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They get by with just 900 gallons of water per month.

COUNTRYSIDE: I had to respond to the article by the Rayberns (83/4:58). While I agree with their advice on food storage, the part about conserving water warranted comment.

I wouldn't call us "ultra conservative" by any stretch of the imagination and we average 900 gallons of water per month. (The Rayberns said they were ultra-conservative, using 200 gallons every 2-3 days.--ed.) That amount supplies two adults; 11 goats (six milking and five kids which naturally consume less than the milking does); one 1,100 pound horse; 25 chickens; and one dog. We do capture and use rain water, but it is directed mainly toward garden irrigation and some animal watering. Here in the summer, rainfall is not regular or plentiful so you can't count on it as a dependable source.

We have a wonderful spring, but unfortunately it is located one-half mile away and all downhill from the house. Because of the distance and steep lift (not enough head for a ram pump), we use a big gasoline powered water pump to push it to a 1,000 gallon holding tank buried in the ground close to the house. From the holding tank the water is pumped into the house via pitcher pump in the kitchen sink. We have a good supply of water, but it is a chore to load the heavy pump and haul it to the spring, especially in the winter with deep snow. Also, your arm can get real tired when pumping a lot of water with the pitcher pump. Not an ideal situation, but it serves us OK. Here are some ways that we conserve water.

Animals: They must drink, no matter what they produce. We have each watering container situated so that it doesn't get spilled or soiled and wasted. Any goat owner will tell you how finicky does are about their drinking water. If hay, or a "nanny nugget" happens to get in the water, I scoop it out and give the water to the chickens that don't mind in the least. If any of the animals' water gets really soiled, it is used in the garden.

Laundry: Socks, underwear and small items like dishcloths are washed in the sink every other day or so by hand. This results in laundry only once per week. With a wringer washer and rinse tub, we use about 25 gallons of water (15 for washer and 10 for rinse tub), and it is used over again for each load, unless clothes are really dirty. After showering, we hang up the towels and washcloths to dry and they are usually used several times before washing is required. The rinse and wash water is used in the garden and orchard.

Bathing and toilet: Two adults can easily shower on five gallons of water. You simply get wet, turn water off, lather up, and then rinse. We use a 12-volt shower (ad runs in COUNTRYSIDE). Before we got the 12-volt shower we used a "camping shower." Same thing with it, two adults and five gallons of water easily. Sometimes I shower every other day and take a sponge bath in between.

For a toilet we use either the outhouse or our inside toilet. Our inside one is a commode out of a camper that will flush with three or four cups of water. It goes directly into the septic tank. When only urine is in the toilet, we use only about one cup of water to rinse the bowl after use. We keep a bucket of water and dipper sitting in the bathroom.

Dishes: I use two dishpans; one to wash and one to rinse in. Less water seems to go further when using pans instead of the sink itself. (Maybe because of the size of the pans vs. sinks.) I do dishes once per day usually, and use about three gallons. The water is carried to the garden and put on the plants or dumped down the sink. Gray water from the sink and shower goes to the garden and orchard. I also use dishwater for mopping unless it is greasy.

Miscellaneous: We don't have hot water unless we heat it. Therefore, no water is wasted while letting the faucet run until the water is hot. When I am doing things like canning, I use the same canner of water over and over, topping it off when needed. Water from washing vegetables or boiling food goes to a bucket for the chickens. We rarely ever have to fill the chickens' water container with water from the tank.

We don't wash the vehicle or water the lawn. When we do wash the vehicle, which is rarely, we spend $1.50 and spray it off at the car wash. --Marcella Shaffer, 303 Smith Rd., Troy, MT 59935

Note: The advertiser for the 12 volt shower Marcella is referring to is Jesse McGee, HCR61 Box 14OR, Bonners Ferry, ID 83805. SASE for info. Check out COUNTRYSIDE Classifieds on page 135 for other sources.
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 
Article Details
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Author:Shaffer, Marcella
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 1999
Words:835
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