Sunday, September 30, 2012

Day 1 - Water

31 Days of Homestead Living!

Hello friends!  If you are just stopping in today for the first time, I'm so glad to meet you!  If you have been here before, you probably realize I have been away for awhile.  We have had some family things going on,  but things here have settled down, and I am glad to be here.

The topic I am going to talk about today is Water.  When you are homesteading, water is very important.  Where we live, we are on well water.  Our well is fed by a natural spring.  We have a catfish pond for our cows and other livestock to drink from also.  We are one of a very low number of families in our county who are on a well for their only source of water.  I love it, and love not having to pay for water.  We use lots of water with the animals, and all the other needs of the farm.  The reason we are not on county water is that we are a half mile off the road, and it would cost several thousand dollars to run water to our home.

Last February, I said we were going to test our water.  My husband wanted me to get this done, because we had lost a few baby animals (sheep and goats) and we couldn't figure out anything else that was different.

So finally, I had the water tested about a month ago.  Our house has a house water filter system.  I thought the correct way to test the water would be to test the water at the outside faucets to see if the unfiltered water was safe.  I really needed to know if the filtered water we're drinking is safe.  I did the test, and dropped it off to be mailed.  When the results came in, they weren't good.  The water failed in two areas, and we weren't suppose to drink the water until we had it retested.

Well, I have wanted a Berkey Water Filter for some time, but the price just didn't fit in my budget right now.  A few years ago, a tenant left one of those plain water cooler stands that uses a large water bottle, in one of our rental houses.  We now have that in our kitchen.  We keep it for when we have tornadoes, or the electricity goes off.  When you live in a rural area, you never know what will happen.  Since we're on an electric pump to get water, if the electricity is off, we won't have water.  We keep those bottles for the water cooler, and at least we;re able to make coffee or a bottle of formula when the GrandBoy was small.  My sister saw the water cooler and said, "I can't believe you have a water cooler!"  She was insinuating I am cheap! So I had to explain to her that it was free, and why we buy the water.  Under normal circumstances, we only buy about two bottles a year.  With this going on, I believe I've bought two already this year.

I also started buying gallon jugs of water at the grocery store.  Well, that got old pretty quick.  I just got tired of paying for the water.  So I decided I would refill the gallon jugs at work.  I started out with four jugs, and one sprang a leak.  So we currently have three.  This means I am putting chlorinated city tap water in my jugs to bring home to drink.  It makes me cringe.  But it's safe, and better than paying for water at the store.  Once or twice a week I refill them before I leave work.  I still use our filtered water for cooking, but if the water isn't going to be heated, I use the water I collect at work.  This is usually when I make ice tea.  My husband hates seeing me tote this water home.  But I do it none the less. 

Thinking back, I decided I did the water test wrong.  I used the hose pipe next to the miniature fish pond to collect the water sample.  I think the hose pipe was contaminated from being in the animal troughs, etc.  I did another test this past week, using our kitchen faucet.  I cleaned  and sterilized it first, and let it run for 5 minutes before testing.  Daughter #1 took the test to the health department for me.  Now the wait starts.  I hope the test results are back in a week or so.

If the water results are still bad, we'll have to run bleach though all the faucets and water lines, starting at the pump.  We'll have to continue to test until the tests are good.  If the test results are good, we just know we need to drink the water in the house, where the filter system is.

One day I hope to get the Berkey Water Filter.  But I hope I can wait a while.  If I need to though, I know that we could drink our water with the Berkey now, and we would be safe.  We may have to plan to make that a family Christmas, anniversary, and everything gift for the coming holidays if our water fails.  I hear that Berkey sometimes send out models to bloggers to try in exchange for a review.  If you are out there, Berkey, we may need you!

I know some of you may wonder about the filter system on our home.  There is a big difference in filter systems.  Some are made to remove chlorine and chemicals from tap water.  Some only remove sedimate.  And some are made to make water safe to drink.  I just don't know what the one we have is designed for, so I can't say.  It was on the house when we moved here.  They sell them at home repair stores, and they don't talk about "making pond water safe", if you know what I mean. 

When we first moved to the farm in 2001, we had well pump problems every year.  It was awful.  But a few years ago, we got a newer model, and it has been great since.  Hardly any trouble at all  My husband told me recently that when our water pressure is bad, it usually means that the filter on the water filter system needs to be changed.  Or sometimes it means that "someone" forgot to cut off the pasture water, and it may be flooded out there, taking all our water!  But as far as I know, there is only one company that works on well pumps here.  And when I call them, they rush to get here as quickly as possible.  The man says, "There is nothing madder that a woman with no water!"

Now we store about 300 gallons each of water, in two above ground water storage tanks my husband built.  When we had the tornado this year, we used this water to take baths, wash dishes, and cook, and we were fine.  We were without electricity and water for about 10 days.  My husband said a man should have to tote water for a woman for a week before he marries her, then he'd know for sure if the marriage would last.  I guess I'm worth it, cause we've been married 30 years this December!

One of our water storage tanks

Since we've lived on the farm, I knew one other family who were on a well.  But their well wasn't spring fed like ours.  When the summers were long and hot, the draught season, they would need to measure their water each day at the hottest parts of the summer.  The husband would measure the water with a yard stick, and tell the wife if the six children could take baths that day!  Our spring has never gone dry, and for that I am thankful!  Our catfish pond may get low, but we have never run out of water yet.

Our pond, one Christmas

We rent several pastures for cattle.  Some of those may not have water on site, and when that occurs, my husband has to carry water to those fields as needed.  That is another aspect of homesteading water that may need to be addressed.  Animals have to have water.  But I have recently learned that there are grants in our community to run water to animals.  I think we'll check into some of that. 

If anyone has any water questions, I'll try my best to answer them.  Thanks for stopping by!  Honey

NOTE:  Each day a new segment will be added to this series, so check for that days updates by going to the bottom of the page and clicking "older" or looking on the right side of the page and pick the appropriate day.


  1. This post is very interesting and it also helpful for us. liking stuff like this blog as well as this has now given me Some inspiration To succeed, ever so Appreciate it.

  2. Thanks so much for stopping by! I appreciate your comments.

  3. Lovely! We moved to a place in the country this summer and are trying to make it all go. This is a great article. I'll be back to read more!

  4. Thanks so much for stopping by, Granny Kate! I look forward to seeing you again. I'll be glad to help you figure it all out!