Grit Blogs > Adventures of Old Nebraska Dave

Gravity-fed Watering System Update

A photo of Nebraska DaveHey everyone. I hope all is well with you and all your experiences in growing or raising animals are good ones. As with any ranch, repairs need to be done on occasion. Of course everyone knows this is a car muffler. My daughter has issues with the exhaust on her car. As it goes old Dad is good at fixing issues. So here the band that holds the muffler to the car is being bolted onto the muffler in preparation to attach the muffler to the exhaust system. All has been installed and the exhaust has once more been tamed and all is much quieter around the ranch.

Old Dave working on muffler

This week was a week of reflections. My Mother-in-law moved from a rented house to a rented apartment. As I mowed the grass for the last time at the house, I couldn't help but reflect on the memories over the five years she had lived there.

Old Dave working on fence

The fence that we built was the first major project on the property. It took a couple weeks to plant the posts and install the panels. It was a great addition to the property.

Patio of mother-in-law

The patio was another addition. She and I sat on this patio and talked about many things happening in the world. We found many solutions to the world's problems here on this patio, but just couldn't get anyone to listen. Imagine that.

Flag pole of mother-in-law

Who could forget the flag pole. When she moved into this house the Land lord had just removed a tree in the front yard. She wanted the flag pole moved from the rented duplex to this house. We dug up the flag pole along with the hardened concrete under the ground, transported it to its new location, and planted it in the ground concrete and all. Of course she wanted it right where the tree had been removed. It was a job to bore a hole down through the root system of the removed tree to set up the flag pole. I've found that everything has a solution. It's just a matter of how much work do you want to do to get it accomplished. So now we begin building memories in the new residence. Anyone ever had reflections of the ending of one thing and the beginning of another?

Water tank base

There's been some progress made on the watering system. The base is completed and needs to be filled with dirt and sand. The key issue is to pack it down, pack it down, pack it down and then pack it down some more. I figure even with all the packing after the first year the tank will have to be removed off the base and more sand spread to keep the base level. When the 1200 gallon tank is full it will have close to 5 tons of water in it.

Old Dave packing dirt

It's just about time to put in the layer of sand and yes, you guessed it, pack it down. This has been a great project so far and everything is going just as planned. That's pretty scary for me. I'm going to enjoy it while I can.

Old Dave leveling sand

Here's the last layer of sand being leveled out for the final packing and hopefully a done deal.

Finished water tank base

One water tank base completed. It looks pretty good but the final test is to put the tank on top of the base and see just how level it is. OK, here we go. (Holding my breath).

Water tank level

Yeeaaaw, it doesn't get any better than that. I bet you can almost see me dancing a jig around the tank can't you. Actually I was quite surprised that it came out as good as it did. One step closer to an actual working system. This next week it looks like rain every day except one. Rain is good, but not when working outside.

This next week will be a week of planting weather permitting. The rest of the garden needs to be planted and the poor man's patio needs to get to be a living poor man's patio again.

See ya next week and keep on planting because harvest is coming sooner than you think. Have a great week. Now where is that coffee cup. I know it's around here somewhere. Don't forget to leave me a comment. I love hearing what's happening in your plot of real estate.

nebraska dave
6/1/2010 4:31:51 PM

Pam, the word gets out quickly among single women there is a man that has a truck to haul things and can fix minor things around the house and all that is required for payment is apple pie. It’s not hard to keep a supply of apple pies in my freezer. The pies don’t even have to be home made. They can be bought from the store or they can make payment in apple cobbler. It’s known across the community that I really do work for food. I’m not sure about how things are going to work out with the Mother-in-law. Apartment living is quite different from single house dwelling. She can see like a hawk, hear the slightest sound, and smell the faintest odor. All that put together doesn’t fit with apartment living. I am so envious with corn tasseling. Here in Nebraska the corn is considered right on schedule if it’s knee high by the fourth of July. The short season local sweet corn starts coming into the farmer’s markets toward the end of July. My garden is growing really fast as well. The potatoes are a good two feet tall and the cucumbers have gone from about an inch to several in one week. The tomatoes, peppers, and onions are doing great. Now if I can just keep the wild life from munching down the succulent little plants I’ll be on the way to a great harvest. My beans aren’t even above ground yet let alone ready to pick. I hope you have a great harvest this year. I hope to get the watering system part way functioning before leaving on a short trip.

nebraska dave
6/1/2010 4:15:01 PM

Shannon, I actually amaze myself at times because growing up my Dad can attest to the fact that I was the most unhandy farmer’s son in the county. I had the muscles but not enough wisdom and ended up always putting too much muscle on what ever I did which ended up in broken. The last visit to see my Dad he had a project to fix on a motor home water system for my sister which I easily fixed. He couldn’t believe that had come up with a solution so easy and quick. I guess I’ve picked up a few things along the path of life. It just happened to take sixty years before they started being useful. I still don’t usually do things the easy way or the best way and always over engineer before the project gets completed. It takes more work than it should and more money than is necessary but it will stand the test of time. I have some issues with the big supply tank and will posting about the fix for it soon. How do you fix a hole in the side of the tank as big as a fist with rust on the edges? Stay tuned and see if a solution can be found.

6/1/2010 2:26:23 PM

Oh yes. Our 2 grown sons still bring things for their Dad to fix here also. It is wonderful that you, my husband and other Dads(and Moms) are so handy! I hope your Mother-in-law adjusts well to her new place and the new memories have started already. Your water system is really coming along. I can't wait to see more. I'll have to show my husband. He loves to build and would find your water system interesting. Good luck with your gardening. Ours is growing like crazy with the rain showers lately. I should have Roma green beans ready to pick in a few days. The corn is tousling out already. You are right, it won't be long now. Have a great day. Pam

s.m.r. saia
6/1/2010 11:18:29 AM

Wow, that looks great. I can't wait to see how it works. I love this: "I've found that everything has a solution. It's just a matter of how much work do you want to do to get it accomplished." That should be the quote of the year! You're right!

nebraska dave
5/31/2010 8:39:57 AM

Cindy, I appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment. I know how busy the flower industry is especially nurseries this time of the year. I hope you have some time to enjoy your xeriscape yard. I have completed the planting of the Poor Man’s Patio so now it can be called living again. Last year I planted a total of 12 containers on the patio. This year a total of 27 containers which include the four containers to grow the vines that will cover the trellis I built for the patio. I plan on putting Morning Glory and Pole Beans in containers to climb up and cover the trellis. Hopefully it will look like what I have pictured in my mind. The rest of the patio looks kind of like last year with more. The new addition is Wave Petunia. The rest is Impatiens, Coleus, Begonias, and Dusty Miller. I may have over planted just a little but with container gardening I’ve found that’s OK. You’d be so proud. I actually mixed up my own version of potting soil. One bag of Miracle Grow, one bag of vermiculite, and an equal part of Omagro, local yard waste compost sold to the public. The weather here is quite nice. It gets into the 80s during the day and 60s at night. The Spring rains have been sweet. All have been nice gentle soaking rains. The yards and gardens look terrific so far. I can only hope it continues. I’ll do my best to send you some beneficial rain. Enjoy what weekend you can.

cindy murphy
5/30/2010 8:39:03 AM

Hi, Dave. Hope you're enjoying the weekend. It's a beautiful one here; it seems as if the warm temperatures have finally come in to stay for a while, (sure could use some of that rain though, if you wanna send some this way). Busy, busy, busy at the nursery, and it's nice to have a day off today to catch my breath....and get to work in my own yard. The gravity-fed watering system is looking good; you've done a spectacular job on it thus far. Looking forward to seeing the finished product. Hope it works for you, so you can catch your breath, and sigh with relief.

nebraska dave
5/29/2010 6:13:18 PM

JRichards, Yeah, I didn’t find much about gravity feed systems on the Internet either. I don’t even know if it’s going to work, but I hope so. My tank will be filled with water from a house faucet until I can get my integrated rain water catch system working. That will be a next year project. You can reach me on this email address: . One of our bloggers just installed a small pond with a solar powered pump for the fountain display. He even has a video of putting it all together. Here’s the link if you want to look . The issue for a water fall would be getting the water up hill for the fall. Right off hand I don’t know how that could be done. It’s something to ponder though. Someone always says an idea is impossible until the person that didn't hear it's impossible figures out a way to do it.

5/29/2010 5:27:25 PM

Hello Nebraska Dave. I ran across this website while researching gravity feed watering systems. My wife and I would like to put in a small waterfall & pond display in our backyard. Since we have no desire to run electricity 200 ft. or more to an electric pump we began brainstorming ways to circulate the water. We came up with a gravity feed system. This weekend there was a large garden show downtown and we asked a guy who builds outdoor waterfall systems about a gravity feed system. We were both amazed when he said no such thing was possible. He even said, and I quote, "If it was I wouldn't have to purchase a $600 pump for my displays." Obviously this guy DOES NOT know what the heck it is he's selling. We moved away from him quickly. Anyhow, I'm finding your photo shots on your gravity feed system quite interesting. We've been watching Youtube videos on ways to make one work too. Would it be possible to email me directions on how to build such a system for a garden waterfall? Once we make it we'll be glad to share any photos of the process and the finished product with you. Thanks for the help Nebraska Dave. We'll be looking forward to hearing from you. Respectively, Jeff & Marilyn Hendersonville, N.C.

nebraska dave
5/29/2010 8:29:35 AM

MW, thanks for stopping by. Mountain Man and I seem like we have a lot in common. I’ve thought about this watering system for some years. I just didn’t know if it would work or not. This year I just thought I’d give it a try. Worst case scenario would be it would become a water feature with fish and fountain. Either way it would be a great addition to the backyard. I think it’s good for me to stop and remember where I’ve been from time to time. I like to recognize when one thing in life is ending and another is beginning. I am one that likes to remember the good things about a season of life and not dwell on the bad things. It interests me about your project in the Ozarks. I thought you were going to move there one day but you have indicated that you would be selling the property when it’s finished. It’s kind of a far away fixer upper project. It sounds like it would be a great place to live. I hope all works out for you with the plans for the property. Thanks again for dropping by and leaving such wonderful comments.

mountain woman
5/29/2010 5:50:58 AM

Howdy, Nebraska Dave. As usual, an interesting and informative post on the urban homestead and also showing what a talented man you are. I loved what you wrote about the memories and then building new ones. I think one of the themes of my life (and perhaps everyone else) is doors shut, doors open and we just have to keep on pushing through them. Still, seeing the pictures of the fence and hearing about the discussions you and your M-I-L had made me kind of teary. Mountain Man built a gravity fed water system for a cabin he built and it reminds me so much of yours. I'm going to grab him and show him your amazing accomplishment. Getting things level is sure a challenge but as with everything else, you do it well. Thanks for allowing me to visit your piece of earth that is so beautifully kept.