low-pressure water systems

Wednesday, May 10:

We never buy garden hose.  We use a lot of it:  our stock watering system, a complicated use of simple technology, is almost entirely above ground, with only the spring itself, the settling tank, and the pipe to the reservoir by the barn, being underground.  The rest is made up of half-barrels, low-pressure valves (look up Jobe floats and Hudson valves), and garden hose.  Miles of it.  But as we say, we don’t buy it; we scavenge it on trash pick-up days.

Let the squeamish log off and take The One Cow Revolution out of their bookmarks.

People throw away a lot of hose.  Often the spray attachment is still on it.  Some of it is shoddy, but frequently when we get it home and test it we find it to be in perfect condition.  What is it about throwing away perfectly good garden hose?  Is it too much trouble to work the backward twist out of it?  Or is some other color fashionable this year?   And why, having condemned the hose, do people throw away the sprayer as well?

We bring the hoses home, cut out the leaky parts, if any, splice them (the parts can be obtained cheaply at the hardware store) and add them to the watering system.  With five or six hoses we can gravity feed water to anywhere in the pasture from the water hog at the top of the hill.  Low-pressure valves plumbed into a half a fifty-five gallon barrel control the water level, and the entire thing can be carried by a single person when empty.  Generally we only have to move a tank less than fifty feet at a time, to keep up with the animals we are rotating around the pasture.  If a system made up of recycled garden hose, half-barrels, and toilet tank valves could be called elegant, this would be elegant.

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