Pandemic, Hornets, and Floods, Oh, My!

The field across the street from my house.

I’ve spent the day today watching the water rise in the field across the street from my house. They’ve already called and told us to evacuate, so we’ve made plans to do just that.

Hopefully it won’t get that bad, but the forecast calls for it to get in my house about three foot or so. I lived through the Flood of 1997; our current pattern is worryingly similar so I am watchful. Katie’s boss sent her home early and they’ve already started closing store on this end of town.

I just may have to bug out, folks. I’ve set things up so I should still be able to blog through this so all is well.

Just wanted to let you know so you won’t worry.

How I Survived Several Years Without Running Water

In today’s modern age water is usually only a handle turn away. As a result it is usually taken for granted. But what would you do if that flow of water ever stopped?

Once, a long time ago, it did for me. This is how I survived.

After finding myself an unwed mother I really hated myself. I had failed in the one thing that I was raised that females were to provide: A loving father and family for her young.

So I dated, thinking to correct that issue. I decided to go shopping for a father for my daughter.

After a time I thought I had found him: A man who seemed like an industrious person, down on his luck but willing to sacrifice to come out on top. Being no stranger to sacrifice and knowing how hard it is to find someone with the strength to do without and struggle in pursuit of a greater goal convinced me that he was “the one.”

I was wrong and he was a lie, but by the time I realized this we were already married and I was stuck; forced to live in a house without basic utilities like running water and sewage I decided to make do.

At first we used a bucket instead of a commode, and when it would fill up my husband would carry it outside at night and return some time later with it empty. I do not know what he did with the wastes but if there was a compost pile he used – I never saw it, and I do not want to know.

Within a few months we dug a large pit into the earth, and I watched as my husband added gravel to the bottom of the pit, poked holes in an old metal barrel, and covered it up. We now had a septic system, and were able to use the drains in the sinks and the commode he obtained from unknown sources.

Water at first came from the homes of friends and family until time and distance removed that option and I became too embarrassed about my living conditions to ask other people. By this time most suspected I was in an abusive relationship, and it hurt to listen to the countless lectures on what I should do with my life. I became a recluse, and started getting water from a local gas station, carrying it home in re-purposed cooking oil containers given to me by a local restaurant.

Dishes were washed in hot water, by hand, in two plastic containers, but I digress. First all I had to wash in was a couple of large bowls, and everything was either dried by hand or placed on clean towels until it air-dried until I obtained a dish drainer.

Bathing was primarily sponge baths, done in cool water in summer and water heated on the stove in winter. Eventually the children and I would take baths in an oversized Rubbermaid storage container, pretending it was a bathtub. Every opportunity to bathe at friends houses was accepted graciously until the lectures became too much to bear.

As the years passed I would ask my husband when the oft-promised water meter was going to be dropped, volunteering to do whatever needed to be done to hurry things up. “You already have running water dear,” my husband would sneer. “Now run to town and get some!”

Eventually flood damage caused our last source of easily available water to close and I was desperate for a solution. Grasping for an idea – any idea, my eyes fell upon the creek just yards away from the back door of the house. I thought in desperation – why not?

Bucket by bucket I would carry that water into the home, and its unlimited supply enabled me to keep things so much cleaner that I would thank God for the wonderful bounty of that little creek. All water would be boiled before being used for washing with a little bleach added to the rinse water, just in case. I refused to take any chances.

One day I decided to use that water in our old washing machine since we had no money for the Laundromat. Bucket after bucket I carried that day, first filling up the tub to wash and then again to rinse load after load of laundry. I was delighted at my industriousness, ignoring the blisters on my hands, thinking of how proud my husband would be that I had not begged for money to go to the Laundromat but had instead managed to care for our laundry needs at home. I lost track of time, however, so when husband came home his dinner was not ready. He was not impressed.

My next door neighbor sensed my plight; a few weeks later he caught me outside with my buckets and volunteered his small sump pump for my use. Gratefully I accepted the small device, rigged up enough extension cords to cover the span, and as the pump was not strong enough to push water all the way to the house created a holding area halfway between with re-purposed trash cans. It was a slow process but my daughters and I were delighted. It was the closest we had been to running water in years.

Eventually my husband gifted me with a sump pump of my very own, one powerful enough to reach all the way to the back door with a trickle of water, and I felt like a queen. I could easily wash laundry during the day, though the trickle of water meant that it took a long time for the laundry tub to fill up.

Drinking water was purchased at the store after beginning to use the creek.

I had given up asking about the water meter when one day there was a knock on my back door. A man from the water company was outside, where did I want this meter?

Oh, happy day!


Liquid Simplicity

Sometimes the simplest things are stationed right before our eyes.

When we wake up in the morning the first thing we gravitate toward is the coffeepot.  When thirsty we head to the soft drink machine.

I was raised by parents who counted on coffee, soft drinks and beer to keep then hydrated.  Rarely did we drink water or even consider the beverage.

However, water is not only a simple beverage it is inexpensive and healthy also. Keeping a glass nearby to quench our thirst will not only help us stay hydrated in a simple fashion but save us time, money and storage space for other types of drinks.

A splash of lemon can be added to water if one is not accustomed to the taste.  This beverage is naturally calorie-free, so we can save money and perhaps our health by avoiding diet drinks that use chemicals to sweeten them.

There are some who claim that water can cure a variety of ailments.  While I am not convinced that this is the case, I am convinced that water is truly liquid simplicity waiting for us to drink it.

Try keeping a glass of water nearby to drink whenever you desire, and decide for yourself whether this facet of simplicity is for you.

Bathing the Hard Way

In January a thermostat mishap while out of town caused a large number of my water pipes to break. The ground is quite damp here so instead of paying a plumber extra to climb under the soggy mess my mobile home rests on I decided to wait until the weather warms and the ground dries out before taking a look myself.

The outside spigot is on the live side of the house shutoff, so I run a water hose in through a window to power the washing machine, flush the commode, bathe and whatever else I need water for.

This is a challenge for a woman whose major weakness is a hot bath.

Baths get planned in advance these days because it takes a while to heat enough water on the stove to fill my bathtub.  I take sponge baths daily (a.k.a. whore baths when I was a child) but my cherished soak is now an hours-long ritual that no one is allowed to interrupt.

I use a metal bucket, a large metal bowl and my stock pot to heat water to boiling on the kitchen stove.  My tub is metal, so the drain is stopped up and the boiling water is poured into the tub.  It takes 2 rounds of boiling water to give a nice amount of really hot bathwater but I generally do three rounds to fill it as full as I can get.  Then cold water is poured in it until it is cool enough to step into.  This makes for bathwater much hotter than I can get out of my tiny water heater, which makes the work worth it.

I get out after a good long soak with the water still warm.  This water is recycled to give the dogs a bath, then recycled again to flush the commode until it’s gone.

I have honestly never recycled something so much in my life!!!

I guess it is a good thing to recycle, but it has pointed out how spoiled I was by being able to turn a faucet and get instant water. It has also shown me that one does not HAVE to have running water in every room or even in a house to live well.

I must admit though—I would not like to live without a washing machine. I am too addicted to washing clothes and towels for that.

I am in hopes that the ground will dry up this month so that I can take a peek underneath without having to worry about sinking knee-deep in mud.  The pipes are the pvc type so all you need are the pipes, joints and glue.

I’m not sure of the exact extent of the damage, but I should at least be able to rig up an interior spigot until I can repair it all and as for the water heater—it is not the necessity I thought it was, so I think I will look at it last to see if I need to replace the heating elements (I have it shut off at the breaker right now but am unable to check for damage until the pipes are repaired).

Yes I could probably hire it done or beg some handy male neighbor to do it, but why bother when I am perfectly capable of fixing it myself?

I am just happy and grateful that I have a water hose long enough to reach to my washing machine, and a y-connector so that I can fill up jugs and buckets while my machine does it’s thing.

I am happy that I have buckets, and the knowledge to use them.

I am downright delighted I have dish pans as well!

I wonder if people who live in tiny houses, who espouse the whole green movement—I wonder how often they wash their towels, and if that laundromat can get them clean enough?

I have an antique washstand complete with candle holders and mirror that I now keep in the kitchen for handwashing.  I keep the pitcher filled with water and a bucket nearby to hold the used water, which gets used to flush the commode. Water from dishwashing gets used for the same purpose.  Just the thought of a stinky commode is just gross, so I use every drop of water to keep it flushed, as well as keeping the back tank filled from the hose for the times when it needs flushing but there is no recycled water waiting to flush it.

If I lived near a place where I could readily access water either with a hose or containers, especially if that water source had a washer hooked up I wouldn’t really need running water in a place.  Just a compost commode to avoid flushing the stupid thing and a drain for all of the greywater produced.

That means that I am a bit closer mentally to living in a more rustic environment than I previously thought.

Life is good…..

Good Morning!

I will be so happy and grateful when this weather breaks so that the guys can crawl under my house to fix these pipes!

Until then, I am very happy and grateful that the outdoor spigot was on the live side of the house shutoff!

Word to the wise: Invest in an outdoor spigot that will not be affected if you have to shut the water off to your house for plumbing repairs. It is so much easier to deal with things that way!

I connect a water hose to the spigot and run it through a window during the sunny part of the day (the sun is to keep the hose from freezing in this weather). I connect this water hose to a y-connector. One end of the y-connector hooks to the cold water line on my washing machine, and the other has the repurposed hot water line attached so that I can fill up my jugs and clean things while doing laundry.

It actually isn’t that bad. I keep the hose indoors so that it won’t freeze solid–another lesson learned. I have a small antique washstand that I am now keeping in my kitchen (no room in the bathroom) with water to wash my hands and take sponge baths (called whore baths during my mountain childhood when the well was low in summer).

All water gets used in the commode to flush as needed. I put wash water when I wash my hands into the back reservoir on the commode so that I can flush as needed. Hey, it works!

All water is currently getting heated on my stovetop. Thank goodness for large pots, metal bowls and teakettles!

I must admit I am looking forward to a long hot soak in the bathtub. That is the one luxury that I seriously miss. However, I am clean, I have plenty of water, I can do laundry, and this situation is a LOT better than it could be! I mean, the spigot could have been on the wrong side of the house shutoff–though for the record if that were the case I would have cut that stupid pipe and installed another shutoff to have a water source–and let the guys fix my chop job how they may!

If one was living in a rustic setting it would greatly reduce expenses to have a wellhouse built over your well, where you install the pump and washing machine (and a generator if you aren’t connected to the grid). Fire up the generator and run the washer while filling up all of your water containers, then shut off everything when done. You would have to arrange some type of heat to keep the room above freezing in winter, however. I would not put windows in the building, opting instead for using the two-liter bottle method as skylights.

You take clear two-liter soda bottles and fill with water and a spoonful of bleach, capping well. Over the regular cap you glue a film canister to keep the sunlight from degrading the lid, the mount this in your ceiling of your buildings. There is a video about it on YouTube that is amazing. Here, check it out for yourself!* See Note

This way you would not waste electricity with a pump running all of the time, as well as being there when you ran the pump to avoid a dry well in case of a burst pipe.

You would also avoid having to plumb your house this way, meaning you would not have to worry about frozen pipes in the winter and the resulting water damage.

You could use a composting toilet and a gray-water disposal setup at the house. I would have at least a single drain indoors to conveniently dispose of water using this method.

Heck, with this as a beginning, you could eventually put a hottub or something in the wellhouse, gradually filling it with the wellwater. Once you got it filled you wouldn’t have to bother filling it again, just topping it up. Then you could luxuriate in the hottub while doing your laundry!

Best part would be the fact that no one would dream that you would have such a sweet setup in such a rustic place!

When my daughter turns 18 and moves out, Mom may see about doing something like that. I could have my rustic environment and my luxuries too!


I got to thinking about this:  For my location water in the two-liter bottles would not be practical because of freezing, but rubbing alcohol would work!  Yes it would be more expensive than plain water and bleach, but it is clear like water, would not grow things like algae, and would not freeze in the winter!

Following a hunch

When you become closer to the Universal Mind, sometimes you get hints, or hunches that guide you in interesting ways…

Like the hunch to move to a house that didn’t really suit us.. but across the street moved a lady who had a mobile home for sale that did – a mobile home whose layout is strangely similar to the one I placed on my vision board then removed some time ago. A mobile home which I now own free and clear!

I have learned the hard way not to ignore hunches for whatever reason, so when I got the hunch that we needed a water filter for the new place I followed it and got a Pur water pitcher for us…

Since the purchase we have all been drinking glass upon glass of water. Even the guinea pig is drinking more water.

I began to research a bit on the benefits of water drinking, and found an interesting link. Apparently the Japanese have a certain method of drinking water on an empty stomach that is supposed to cure a lot of ills. With The Secret we don’t need such things, but it was an interesting read. The link is no longer active, unfortunately, so I’m unable to share it.

Perhaps the Law of Attraction has guided me to a desire for drinking more healthy water in order to bring about the healthier body I desire. Regardless, I’m playing my hunch and keeping some water nearby for whenever I want a quick drink.