeared to not be helping with whatever blockage existed, as turning on the well pump still didn't result in any water appearing in the sauna.

After Nana and Papa had returned home, Grandpa showed up to help me out with getting the water flowing again.  We opened up the well cover and were immediately struck by the amount of water sitting on top of the ice down there, as well as the obvious melting of the ice around my pipe.  Clearly the short heat line I had put down the well had been doing its job.  In fact, I would say that it exceeded my expectations!

Turning the pump on and off showed that the surface of the well water wasn't fluctuating much, indicating that perhaps the blockage was still close to the pump itself.

Assuming that the heat cable had kept liquid water in the first few feet of pipe, we got Donna to provide us with a number of containers of hot water which we poured on the pipe on both sides of the well casing (again, the place where the coldest temperatures and the least slope coincided).

I don't know if you can imagine my surprise when Donna turned on the pump again, and in a few moments reported that water was flowing into the sauna!  I have to confess to a fair amount of jealousy.  After a week or two of sitting in the sauna waiting for water to flow, I was put out that I wasn't the first one to get to report the good news.

Water in the sauna was so exciting!  I was more than happy to schlep buckets from there to the cabin.  I returned to the cabin feeling satisfied with a days labour, but decided to push my luck, turning on the heat cable between the cabin and the sauna, and turning on the tap at the sink.  (Yes, I was also smart enough to remove the plug from the sink drain).

After about ten minutes sitting at the iPad, I realized I heard trickling water behind me!  There was a small stream of water flowing!  I called Kenny over to take a photo, and immediately texted Donna (who was warming the sauna) and instant messaged everyone who was online at that moment.

A quick post (that most of you have already seen) was warranted, it was such an exciting moment!

The water has continued to flow unimpeded here in the cabin, although very soon I will shut it off temporarily to install the bathroom faucet properly.  Heady and exciting times!