Grit Blogs > Adventures of Old Nebraska Dave

Gravity-Fed Watering System Finished

A photo of Nebraska DaveWell folks you are probably getting real tired hearing about a gravity-fed watering system. This will be the last post for phase one of the gravity feed watering system, which brings this project to an end for this year. It came on line on August 10th and has performed flawlessly since then. I've discovered that the big tank needs filled every two weeks. This is a picture of the main watering tank with it's patch showing in all it's glory. You can see that two weeks away has definitely allowed the weeds to abound.

Main Watering Tank

The main tank is connected to the secondary tank. The main tank is 1200 gallons and the secondary tank is 30 gallons. The water level in the main tank will fill the secondary tank to the same level. That's the reason the secondary tank is elevated up on blocks. It's to keep the secondary tank from overflowing. I sighted across the main tank with a 2X4 to see where the top of the main tank hit the secondary tank to get the water level right.

Hose Connecting Tanks

The hose connection from the main tank is connected to the secondary tank with PCV valves and hose connections. I discovered that hose threads and pipe threads are different and one will not fit on the other. In the PCV world the hose threads are called MHT and pipe threads are called MPT. It took some time to figure out how to get the right threads in the right place on the system. It was all a learning process with many hours spent at Lowes trying to fit things together.

Of course you have seen the gray box in a previous post which is the heart of the system. It's the programmable timer. Right now during the hot part of the season it's set at 6:00am to turn on for five minutes which will deliver one gallon of water to the root of each plant each every day.

If you want to see more about how it all works you can go to my blog by clicking here. 

Secondary Tank with hose connections and timer

On my travels last month I went to the Iowa State Fair. A tradition at the fair is to have a full sized cow sculpted out of butter. I think it takes a couple hundred pounds of butter to make the cow. This tradition has been going on so long that the daughter of the woman that started it has taken over the sculpting of the cow.

The Butter Cow

A few years ago they started sculpting an additional butter sculpture in addition to the butter cow. This year it was Green Eggs and Ham. It was extremely hot and humid so the pictures were hard to take because of the condensation on the glass. The displays were in a glass inclosed refrigerated area.

Green Eggs and Ham

You have the Grit visit post from Hank about my visit there. It was a great visit and I hope to be back that way again. From there it was on to Syracuse to help with the electrical wiring of the church sanctuary.

Here is home away from home while working on the sanctuary. It was a nice little house of kitchen, bathroom, living room and three bedrooms. It filled up with six guys. Guys really do make funny old man noises when they sleep.

Home away from Home

My mission for the week was to bring wires into and connect them to the Metal Clad wires that I ran into the box. A J-Box is a metal box as you see here that has the wires that come from the breaker panel and get connect to the Metal Clad (MC) wire to the actual switches and plugs.

The entry is through this hole in the ceiling and there were actually two J-Boxes to be wired up there. After climbing up and down all week my bones were ready for a rest. Oh, yeah, I forgot to tell you that the temperature was in the upper 90s and 100 all week. Our only saving grace was the humidity was not too high.

J Box in the Ceiling

I sure did get a lot of kidding about sleeping in the attic. This might look to some like I'm standing on a ladder but actually I'm laying down on a piece of plywood working on the second J-Box. You can see the one shoulder was on the plywood and the other was on the ceiling which made for a small place to work.

Working on the J-Box

Where does the other end of the J-Box go? There were five J-Boxes in the sanctuary and the two that I worked on went into the sound booth to control almost everything in the sanctuary. All the lights and sound equipment needed power and control switches. This is a picture of just the power leads for the switch bank in the sound booth. Every switch needs another MC wire to go to the load as it's called. It could be a light or a switched plug or a pump for the water in the baptistry, or .... well you get the idea.

Sound Booth Wiring

All in all it was a great trip. What could be better than a place to sleep, food to eat and all the coffee I could drink. Oh yeah my theory is if I can keep the inside of me hotter than the outside then I'll feel cool. Right? Well, I might have to revise that theory cause I had to change to iced tea.

You folks all have a great harvest time this year and I'll catch up with you right after I return from trout fishing in Northern Nevada. Hopefully I'll have monster trout fish pictures. It's at the 6,000 foot elevation level and the temperatures will be getting down in the 20s at night while we snooze in our tents on the ground. Ok would you believe in our Coleman heated tents on air mattresses. In the mean time keep your lures ready and your reels oiled cause you never know when a fish might call your name.

Leave a comment and tell me about all that's going on in your neck of the woods. Oh, yeah, and Ricky, my truck, says hi to all those other trucks out there and hopes they get to haul something every day.

[Dave let us know that he'll be out of pocket for the next two and a half weeks (working on helping someone else, no doubt), but that he'd reply to your comments when he returned. – Eds.]

s.m.r. saia
9/15/2010 7:24:38 AM

The gravity fed watering system looks great. You'll be good to go for next year's gardening season! Have a great trip!


nebraska dave
9/13/2010 6:14:50 PM

Cindy, watch out I'm flying without a spell checker so it's hard to tell what will come out of these fingers. My Aunt and I are traveling together and stayed over night in Green River Wyoming. We awoke to a temperature of 37 but by the time we reached Las Vegas it was upper 90s. I left a huge todo list at home. In addition to that my garden is really winding down fast. Even though the watering system is working wonderfully well most everything is drying up. Our first frost is October 15th so I expect that the plants are well aware that there time is limited. Hopefully I can get three more raised beds built before the snow flies. I will definitely want more tomatoes and more bell peppers next year. Cucumbers? Maybe the same but spaced out a little more and not near the tomatoes. The tomato - cucumber battle was ughly. At the beginning of the year the cucumbers ruled the bed but when the tomatoes finally kicked they beat out the cukes. See ya back on the blogs in about two weeks.


nebraska dave
9/13/2010 6:04:33 PM

MW,Thank you for stopping by. I have just a few moments on my sister's computer. I spent the morning out on the lake behind Hoover Dam fishing with with guys that are from Dad's church. We didn't even get a bite but I'm still excited about the trip to northern Nevada. We are leaving on the Thursday the 16th and returning on the 20th. The temperature was up to 100 yesterday when I visited my grand kids. We ate lunch at Applebee's and stayed inside the rest of the day. See you back on the blogs after the 26th.


cindy murphy
9/11/2010 8:57:34 PM

Sheesh, you are a busy guy, Dave! In a whoosh of thoughts, I'm glad for you the gravity-fed watering system was a success; those butter sculptures are too cool - I love fairs; cool that you got to visit the people at Grit too; I think it's wonderful that you take your helpfulness and skills on the road, and do volunteer wherever there's work to be done - wonderful job. Did I forget anything? Oh, yes - of course. Have a great fishing trip! Sounds like the perfect way to relax closing out what sounds as if it was a very, very busy summer for you!


mountain woman
9/11/2010 6:00:24 AM

Hi Dave, I hope you have a great trip. Sounds so beautiful where you're going. Will they have the vibrant fall colors at that elevation? I always figured the higher up you go, the more intense the colors. Your gravity fed water system is so ingenious and I've enjoyed watching it come to fruition. Loved the butter sculptures. Our fairs are long over here now and we are definitely headed into winter although hopefully slowly. Your work at the sanctuary was amazing too.