Thursday, April 12, 2007

It rained a lot yesterday, so I wasn't able to go out to the land to work on the water system. Instead, I worked hard on the roof to the brooder, which is covered with greenhouse plastic to allow light and warmth in. I got it all done just before sunset during a lull in the rain, which promptly started up again harder than ever.

A few hours later I went out to bring Balto in for the night, and discovered that the roof wasn't sloped nearly as much as I had thought it was. Consequently, the rain had collected instead of running off, and one of the pieces of wood had broken under the weight. *sigh* Back to the drawing board.

I kicked around ideas for putting more of a slant in the roof, but none of them really seemed to work. I was still thinking about it this morning when I drove to St. Clairsville for more plumbing supplies. On the way, there is a nursery with several greenhouses. They look like they use the same kind of plastic, and they are built on a hoophouse model. That got me thinking about how I could implement a similar design for my brooder roof.

Several months ago I ran across a website that had instructions for making a hoop-style greenhouse out of pvc pipe. I figured the measurements for something like that today, and it looks like it will work. Luckily, I have enough of the greenhouse plastic left to cover a second roof. The first plastic, which is full of holes now from being screwed into the wood frame, will be used to cover the ends of the hoops.

At Lowes, I managed to navigate the plumbing department all on my own and figure out how to add in a valve between the tank and the start of the pipe. I had quickly realized, as I was setting the system up two days ago, that it would be very helpful to be able to turn off the water before it got to the pipes.

It sprinkled a bit while I was working, but the threatening clouds held off for a few hours. As soon as I installed the valve on the tank, I set up the pump to begin filling it. I knew that it would take quite a while to pump 300 gallons about ten feet above the creek, so I wanted it to fill while I worked.

While I was at Lowes, I picked up another 100' of pipe, which took the water line almost to the end of the field. I discovered that the best way to uncoil the pipe was to anchor one end to the fence and then stretch it straight on the ground. It took me very little time to set up two more tees and valves on the line. Since there is now a valve at the tank, I can easily add more tees or more pipe at any time.

It took about an hour and a half to completely fill the tank. The water is slightly murky from all of the rain, but it wasn't too bad. The 300 gallons add a good bit of pressure to the water so that it gushes out even at the end of the line. The Foxtail Farm water system is now live!

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