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Steve Wylde

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since Apr 12, 2012
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Recent posts by Steve Wylde

I noticed a dilapidated house that is completely falling apart down the road the other day. No telling how old it is but the front porch has red cedar posts that still look fine. The porch is intact and level and those posts are standing tall without issue. Red cedar/juniper really is some extremely rot resistant stuff.
Clearly there are many factors involved in pole life expectancy. Where I grew up here in Arkansas, (a property my mom still owns but doesn't live at) there is a pole hay barn built by my grandpa in the mid to late 1950's. We get some pretty serious weather here from tornadoes, high winds, flash flood thunderstorms, and rarely 1- 2 feet of snow. That pole barn has stood up to all of these conditions for 50 - 55 years or so. I haven't been out there in a couple years and I didn't have quite the same building/construction enthusiasm as I do now but I do remember the basic structure. It's a decent size barn, maybe 35 x 30 or so. It originally had a tin roof and siding but it was replaced 7 or 8 years ago with the the regular corrugated steel panels. It has a dirt floor but my mom put gravel over part of it a several years ago.

The poles are what people here call cedar or red cedar, though it is actually a species of juniper. It's very common locally and was used in many of the old farm structures. I have no idea if they were treated by my grandpa but those poles have been in the ground for 50 - 55 years with the bark still on them and showed no signs of rotting whatsoever a couple years ago when I was there. There is a 2 x 8 or 2 x 10 treated drip board all around the base and the eves are around 2 feet if I remember correctly. I believe it's very slightly higher than the surrounding ground.

I have never dug up a post but I'm pretty sure it's just stuck in the ground with no gravel or anything whatsoever around it. The poles have probably never been subjected to direct splashing from water but the ground does get very saturated around here certain times of the year.

Those red cedar / juniper posts seem to be pretty awesome in the right conditions. I am using a lot of them from the property I purchased in 2012 and plan on using them in my hybrid pole / psp / earthbag structure. As Paul mentioned, it's all about diverting the water around your structure so that it wants to go somewhere other than towards your posts.
The air lift pump I set up is working fine but the damn well is pretty dirty. I shocked the well with a cup of bleach mixed in 3 gallons of water and keep pumping it every day trying to clear the crud out. There was a pile of organic matter that was all black and nasty at the bottom. Air lift pumps are good for cleaning the crap out. Still trying to flush it out and get it useable. If I don't put the pipe all the way down in the well I think it's ok but I wanna flush all the crap out of it. I'll keep at it and see what happens.
6 years ago
Also, I decided to just insulate the tank and set up a de-icer in it instead of putting it inside a small building, that way I won't waste indoor space. I'm not going to need to bury the pipe after all because I have gone with a air lift pump and will simply hook up a hose to the well outlet and run it to the tank whenever I need it. There will be nothing left out to freeze and I won't have to deal with buying more pipe and burying it.
6 years ago
I recently reactivated a well on my property that hasn't been used for god knows how long and started getting some black water. After some research it turns out it's black iron sulfides in the water caused by sulfate reducing bacteria. Time to shock this sucker.

I found some good links of rejuvenating wells and thought I'd share them.

http://www.dbi.ca/books/Docs/Biofoul.html

http://www.ehow.com/way_6183715_way-high-black-sulphur-content.html
6 years ago
Some more details on the pump. It is simply a 1" inch poly pipe and a 1/2" poly pipe that i connected with a 1" T fitting with a 1/2" right angle barb adapter on the center hole. These two poly pipes are tie wrapped together and run out of the well. The other end of the 1" T has an 8" piece of 1" poly so the air doesn't blow out of that end instead of going up the pipe.

I run the compressed air in the 1/2" poly at about 20 - 25 psi.

I was able to pull the pipes up the other day and found that the 1/2 inch was stopped up with a soil plug because, like a dumbass, I started pumping the first time around while the pipe was sitting on the bottom of the well. Unplugged it, dropped it back in the well and it works fine.

It might not be the most efficient well pump but I already had the compressor and the whole pipe assembly cost somewhere around $50 or less. Also, there's nothing to wear out and I can clean up the crap that has accumulated in the bottom of the well with it since there are no moving parts (the well wasn't properly sealed and has been sitting for god knows how long, the bottom is definitely funky).
6 years ago
I talked to the water company and they said 18 inches is good enough for burying a water pipe

(whoops wrong thread)
6 years ago
Well I dropped the lines and got everything setup and ran air to the air supply line and nothing happened. The air supply line must have kinked when I pushed it down the well because it builds up all the pressure in the line. When I unplug the compressor air line from the well air supply line all the air that was stored in the well air supply line rushes out. I hooked up air to the water supply line to see if it was stopped up for some reason but it is clear and I hear the well bubbling. The well air supply line must have kinked or be blocked somehow. I tried to pull the whole assembly up but the assembly jams up on something about 30 feet down and I can't get it out. Argh!! I think a hose clamp must be jamming on a well pipe coupler or something. I've got to figure out some way to get that thing out or I'll just have to cut the lines and let it drop into the well and run new lines. It's amazing how what should be an incredibly simple task turns into a real bitch sometimes. :/
6 years ago
I have an unused well on my property that's about 80 feet deep. I was on the verge of buying a convertible jet pump but then I started searching for "build cheap well pump" and came across some good info on Airlift pumps. I don't need consistent flow as I will be pumping into a storage tank so the airlift pump was the perfect fit. I bought everything I need for around 50 bucks. I already have an air compressor so all I needed was some 1 inch and 1/2 inch poly pipe and some fittings. I thought I'd share with you some of the best / most practical info I could find online for anyone who wants to put something simple together without worrying about all the design theory and math, so here are some links for anyone interested:

http://ecosustainablevillage.com.ip01-web23.net/air_lift_water_pumps.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVC-z3GyLk8&feature=plcp

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxy7kVGGoTk&feature=plcp
6 years ago
I am in Arkansas. According one web site we get around 60 days a year where the temperature goes below freezing. I will dig around the bases and insulate there. Interesting idea on digging a hole under the tank. Maybe I'll try that, though I don't have an auger.

What about ideas for just insulating the tank and building a box around the pump?
6 years ago