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Will Solol

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since May 21, 2018
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Recent posts by Will Solol

Thanks! That's all helpful and sounds like you've dealt with some similar things. Quick note though, beds are now N-S. Land slopes slightly to the south there, so water is running that direction.
1 year ago
Thanks very much! Yeah I too try to think holistically about the whole place. And speaking of... down below this field is a driveway, and then below that a much larger field with a mix of early succession trees (lot of white pine), little shrubs, grasses, and so on. This larger area is much more overgrown and I'd like to get to work on it at some point, it's a few acres of open space at least. This includes, at roughly its lowest point, what seems like may be an ideal pond site.

However, I'm trying to take things one stage at a time! For now the water in the upper field drains to the driveway, and at a certain point crosses it and goes down into the lower, larger field. That point might be a worthwhile spot to install a culvert eventually, but again, one step at a time.

I didn't even consider a swale higher up on the upper field, closer to the water source, but that's an interesting idea.

I have been thinking of hugelkultur beds. I was thinking of building at least one east-west (rather than north-south as my current beds are)—is that what you'd suggest?

1 year ago

Kind of an open-ended question here. Got a small field that gets pretty waterlogged in spring and fall and looking for suggestions. Ive been at this site less than two years. In spring 2021 it was tilled up by PO and buckwheat was scattered. Much of that came back last year. I have no idea if these big pools of water that currently form previously formed prior to tilling, I'm wondering if maybe they did not.

In any event about half the field is pretty shaded—the other half is open and sunny and I grew a small garden there last year. The sunny spot has a slight slope and I shaped the beds facing down the slope (to the south) which in retrospect maybe wasn't a great idea because in spring water just tends to run down the spaces between the beds.

In any event—I'd like to expand the garden to make better use of that sunny, garden space while better retaining water. And then I'd like to think about what might work in the shadier section of the field to more effectively manage the water there. It's just kinda swampy!

Couple pictures attached, one looking from the shady middle of the field to the sunny side (facing west), then a couple of the beds (again, which slope down to the south). These photos were from a week ago—most of the standing water is gone now.

1 year ago
I actually have something sort of simple for backpacking. But to clarify, if possible, I'd love to have something I can potentially install into the water system—some kind of filter, that can be a part of the system, does that exist?

And obviously being off-grid looking for something that doesn't use power...
1 year ago
Hey just an update for anyone interested: tests came back and iron was actually pretty normal, but manganese was a little high. Well below advisory levels, but around the secondary maximum contaminant level. This may explain the (very mild) staining I sometimes see.

Anyway hopefully when it's warmer I can seal up the places where that hardware cloth is sticking out.

Because of this (and other issues related to this jenky well) I'm looking for some input on effective, off-grid water filtration. Started a new thread here for any one interested:

Thanks for all the help!
1 year ago
Hi all—

I've posted about this before: I've got a pretty rustic cabin with water being fed from a dug well up above. (I've posted about the well in previous forums and happy to give more info to anyone interested)—but right now want to ask about water filtration options.

The water quality is pretty good all things considered but:

• it consistently tests positive for coliform bacteria (not e. coli—this may be because the well does not have a proper lid, just a board weighed down by stones. I actually made a concrete cap myself that I will put on once it warms up)
• water is also slightly high in a couple metals (specifically iron and manganese—well below health advisory levels, but around secondary maximum contaminant levels, at least in the case of manganese)

The water runs from the well through 1" poly piping into two 55-gallon drums beneath the bathroom, and then is pumped up with a small RV/boat-type pump to the sink and shower.

Long story short—I have generally NOT been drinking the water straight—I drink it once boiled, and sometimes get bottled water, but want to devise a practical filtration system, both for potential coliform bacteria and for metals.

While I plan to make slight adjustments to the well that I think will help with both of these, it's a rustic setup and the guy who installed the well was an amateur, so I don't think it'll be perfect. I'm working on building a new house and will make that water supply much tighter, but would like this to work better for now.

Any input?

1 year ago

Thanks for the replies. Gonna test the water this week and see what comes back...

I should say I was re-alerted to this problem last week after opening up the well and seeing what appeared to be a lot of iron bacteria near the top of the well. In the past it had looked like these exposed sections of hardware cloth were starting to rust a little and I'd fish out little pieces of rust but that seems to have gotten a lot worse. I think a lot probably is sinking to the bottom or else I'd be seeing more (water from the tap looks pretty clear).

Anyway, this iron bacteria got me wondering about what else is in there.

1 year ago

Gonna bump this again while I'm here on Permies. It's been a constant struggle with these mice, but situation has typically been manageable. I was able to rid the cabin of them last winter and things were quiet until spring/summer, when the struggle started again but it was tolerable.

But this winter things have gotten rough. They didn't clear out and in the last week things have just gotten out of hand. I've heard what sound like wood rats or possibly even small squirrels (?) in the walls, and it's been a nightmare at night.

The big problem here is that the previous owner of this cabin did a shoddy job renovating this old structure. The cabin interior is wood-paneled, with insulation behind it, but there appears to be pretty substantial space in the wall cavity, which allows rodents to pretty easily move about. The cabin frame, as I mention, is quite old and doesn't have a proper foundation, and there are simply too many gaps around it to realistically seal the whole thing up.

We're living here temporarily while we work on a proper house, but this rodent thing is so irritating. Note that we have virtually never seen them *in* the cabin, just hear them in the walls. At other times of year, traps outside (on the roof, under eaves, on storage racks attached to the back of the cabin) plus a mint spray inside/outside are pretty effective at flushing the rodents out and catching them. But now that it's cold, they are pretty stubborn to leave. I really don't want to use any kind of poison but am getting awfully worn out by this.

Any brilliant ideas?
1 year ago
Hi there. The dug well at our off-grid cabin was built by the previous owner and I have found a few problems with it, at least one of which I posted about previously. Recently I've noticed another: the hardware cloth the previous owner used in the concrete forms is exposed to the water in a couple of places (not fully covered by concrete) and appears to be rusting. I have asked previous owner what type of metal the hardware cloth is; he doesn't know. This has gotten me very concerned about what might be / maybe has been leaching into the water. I'm waiting on a metals test to arrive, but looking for any suggestions about how to remedy this.

I'm not sure I can realistically cover the exposed metal at this time of year—even if I drain the well, a pain in the ass in itself, it's so cold that I'm not sure I could get concrete to cure over the exposed cloth. I've also wondered about some type of screen on the poly pipe that feeds the cabin from the well—any recommendations there?

I'm not gonna drink it while I wait for the water test, but I do use it to shower and wash dishes. How do people feel about that?

I'll certainly repost once I get metals results.
1 year ago
Sorry, my post wasn't clear. My chimney burns OK. I cleaned it out the other day and I'm asking what people do with the creosote that comes from a cleaning (not an excessive amount).
1 year ago