Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Daily Bump and Grind of Caravan Life: Water



Handy Dandy Camp Shower
Fill with water, heat in sun, lather, rinse, repeat
 
Nearly four months of camping, wait, that's not quite accurate; I had a month off in an tiny apartment with hot and cold running water, I'm such a cheater,  while Keith held down the campfire. So it's four months for him and three for me and I dare say, we are coping.

I will say though, if we had known it would take an hour to do dishes, three hours to do laundry, at least an hour for each decent meal; I'm sure we would've sold the old farm and moved here anyway. But perhaps we might have prepared differently.

For example I would've had an escalator installed between the caravan and the old house because for crying out to Saul, we drudge up and down that hill a million times a day. I also would have begged borrowed and absolutely stole as many good quality hoses I could've gotten my hands on. We spend a good amount of time dragging hoses from one animal waterer to another.

Water. It vexes me most.

It will be awhile before we can afford to have the mid 1800's well repaired, so for now we run water from it via a pump and hoses. This well water tastes pretty good and tested free of e-coli and nitrates but it is high in some rust colored stuff which makes guests a bit nervous. Such wussies.  Perhaps it is iron or perhaps its real GOLD. Whatever it is for now we are running it through a PUR water filter before we drink it. Which means filling up plastic jugs, carrying them up to the old decrepit house and into the big fridge plugged in there. Then after its filtered we drain it back into more jugs to carry down to the caravan for coffee and tea water. Because we have only a teeny tiny fridge in the caravan we can only store one days worth of water there.

So far no one has gotten sick--heck we drink raw milk everyday, what's a little un-softened well water going to hurt?--thus we consider our well water experiment a success.

My outdoor kitchen
It's not pretty but at least it is functional...sort of.

The well water also works well for washing our dishes (after heating the water over an open fire until its very hot) and for our makeshift al fresco showers. It does not however work well on our hair. Nope, we get major straw hair if used for shampooing. So Keith rigged up a rain water collection sight off on of our old sheds, running the rainwater through a paper milk filter, and presto change we've got water that doesn't leave our hair with orange streaks. When rain is frequent as it was all through June and July, we had lots of rainwater for showering/hair care but now that it is drying up in Central Illinois we use our rainwater very judiciously.

I've got some squirreled away in the truck of my car. I have longer hair you know. Don't tell Keith.

Laundry also takes water and time. I do have a washing machine up by the old decrepit house but we've elected to go dryer free from now on. So laundry is done once a week (hose dragged across yard again and hooked up to washer) When the cycle is done I haul the wet stuff back down the hill to our clothing line. When dry, I fold it, put it away in the caravan and haul more dirty clothes up the little hill, into the washer and then out on the clothes line. Like the dishes and the showering, it takes time but at the end of the day...I sleep like a flippin' rock.

9 comments:

  1. Dont you find it interesting that the life you chose seemed insane? And yet the crazier the world gets: you and Keith are the ones who are completely sane. Hmmmm 😉

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    1. Sanity is relative. So happy my relative no longer questions my sanity...well at least not in public :)

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  2. Why dont you move the caravan closer to the old decrepit house so you are not trudging back and forward? Im sure there is a logical reason. Just saying...

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    1. Logic...now that's an idea. We did consider parking the caravan right next to the old house but I decided to nestle it in some lovely trees in a lower spot. The payoff is a nicer looking spot to relax within at end of day, away from all the construction eyesore junk plus the high winds that hit the hill don't hit us or rock the caravan. The downside...all the walking...the upside, I need the exercise.

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  3. before my move to my present location, there was a nearly two-year period where we had bought the house but visited it only several times throughout the year. It's on town water, so we had the water disconnected over the winter months since we didn't visit as often in the snowier part of the year. When I did visit (me moreso than Himself), i'd pack potable water for my visit and would draw water out of the well in the back yard for flushing toilets. I learned there's an art to drawing water from a well, and I was grateful that I could flush freely. When I visited in warmer months when the water was back on, it felt so luxurious! Hot and cold tap water on demand--bliss!

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    1. There is nothing like not having a "luxury" such as running water to make you really appreciate it when you get it. There is also a great bit of satisfaction to be enjoyed when you can make do with less. Fortunately Keith and I both came from large families with limited funds so much of what we are doing not is not so far removed from our childhoods; except being raised in Chicago I never did have to shower outside, unless you count the fountains at Chase Park. My mother often did.

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  4. Oh my, this drags up some memories from my own past. It's nice to look at it through the rear view of one's memory and soon you will too! I can only imagine survivor novels in the making.

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  5. Leigh, we sometimes wish we were just 30 when we started this new deal but other times we know that being in our 50's has given us the wisdom--a little--and the homesteading skills to do all this. It was hard to leave our other farm where we had done so much to build up the business over 20 years but the changes overall have been so very good.

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  6. Congratulations for your successful well water experiment! This gives campers an idea on how to get a clean and safe water whenever they're out camping. Thanks for sharing this, Donna! Good luck and have fun! :)


    Verna Griffin @ Axe On Water

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