Monday, November 28, 2011

The heartbeat of one dingle

The wind is raging in its Novemeber strangeness, seeming to purge the land of this year's bright season. There is a suspiscious balminess erratically blowing through the mountains, tipping trees and conjuring angry and longing sounding squeaks and cries through the night and all the morning. Bitter Cold is sneering greedily around the corner, its shit-eating grin laced with all manners of human-hungry cold viruses and pneumonias, all the tiny little ones gearing up to feast and procreate during the dramatic front changes of late November, awaiting another winter of rapid adaptation and evolution. In the meantime, in one typically quiet mountain dingle*, one modern woman celebrates the arrival of water to the ridge above her house. Having planned and dreamed for the past 2 cycles of the sun, and having worked with a diverse team of modern mountain men during the entire course of the November moon, Dana Nagle rejoices to the bosom of the mother earth Herself and her trusty consort, Gravity, that the ram pump has settle into the magical configuration of adjustments which allows it to defy common sense and pump water up the mountain on its own, night and day, with no additional sources of power. The constant movement of the pump, which cycles with a hearty thump each second, will keep the water in liquid form as the nightime temperatures descend into the subfreeze realm this week. The sound of the pump ramming each second has become a comfort to Ms Nagle, who listens for it each time she steps out under the sun or moon. The thumping below, like the heartbeat of the mountain.

*dingle: a small wooded valley

Tank on the ridge, filling with water

Let's walk back down to the house:

Some numbers:
Water flow cycling through pump: 5 gallons/minute; 120 gallons/hour
Water arriving at tank on ridge: 1/6 gallon/minute; 10.3 gallons/hour; 248 gallons/
Efficiency rate of pump: 8%

All "waste" water from pump flows back into the branch, thus keeping the ecosystem wet and intact. The water is still clean.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pumped 3

Extra Extra Read all About it: Ram pump update...
The good news: The ram pump is installed and hooked up to lots of pipe.
The bad news: The pump is running- pumping like a heartbeat, but so far it is not pumping the water up to the tank.

Some details:
Gallons per minute of spring flow: currently about 4
Vertical drop from spring to pump: about 18-20 feet
Size pipe from spring to pump: 1 1/2 inch
Vertical rise from pump to tank: about 130 feet (over a distance of 700 feet)
Size pipe from pump to tank: 3/4 inch
Tank size: 600 gallons
Vertical fall from tank to house: about 80 feet

The pump should pump water up to 10 times higher than the fall from the source to the pump. My system falls within that range, but the pump has been running for 2 days straight with no water reaching the tank up on the ridge. My neighbor and friend, James Wilsom, came over this evening and maybe, just maybe figured out why. The pump has a standard pressure tank attached to it. The tank comes preset at 40 psi, but can be adjusted. For the pump to maximize its pumping capacity, the pressure tank should be set at slightly under the psi of the water between the tank on the ridge and the pump. Basically that is the pressure put back on the pump caused by the gravity of the water in the buried pipes. This number can be reached by taking the vertical rise from the pump to the tank and multiplying it times .43. 130 x .43 equals something around 56. So the pressure in the pressure tank should be adjusted (by adding air) to 56. I think it is currently set at 10 psi because we read the instructions wrong. Hopefully with this adjustment, the pump can get the water all the way up to the 600 gallon tank on the ridge. I will keep you posted. Go James, go. Thanks for the think "tank."

The pump is bolted to this stool:

This is a small tank at the spring that is piped down the hill to the ram pump:

This is the ram pump with the pressure tank on top:

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fire and water

Early November finds me actualizing some of the major infrastructural plans of my little homestead. Water lines (all 2000 feet of them) are buried, power line is connected to the house, the house is plumbed to the septic tank, and the GORGEOUS wood stove is now in the house. (***There will be another whole post later about the stove itself and all it represents in the world of friendship and warmth.) The stove is not set up yet, but it is getting good and ready for that. My hydraulic ram pump has arrived in the mail, and it will be set up and connected to tie the whole water system together on Monday. A ram pump is a non-electric water pump that uses the force of water falling through a pipe to power itself to pump the water uphill to a point far above the original source. The plan is to pump the water up the hill (underground) to a 600 gallon storage tank which is buried on the ridge above the house- 600 feet from the house at about an 80 ft elevation rise. The water will be gravity fed to the house from that tank and will have good water pressure. The overflow water will go over the other side of the hill to share with some of the lovely neighbors, whose spring is fussy in dry weather. Assuming everything works as planned, very soon I will have a functional water system in place that meets my 3 goals: to get water to my house, to share water with the neighbors, and to keep the branch wet. (Most of the water that flows into the ram pump is used to pump a much smaller volume of water up the hill- and then splashes back out into the branch.) When the pump is up and running, I will dedicate a post to its glory. Same with the woodstove. Fire and water. For now, enjoy the pictures of a crazy ditch digging operation that occured last week... Sorry for the sideways ones.