It’s Friday afternoon, and Bettie and I are both at home. I have the day off work – my vacation time is use-it-or-lose-it, and I actively pick door number one.
All of a sudden, it’s beep city. We have our computer equipment backed up for power, using an uninterruptible power supply similar to this. Works well, except that it reminds us that it’s working every few seconds. I know it’s not continuously beeping, but it sure sounds like it.
Anyway, when the power goes out, we know about it. And it went out. We knew about it.
We called in to report the outage, and they told us it would be out for about three hours, even though they didn’t know what the problem was. That was a safety number, because it was back in 35 minutes.
It was funny – we wanted to jump online and see how big the problem was. We could have, because of the UPS powering everything computerish, but what if we needed it later on? Better to preserve the battery. We talked about whether it was worthwhile to get internet access on our phones. We discussed going down to the basement if it got too hot in the house. I imagined the need to go shopping in a nice, air-conditioned store, and staying for a long time.
And then we remembered the garden.
No, we don’t have an electric garden. We have a dry garden. One that we’re watering, with water. Drinking water, that has come off our roof and been gathered, then filtered and purified. The same water we brush our teeth with.
The same water that’s stored in a 40-gallon tank, pressurized by a pump. An electric pump.
Now you make the connection. No electricity, no more pump, so no more water pressure in the house. No flushing toilets. No washing hands after not flushing the toilet. Well, it’s not that bad. We do have several gallons of water in jugs, sitting around, for occasions like this. Bettie was kind enough to pour water for my hand-washing, and the power was on before I got to return the favor.
But this bothers me. Why are we going to the effort of purifying water that we put right back onto the ground? Why not take water directly from the storage tanks, unclean and unfiltered, instead of using up cleaning resources?
Why indeed? And an idea was born. Take a garden hose and drop it into the storage tank. Hook the other end up to an electric pump. Attach another garden hose to the other end of the pump, and run it out to the garden. Attach the pump to some working electricity, and BOOM, magic happens. Well, magical things. I’ll settle on really useful things.
But do such things exist? Garden hoses, yes. Garden hoses that we want to put into drinking water? Well, it’s not really drinking water. We have filters to keep bugs out, and the filters work, but that’s the quality of water in the storage tank. Bugs and bird droppings. The real cleaning takes place inside the house, and it does work. Still, I’d like to keep that water as clean as realistically possible, to lessen the work of the indoor cleaners.
Finding an extension cord? Yes, that’s possible. Likely, even.
The hard part will be finding an electrical pump. So it’s off to my new favorite cheap hardware store, Harbor Freight. (This is an electronic trip, not a driving trip).
My eye is caught by submersible pumps. Yeah – just drop them into the storage tank and have a hose attached – eliminates one whole garden hose! But as I read further, these all have electrical cords that contain lead. Not sure why that is, but I’m not adding lead to my drinking water. Buckshot in lakes, after duck hunting? Not a problem. Sinkers in ponds, from the one that got away? It happens. Adding lead to stuff that’s going into my body? NoSir.
So a water pump that lives outside the storage tank, under the carport. Just like the original plan. Just like this thing. Still have to provide wiring and pipes, but the price isn’t terrible. The reviews on it are pretty good.
This whole contraption isn’t being built today, or this weekend. It’s better than a rainy day project (power and rain don’t mix well), but it’s not an immediate project.
Or I could get a little generator for the water pump, and have water all the time . . . Hmmmmmmm.