Saturday, May 13, 2017

Water - A Problem Worth Solving

We've had so much rain this spring and winter, and I'm afraid it's about to dry up on us. I feel unaccomplished because I didn't get rainwater catchment set up while there was water to catch.

The pond is full for the time being.

It's home to frogs, snakes, turtle and minnows. If there are any bigger fish in it, I haven't been able to see them. I've sat on the bank and watched a few times, but so far, I haven't seen the kind of splashes and surface swirls that indicate neighboring fish washed down the stream during one of the big, spring storms. 

I love sitting on pond banks and thinking about life. In the case of this off the grid cabin experiment, I think about water as life. There are definitely ways to distill pond water for cabin use by creating a solar still, but I'd get more bang for my time and money by getting some gutters on the roof, and then directing the rain into barrels.  

Once again, even the simplest set up is pricey. When in the world did a 50 gallon barrel get a $200 price tag?? Of course, my solution is a trash barrel with a hole in the top and a retrofitted faucet. It's ugly, and therefore, not Pinterest worthy. Then there are hidden costs and challenges. The cabin roof hangs over the walls in a way that it's not so easy to attach a gutter. It's going to take some engineering to make gutters stay attached without ripping off the roof during a full on Texas toad floater. 

We also need to direct discretionary income towards our house in Austin. It is in desperate need of some upgrades. We don't like to carry debt, so our cash only philosophy has to be shared between properties.  We'll just have to keep toting water out to the country. Tammy found a great little hand pump that sits on top of a 5 gallon jug of water. It's super easy to use and reduced the need to carry a bunch of smaller bottles and jugs out there. It also helps illustrate how wasteful we tend to be with water. 

When we can see that water line dropping, it makes us aware of every drop we use. We've learned that we waste so much water; even when we bathe. This one five gallon jug has lasted for multiple weekends. Along with our two gallon hand pumped shower solution, I'd say we're doing just fine.

I've also figured out the composting toilet technique, so once we get the gutters, the barrels, and a better grasp of solar energy, I think we'll be pretty comfortable in our sustainable little cabin.

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