Archive for June, 2014

Plenty of 20s

I bought a flag to hang at the property tonight. It cost $20.

Looking at shovels in hardware stores this week. Know what they cost? $20.

Axe to cut firewood? $20.

Garbage can? $20.

Rakes? $20.

The scythe I bought day before yesterday cost $20 when you added in the new mailbox letters I bought while I was there.

Speaking of the mailbox, you’ll never guess what it cost after taxes — $20.

Padlocks for the door and gate? $20 apiece.

Nail puller/pry bar with a box of roofing nails and a pack of brass screws for the mailbox? $20.

New rain barrel. $40 (That’s $20 x 2).

Lunch today? $20.

So tonight, when I opened the birthday card from my mother, what do I find? A $20 bill.

Thanks mom. Whatever I buy tomorrow is covered.


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The property is mine now and I’ve spent the past five days getting things in the shed in order and working to tame the yard.

The grass is cut, my tools for the most part are in their new home and I have a great place to go to get away from the hustle and bustle of the world while I plot the future.

Things are going great except for one minor setback — I haven’t spent the night there yet.

I will, mind you. But the 250-gallon water tank I planned to use for a cistern sprang a leak about 2 weeks before we closed on the sale and now it doesn’t hold any appreciable amount of water.

My plan was to use a solar shower bag to clean up each afternoon after a sweaty day’s work. But there’s barely enough water in the tank to wash my hands, also making me a little leery of building a fire at night with no way to control things if it gets out of hand.

The nearest fire truck is 7 miles away and the closest hydrant is 2 miles up the road.

Cumberland River Compact sells rain barrels for $40.

All is not lost, though. I discovered that the Cumberland River Compact sells 55-gallon rain barrels for only $40 apiece. I pick up my first one on Friday. The plan is to add a barrel each week (I can only fit one in my car) until I have four tied together, giving me more than 200 gallons of water to deal with any issues that come up.

But I knew going in that solving the water issue was my first priority.

It was to that end that I invited a well driller to the site two weeks before closing to get his opinion on whether a water well is feasible for my property.

The short answer is yes. But to get to that answer, he employed “dousing” or “witching” or any of the other names that finding water with a divining rod goes by these days.

If I hadn’t spent 10 years of my life studying geology while drilling oil wells in Louisiana and Texas when I was in my 20s, I might have believed in this magic.

Even if I suspended my disbelief for a moment, there’s no way you can convince me that a magnetic field is involved when you’re holding a copper rod in your hand. I just ain’t buying it.

He found his spot and as he was leaving, we walked by the cistern and he cracked the valve open to get a look at the water inside the brown-tinged plastic square. Then he couldn’t get the valve to seal.

Two-hundred fifty gallons of water weighs a ton and the pressure was more than the IBC Tote’s valve was designed to handle. When I tried to force it closed, the weight of the water cracked the side of the pipe and my dream of having a full tank of water on Day 1 sprayed out without mercy.

I will say this, though. The grass grew the thickest at the spot the driller picked for the well.

I may end up drilling a water well there one day. But for now, rain barrels will meet my needs and I don’t have to think about the cost involved with a dry hole.

Life is looking up, up on the Ridge.

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