Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Thoughts on water

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink... actually last year and the year before it almost was true at my house. We've had some real significant flooding in my neck of the woods, luckily we're on top of a hill so not so significant for us, but the meanwhile all this abundance of water surrounds us and our well pump was quietly dying. Dad to the rescue (the man is a saint I swear he always comes to the rescue I don't know what I'd do without him) well pump replaced last sumer. But the lack of a consistent flow had me thinking of what I was going to do when I finally get the garden moved. I always knew I'd have another garden after my baby induced down time, frustrating as that was, so I was always thinking about these kinds of things.

We have 3 wells on our property, the new(ish) artesian well out front - butt-ugly blue and totally functional, a newer old well, which was put in round about the 60s by the lady who lived here before us because the health department said she couldn't drink from the well that was so close to the animals (horses and a cow at the time). This one has a very nice fitting concrete cap, though it also has a very decorative roof as well, but the cap makes it about as functional for my purposes as the artesian well. And finally we have the old, old well. You can see it in the background in the picture of the geese from Sunday's post. This well is original to the house (early 1700s). It's in magnificent shape save the decking on the "lid" which could use an overhaul. So this got me thinking. A. I don't have horses B. I want to irrigate with it not drink it and C.How could I cheaply use water without putting unecessary strain on my artesian well (not that I have to be careful anymore, but since I have an alternative...) Why don't I figure a way to use this water for irrigation and filling the geese's pool? So while I was down in the cellar coddling the sump pump for the umpteenth time (whole different post) I thought why don't I put a sump pump in the well, connected to a timer and have some irrigation hoses splay out from there to irrigate all my plants and I could manually override the system whenever I needed to fill the pool? Genius!

So you can see from the doodle. It's centrally located. Getting power to it won't be nearly as complicatred as getting power to the bus, and it would not touch the household water, and we'd be using water that would otherwise just be there (unusable). I think it's win/win. So now I have to design myself a PFD for the sump pump (I'm thinking with a lifeguard's ring maybe) and I'll be all set.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Growing challenge update

Alas I don't really have anything new to report on the growing challenge front. We are deep in the throws of winter here and I have all I can do to keep the house warm and the pipes not frozen. It's snowing here again today, and my garden area is currently under glaciated snowpack.

I'm looking into getting the plastic I need to get my greenhouse frame up and running. I got the frame from the disposal crew who were cleaning out the neighbor's house before the new people moved in and it snowed before I had a chance to get the plastic. In retrospect it was a good thing too 'cause we've had a record snowfall this year and that's where a lot of the snowpiles from my neighbors' pro-bono plowing job ended up (very kind of them too I might add since the snow blower is officially dead), not to mention the fact that I have seen many of these kinds of frames (usually as garages and not greenhouses) get flattened this year and I'm kind of thankful things turned out the way they did. It has put a slight hamper on my winter garden attempts though.

I once had a gloriously huge garden with a wattle fence which sustained us quite nicely through the warm months, but I got a full time job and it went to pot, then I got some sheep and the wattle didn't hold up to my 200lb babies and they ate the garden. To add insult to gardening injury the year I decided to move my garden I got pregnant (surprize!), and was all consumed with fatigue, so much so I didn't even knit (and for those of you who know me well know that is a major big thing). My fatigue didn't end there, the following year I barely had the energy to keep up with 2 squarefoot beds, and the year after that my newly mobile one year old hardly let me spend the time I would have liked, so I just managed some tomatoes. But I'm back, and this year the baby will be 2, and except for really liking to run into the road, which I'm hoping she'll get over by spring, she's pretty self reliant and I should be able to get the big garden I so desperately crave.

These are my geese. I use them primarily as pest control for the sheep, but they also act as an alarm for the sheep as well in that they don't like anything coming into their yard and will squak really loud which sends the sheep running in the other direction. Works fantastic. I have a bit of a problem with the sheep beating the geese up in the winter though and so I keep them out front in the winter time, but as my neighbor accross the street has more sun, ergo more grass at this point in the year, quite often the geese are in the road and I think it's irritating oncoming traffic 'cause they are doing an awful lot of honking (the cars, not the geese) lately, and I'm not really sure how to resolve this dilemma - I'll have to think of something before next winter, because this is obviously not working.

So I'll leave you all with the bucolic view from my office window, very Currier and Ives isn't it? It's an even nicer view when the horses are out, but like my sheep they're hiding in the barn from all the snow.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Growing Challenge

Melinda of Elements in Time has come up with a Growing challenege in which we are to grow something new that we haven't before and to grow it from seed - no problem. We also are supposed to check in once a week - we'll see how that goes. We're also supposed to attach a button - I'm not terribly versed in the whole blogging thing - basically I've got what 2 posts of experience so we'll see how well I do - might have to beg for help.

So I have some blue lakota pumkin seeds I got from an organic gardening listmember and I can't wait to plant them - I don't know what it is about squash but I get all giddy inside just at the thought of it. This year I plan on a big renewal in my gardeining because Quinn will be 2 and perhaps more helpful (or at least able to play unassisted) while I'm gardening. more to come on that front.