Saturday, February 6, 2016

Wondering About Your Water

This morning as I was pumping buckets of water to take to our chickens, ducks and geese, I was fantasizing (as usual) about having a barn plumbed with water that would be free-flowing year 'round.


We have a hand pump on top of our well which is a very handy back-up to have should we ever, for any reason, have a period when we would not be able to get water pumped into the house.  The hand pump is also used for water for the livestock.

We could fill buckets in the utility sink in the heated part of the garage, but since carrying the buckets of water to their destination at the animal pens is twice as far from the garage as from the hand pump, we choose to use the pump on a daily basis.

Besides thinking this morning of how nice it would be to have water available right near the animals, I was wondering what kind of a water system any of you with animals have on your homestead.  Perhaps we can learn from each other and modify our own systems to make it more efficient . . . and easier.

Care to share?

30 comments:

The Dancing Donkey said...

You need a frost free hydrant right in your barn....

http://thedancingdonkey.blogspot.com/2015/10/how-to-install-frost-free-hydrant.html

Little Homestead In Boise said...

Have you thought about using some kind of plastic large pipe, if you could gravity feed it?

Ruth Dixon said...

We have a spring that feeds our home and our garden (we do have an electric pump though). The overflow from the spring fills a pond and keeps our chickens watered. We use a hose to fill the water buckets for the large livestock. We are lucky, I know, to have that.

Michelle said...

Our barn is plumbed with two frost-free spigots, but they are dependent on electricity to run the well pump. I wish we had a hand pump like yours for use in extended power outages!

Sue said...

You're fortunate to have a hand pump---a great backup during prolonged power outages!!

gld said...

We were very fortunate that this farm had been a dairy operation back in the 50's so we had several frost-free hydrants, one at the well house by the drive and one at the milkparlor and, of course inside the barn was plumbled. We also have one just outside the chicken yard.

To make it all work all the time we had installed a backup propane fired generator that kicks on automatically when the power goes off. This part of the country is notorious for ice storms and the last one meant no power for ll days! I vowed never to go through that again. It was well-worth the expense.

Mine is much more complex than you would need but I would think about running lines to the area needing water daily and having a frost-free hydrant installed.

One of these days you will be like me and too darned old to carry those buckets!

When we began milking a government program was available for extending water to various pastures so we could intensive graze the cows. We can with little work have water availabe to the entire l75 acres. We only use the inground stock tank at the back of the farm for the beef cows but use the hydrants in the home area

Mama Pea said...

The Dancing Donkey - That and a barn! Wouldn't that be loverly!

Mama Pea said...

LHinB - Up here near the tundra (!), the pipe and holding tank would have to be in a heated building or both would freeze solid. Our water lines have to be buried 5' underground or they freeze in the winter.

Mama Pea said...

Ruth Dixon - Sounds like you don't have to deal with freezing temps in the winter? You have the next best thing to an artesian well!

Mama Pea said...

Michelle - So what do you do when the power is out??

Mama Pea said...

Sue - Plus the pump provides a great upper body workout when pumping it!! :o]

Mama Pea said...

gld - Oh, to have a wonderful system (and buildings) like yours!! We keep talking about adding more animals to our little place here and building a small barn (after we win the lottery!) and if that ever happens, we would definitely bury water lines to the barn. Very interesting to hear of your system. You're in the right area of the country for farming and raising animals.

Leigh said...

Like you, we have neither barn nor a water source for it! At least you have a well, we have to rely on city water, which is not a very secure feeling. We hope to eventually do a rain catchment and filtration system off of our someday barn and other animal shelters. That would certainly beat having to haul water for the animals.

odiie said...

We have frost free hydrants, too. We've put up two small barns on our property and before we poured the concrete, my honey ran water lines from our well out to each one. He put them down about 8 feet "just in case". It is nice to have water so close. Now if we only had a hot water spigot out there. :)

Michelle said...

We usually have enough water for the common, short outages. We had our house wired for a back-up generator when we built it; for longer outages, our portable gasoline generator can keep the well pump, frig, freezer, and a few lights going. But in the event of a huge earthquake, that would be a temporary fix, so I long for a manual way to access our well water. Can't get my DH on board....

Mama Pea said...

Leigh - Small steps toward the ultimate that we'd all like to have, huh? Rain catchment is a viable means . . . it was certainly used for many years, usually along with a cistern. But then there are those possible years with not enough rain. 'Course, a well can dry up, too, especially if it's filled with ground water seepage.

Mama Pea said...

odiie - I wouldn't be surprised if in a severe winter your temps could dip lower than ours so I think burying those water lines down 8' was a darn good idea! Hot water in the barn? Oh my, what luxury that would be!

Mama Pea said...

Michelle - That's right, I had forgotten that you've mentioned about using your generator in outages. In this area it's not a very expensive project to get a hand pump put on your well. Of course, the deeper the well is the harder to pump the water up by hand. But at least you'd have the option of doing so.

Kristina said...

We had water inside the big barn, but that was the oldest barn and the buck got his tie out caught up on the spigot and broke it. We also have it in another barn, but have to turn it on at the well pump first. I don't use it. I just fill from the house and take out.

Susan said...

I have a frost-free faucet on the side of the house near the sheep. Which only works when it's over 25. If I don't have rain barrels to tap, it's the slog from kitchen sink to bucket to barn. I have a spring house (near collapse) that is going towards the top of my list this year. My parents have a hand pump and I'm going to put it to use!

Sandy said...

Mama Pea,

I have "NOTHING" for outside animals. I do however have water stored for humans. Sorry wish I could help, I remember those days way up North in the Tundra. Stay warm!!!

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - I think we all gravitate toward what is easiest in our own situation.

Mama Pea said...

Susan - Won't having a hand pump in that spring house be wonderful once it's done? I don't think that frost-free faucet that only works if the temp is over 25 is doing its full duty!

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - I know you can truly relate to our winter weather here in Minnesota!

Florida Farm Girl said...

Mama Pea, I don't often comment here but I check in every day. Your pump brings back such wonderful memories for me. Granny didn't have running water in the house when I was a little kid, so when my same age cousin and I were visiting, she'd send us out to the pump for water. We had to reach high to push the handle all the way up and then it took both of us to carry the bucket of water back into the house. Thanks for the wonderful memories your post evoked.

Mama Pea said...

Florida Farm Girl - First off, thank you for being a reader of my blog. Good to know you're out there! :o]

Wonderful memories such as yours of your granny and your visits there are, sadly, becoming more and more rare these days. So often grandmothers not only don't have unique homes with hand pumps (!), but they're not home to encourage visits of their grandchildren. It's those "special" ways of living closer to the earth that make such impressions on all of us.

Thanks for your comment.

Betsy H said...

Just getting caught up with you :)
I put a 100 gallon stock tank in the barn and just dip from it for my 3 horses. We fill it a couple of times a week with a garden hose run from the house. When the tank is empty, it's the bucket brigade from the bathtub.

Mama Pea said...

Betsy H - Well, that's one way of having "running water" in your barn! I don't know where you live but I'm assuming you don't have freezing weather in the winter? Regardless, having the water right there in the barn, even if you have to dip bucketfuls, sounds pretty nice. Thanks for commenting!

Betsy H said...

We are in south west PA. We do have freezing temps and snow. I never ran a water line to the barn because I didn't think we'd have horses long. 15 years later, and they are still here.

Mama Pea said...

Betsy - I have to laugh . . . not at you, but with you. If you only knew how many "temporary" set-ups there are around here . . . that have been around for over 20 years!