Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The construction of our hand pump well

Our house is a 175 year old farm house, one of the oldest in the area. About a year after we moved here we discovered the farms original well in the front yard covered over by a large stone and a thin layer of soil and grass. It was a perfect opportunity to install a hand pump to the well that could be used for an emergency water supply during power outages and also to water the livestock in the wintertime instead of bringing buckets into the house to fill at the sink.

My husband designed and build the entire pump using common pvc parts that could be found at any hardware store. 

diagram of the pump construction above the surface

above surface pump handle (right) and one way valves (left)

 It works best on a shallow well, the one we have is just over 20 feet deep. At the surface, a 3/4" pvc pipe runs inside of a 1 1/2" pipe that is also encased in a more sturdy 3" pipe for structure. A toilet flange bolts the pump to the deck.
diagram of the bottom of the pusher
This leads down to the pusher at the bottom of the pump.

diagram of the pump construction below the water 

one way valves that sit below the water

The pusher ends at two one way valves below the water's level. The water is pushed through these valves to a second pipe that leads back to the surface. (the diagram is slightly different than the final design but it explains the construction well)

Right now I am jealous of the low level of the snow in these pictures. :P

The well has been in place for three years now and has worked better than I think we imagined it would. Since all moving parts are 20 feet below ground it never freezes and I have water throughout the winter months. The only flaw is nature itself. During the driest parts of the summer the well will go dry and rarely in winter when we have gone a long time without any melt down. But, for the most part, no more wet or muddy boots going into the house to get water!

This week on the farm 2/25

I am late with this weeks update. The weekend was very busy running errands on Saturday and on Sunday making a large batch of Italian sausage!!
It's a very simple recipe, to 10 lbs of ground pork we add: 4 Tbsp salt, 2 Tbsp ground pepper, 2 Tbsp fennel, 1 Tbsp paprika, and 1 Tbsp garlic powder. We use natural casing to stuff the sausage.

Also on Sunday we started some seeds!! A tray full of tomatoes, peppers, boc choy and lettuce!
By the time they are ready to go outside the hoop house should be warm enough for planting and we should be working on building the second, even larger, hoop house!

The weather continues to be pain! We had a slight melt down over the weekend that left us with a very hard pack of snow and a driveway half covered in ice. Though it was nice to feel above freezing temperatures for the first time in over a month! It's the last week in February, it can only get better from here!

Have a good week!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

This week on the farm 2/15

Our BIG, BIG news this week is Rose!! She's a 4 month old Jersey heifer calf, and she is beautiful! 
My Dad joined me on the two hour drive south to pick her up in my minivan. (a lot of people think I'm nuts for doing that!) I took the front bench out of the van and put down a tarp and a thick layer of hay. There was plenty of room for her and I was able to sit on the back bench holding her halter while Dad drove. For a few minutes she tried to stand buy quickly decided that laying down was a better idea. The whole trip went pretty smoothly! When we got her home she was a little nervous about the strange stall I was putting her into but we kept her company most of the afternoon until she relaxed.
I absolutely LOVE Jerseys! They have the sweetest faces! This being our first calf it's amazing to see the difference between her and the goats. She is so calm and gentle! Everybody is looking forward to nicer weather so we can take her for walks! Right now we're just getting her use to us, teaching her to stand still for brushing, and walking with the halter.

MORE SNOW!! Schools were closed on Thursday and Friday because of a storm that came in Thursday morning. We added another 10" of snow to the foot that was on the ground. I was using my snow shoes to get to the animals Friday morning and dig everyone out before I could even feed them. 
there use to be legs on that hay feeder!
Saturday the edge of another storm brushed us giving an additional 3 inches. Some flurries are coming tonight and maybe a couple inches Monday night. The weather guys are promising ABOVE FREEZING temperatures staring Wednesday! I can't wait.

Have you seen it?! Signs of spring are coming to the stores. My last trip to Agway they had a stack of boxed grills out by the loading dock! Also, Dad and I spotted a flock of geese headed north when we were picking up Rose! I know it's early, but I'm excited!

Have a good week!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

This week on the farm 2/9

Early in the week we had a snow storm bring us our largest snow total this winter! By the time it was done 10 inches had fallen adding to the 4 inches we already had on the ground! There was wind with it so the snow drifted a lot too. The deep snow makes it really tough to carry water buckets to the animals. I guess I should be grateful that the snow had been relatively shallow up until this point. I am itching for spring! After the snow yet another cold spell was bringing us down into the single digits at night. I put the heat lamps back on for the chickens and ducks.

We received our seed order from Johnny's for the hoop house and garden! (strange after just talking about snow, I know)  My goal is to have produce ready to sell at our stand for 4th of July weekend. There are a lot of summer homes in our area and that weekend brings in a lot of people. We'll be starting seedling in our new garden window in the next couple of weeks (I'll post about that soon) and then we'll be able to move them into the hoop house as soon as it stays warm enough for the plants, maybe some time in April.

Being stuck inside did give me an opportunity to do some sewing! I enjoy the instant gratification of smaller projects that I can complete in under an hour. (I'm lazy like that) Pinterest has given me a whole list of things to try and I made some bowl covers, a hand bag, a pocket belt, and an apron out of an old shirt. My daughter has been learning to use a sewing machine, both at home and in Home Ec at school. I was proud that she already knew most of what the teacher was showing them and was even helping her classmates learn! At home she made me a pin cushion that straps onto my machine!

On Thursday I thought one of the goats were going into labor. (it was really cold out so of course that's when she would be kidding) I'm thinking it was false labor because she was showing all the early signs: not acting like herself, refusing to eat, pawing at the ground, laying down a lot. But, within two days she was back to herself and eating like normal. Her udder is starting to bag up so I don't think she has much longer to go. It would be nice if it warmed up a little first.

I received some soap making supplies that I ordered from Brambleberry! I'd like to have some soap made and ready to sell at our stand this summer. It's also nice for gifts for family. Hubby is going to make me some new soap mold and then I'll be ready to go! I have a Chocolate Espresso fragrance oil that I can't wait to try!

Have a good week!