Grit Blogs > Adventures of Old Nebraska Dave

Gravity-Fed Watering System Progress and the Las Vegas Family Visits

A photo of Nebraska Dave

Hey folks,

The Urban Ranch has been filled with energy.  My oldest daughter from Las Vegas came for a visit just last week with her new husband and two of her three kids.  I decided to have a cook out on the Poor Man's Patio for the relatives to come, eat, and visit with my daughter and her family.  I invited 20 with an open invitation to really anyone that wanted to see her and the family.  I bought enough food for 40 and 55 showed up.  It's a good thing I have great relatives and they brought food without it really being required.  It's never a good thing to have hungry relatives pillaging my house.  After all the festivities were over, my granddaughters slept on the floor on borrowed mattresses, and my daughter and her husband slept on a double size air mattress on the computer room floor.  I wanted to fix a country breakfast the next morning but it just wasn't in me after the night before. 

We all arose bright and early, filled our bellies with Captain Crunch, not my choice theirs, and off we sped to frolic through the different exhibits at the zoo.  Our zoo here is one of the best in the country and covers about 100 acres.  We trudged through the 90+ degree heat with matching humidity for about five hours.  They all complained about how hot it was for the entire five hours, and I just reminded them that it was only 95 here and back home it was most likely 110.  I just thought it quite humorous that they would complain so much about the heat.  My five-year-old grandson finally announced, "Grandpa, I hurt."  We all laughed because he never runs out of energy. We gave up viewing the pachyderms in favor of going to the Golden Coral, still not my choice theirs, to dine in the lovely atmosphere and sample their delicious cuisine.  After our bellies were filled with delightful delicacies we climbed into the mini van and headed on home.  I warned them not to let Bradley sleep on the 30 minute ride home, but NOoooo, they didn't listen.  After arriving home all the family dragged themselves into the house and collapsed on the floor, in the recliner, and on the couch expecting to nap before going to bed.  Ah, yeah, all accept one five-year-old that had reloaded from the homeward bound nap.  After enjoying the entertainment of him pestering the group for about 30 minutes, I decided that it was enough torture for them and settled him down to watch a movie while the rest of the family snored away in contentment.  After the movie was over, Bradley headed up the stairs for his bath singing, “Who let the dogs out, bark bark bark.”  The next day they were gone and the house once again came back to its normal dull roar.  What?  Is that even possible?

We had a storm whistle through with 70 MPH winds that dumped an inch of rain.  At 7 p.m. on the dot, the entire neighborhood went black.  A tree had blown over and took out a power transformer.  Power finally was restored at about 2 a.m.  It was quite entertaining to watch Bradley try to process what had happened.  He was convinced if one TV didn't work then the one in another room would work, and if the light won't work in one room then it should in another.  He had his first candlelight bath.  The hot water heater in my house is gas, so hot water flowed.  We read our night time story by candle light, and he drifted off into a happy dream world by the flicker of  an apple scented candle.  He was very glad to see the TV and the lights work in the morning.  So was Grandpop.

Old-Dave-and-the-Tree-Branch

I've been working on the watering system again.  I have good news to report.  One raised bed system is up and functioning wonderfully well.  It's the bed with the tomatoes and cucumbers.  You want to talk about cukes.  I have harvested 17 so far with a ton more on the way.

Here's the final distribution tank ready to be placed in the raised bed.  It's made from 3 inch PCV pipe with caps on each end.  Holes were drilled into the tank and fitted with drip watering connections that were glued in place.  Drip watering hose will direct the water to the base of the plants.  OK, so let's see how it all fits together.

Final-Distribution-Tank

Here you can see the distribution tank in position ready to distribute the water.  The string is a little on the spot modification.  Without the extra support the hose kinks and restricts the flow of water into the final distribution tank.  The hose closest to us is actually a vent hose so the water can continue to drain from the distribution tank after the timer shuts off.

Hose-Connections-to-Final-Distrution-Tank

Here you see the intermediate supply tank that has the timer.  This tank will be filled from the 1200 gallon supply tank just up the hill when I get the hole in the seam patched.  The flow rate for each tube when tested was about a gallon in five minutes.  The timer will be set for five minutes.  Since it takes 8 tubes to water this particular bed, that's about 8 gallons each watering day.  During the heat of the summer that would be every day so without being connected to the big supply tank it would last only three days.

Secondary-Supply-Tank-with-Timer-and-Hoses

Yes, indeed, that is a pinch clothespin to hold the watering tube in place.  It's the best thing that I have found to hold those drip watering hoses in place.

Distribution-Hose-with-Clothes-Pin-Support

So there it is folks, the first operational automated gravity feed raised bed watering system on the Urban Ranch.  All systems are go and we have water flow.  Now on to the next raised bed.

Now I know I have a coffee cup around here some where.  Oh, well, I'll leave you with a quote from the Canadian Red Green show.  "It doesn't take long for men to make a decision. It's making a decision look smart that takes the time."  See ya next time, and don't forget to leave a comment and tell me about how things are going in your world.
arnaldo
5/28/2014 8:12:27 AM

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nebraska dave
7/28/2010 5:06:22 PM

@Cindy, it seems to be the season for families to visit. I’m not sure what a dune ride is but the beach sounds good. We have river beaches here but nothing to compare to a class lake or ocean beach. It really is fun to get family together and have planned activities. It finally has got to the dog days of summer here. Hot and humid are the twins that the weather has deposited upon our area. I’ve actually had to start watering the garden. I think I have the big hole patched in the Main supply; now a wait for a couple days to make sure the silicone sealant has set up completely; then a test by water in the tank. It won’t be long now to have a fully functional system. I didn’t say all finished just a working watering system. Refinements will continue for another couple years. I want to pretty up the outside of the tank with retaining wall blocks up to the rim, a nice fountain in the tank with fish swimming in the water. For this year just a functioning water system will do. Remember I still have a fire pit to build and the summer is fast waning away. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I hope the rest of the summer is enjoyable for you.


cindy murphy
7/28/2010 10:11:26 AM

Hi, Dave. We had family visit this past week too - both my brothers, my oldest brother's ex-wife, and their two young children. I love a full-house - especially in summer, when there's so much to do around here. We had storms, and an inch or more of rain too, though thankfully, no damage or power-outages. After it cleared up, lots of food, fun at the beach, and dune rides rounded out the weekend. Sounds like you and your family had a great of a time as we did. The water-system's lookin' good. Improvising is half the fun of experimentation; the other half is when it actually works. Glad for you that the second half is going wonderfully!


nebraska dave
7/27/2010 2:30:27 PM

@Jackie, it was kind of a work in progress. I started with an idea which incubated for a couple years and had many changes and improvements while the work was in progress this year. I have my Dad’s DNA for sure. Even though her never had any schooling above the 8th grade he could figure out a way to fix or build anything that needed to be built on the farm. Well, in today’s world it’s kind of the same with me only it’s a little more high tech. Any time I get to use power tools it’s a good day. I kind of took a chance when I started blogging about it because I really didn’t know if it would work or not. Turns out it works even better than I expected. I just have a little patching left to do on the big supply tank and then it will be fully functional and be able to run automatically for about three months unattended if need be. That’s great as there are times when I’m gone for a couple weeks at a time and the garden would not survive without watering. Next will come integrated rain barrels to feed roof top water into the system. Then will come the fish and the water fountain. It will be great once it’s completed. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Stop by again and have a great day.


jackie_3
7/27/2010 12:29:53 PM

Dave, I love your homemade water system. A little bit of thought, handiwork and ingenuity goes a long way. :) ~ Jackie


nebraska dave
7/27/2010 8:33:10 AM

@Shannon, don’t be too impressed with the watering system. It’s just a think it up as I go kind of a thing. I have had this plan in my mind for this for the last couple years. I just decided that this year I would give it a try and see if it could possibly work. So far it has worked out good. When I started this project, I really didn’t know if I could make it work or not. There are many projects that get scrapped because it either becomes just too expensive to do what needs to be done or it just plain don’t work. When I decided to blog about the water system it was a real test of my humility because it could have turned out to be a flop on a national level. I really don’t have a whole lot of expense in the project. The black barrels were given to me by the Neighbor across the street, the big horse tank was give to us a swimming pool for my youngest daughter who now is 26, and the timers I had from last year. The hose was on sale. So I would say that I have less than $50 dollars into the project and about 50 hours of labor. It’s been fun labor though and refreshing to my soul. Figuring things out keeps the mind young don’t you think? Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Have a wonderfully productive day.


nebraska dave
7/27/2010 7:46:27 AM

@Mountain Woman, I love the Red Green show. I guess because I can so identify with the thought process of each of the projects. It’s always a good time when family comes for a visit. I not sure why I always wait until people are coming over before I spend time decluttering the house. I like living in a some what orderly house hold. I’m a guy remember. If we don’t trip over something, then it’s good enough. The watering system is coming along nicely. I spent yesterday afternoon patching the big supply tank (round horse tank). I ran out of pop rivets or I would have had it completed. Well, there’s always today. I may have to wait until next week not from lack of incentive but rather funds. The down side to retirement is getting paid once a month. Steaks on the grill the first week after payday and beans the week before the next payday seem to be the pattern. Ah well, I love beans and probably could live on them if I really had to. Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment. Have a great day.


s.m.r. saia
7/27/2010 6:37:48 AM

N. Dave, I am so impressed with your watering system. I need to have my husband read these posts. We've been talking about doing something around here for water but haven't gotten around to it yet. I am not particularly mechanically inclined and can barely wrap my head around what you've got going on there, quite honestly. I'm impressed. It looks like your plants have gotten big. Nice! Your family visit sounds wonderful. Take care! Shannon


mountain woman
7/27/2010 6:12:07 AM

Hi Dave, Loved that last quote and I'll have to remember it. Hmm, I'm not sure many of my decisions look all to smart. Maybe it's in the presentation? I'm so glad you have family visiting for even more adventures to share. Sounds like a wonderful time. What a storm it was that hit you! Your gravity fed water system is truly amazing. It's always such a treat to read your uplifting, positive posts about your most interesting life. Raising a cup of coffee to you!