“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

― Frank Herbert

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Fresh Water

 My land is surrounded on three sides by National Forest.  This isn't an accident.  When I left the Marine Corps in 1986, I had a list of "must have" parameters for our new location.

I needed a place where I could have some hope of preventing future encroachment, and a state park or national forest seemed the best solution to that problem. So I found this parcel of acreage, which had once been the site of a Civilian Conservation Corps camp in the 1930's.  It had passed into private hands through the machinations that accompanied the CCC and the depression.  There was a trail leading to it that could be improved to take trucks and jeeps, It was isolated, had good views because of it's altitude, and there were no people nearby.



It also had multiple water sources. There was a natural spring that bubbled up near the building site. This water , coming up from the water table under the national forest, is so pure that it is bottled as is and sold all over America as Appalachian Springs water, with the bottling plant just a few mountains away.

There was also a wide, deep stream coming down out of the forest, about 20 feet wide and between 2 and 10 feet deep, depending on the time of year and the part of it you are looking at.  My kids used to swim in it at the pools, and the dogs still do in summer.  This water, is also sweet . I send in a sample ever so often to make sure it is still pure, and have never had a negative report yet.

Finally, I put in a 179 foot deep well, and even in the bad drought of the late 1980's always had plenty of water.



These are all sources right at the building site.   Within walking distance is a big waterfall with pools at the bottom. If  I ever had to, I could fill the truck with water jugs and go down there to fill them.



More out of habit than anything else, I am keeping around 300 gallons of water stored in containers , spread out through different buildings. I use it to water the animals ,and that keeps it constantly rotating.





People use a lot of water.  You have to cook, wash dishes and clothing, take showers, flush toilets, water the animals, and we drink a lot of water.  As long as we are up here, and nothing dramatic happens like the National Forest being sold off for development, water should not be a problem.

33 comments:

  1. Nice to have a good water source. We have a few options as well, but I haven't had ours tested. Your streams are so pretty!

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    1. You can buy the kit at home depot for a few dollars. You just take the sample, mail it in, they send you back a report. I am a bit paranoid about the purity of the water, so I do this intermittently.

      The forest in summer is dense, there's a heavy tree canopy, and lots of mountain streams around here. Primordial.

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  2. "...and nothing dramatic happens like..."

    you mean like this?

    http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/fedgov-moves-to-seize-water-rights-from-100000-montanans-all-surface-water-and-wells_03182015

    Matt

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    1. Any time the federal government is involved with anything , really bad results can and usually do ensue. There's been trouble with the EPA in the mountains here over water issues. No one is safe when the Fed's are casting greedy and covetous eyes their way.

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  3. Harry - somehow waaaay early on we read about survivalism, prepping, SHTF, TEOTWAWKI and zombies...plus gov interference and all that. and we learned that water is the absolute most important resource to have easy access to. so we got 2 big berkey water filtration systems. remember, we were still back in the city but did have a large but unreliable natural water source very nearby. when we purchased our property here on the island, we bought 200ft of the cleanest ocean-fed river front you can imagine (and we own the mineral rights). it also came with a beautiful 15ft deep dug well. a friend of ours brought a "water dowser" up here before we bought the property and said that we are sitting on at least one spring. 200ft to the left of us is a beautiful hand-dug well with the clearest water you ever saw, owned by some americans who haven't been here since 1978. and we have several rainbarrels and a rain catchment system and it rains and snows here all of the time.

    when i read about people like Dani in South Africa having to plan for water and moniter their water usage it seems very alien to me. i also follow several blogs in california and their water situation scares me to death.

    thank goodness worrying about water is not a problem for us. we understand what good fortune we, and you, have...and wish everyone could be this comfortable about having easy access to water.

    another great post...like usual. almost getting boring since all of your posts are so helpful - bahahahahah! maybe you need to write some garbage posts about the kardashians or something!

    much love! your friend,
    kymber

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    1. Kymber, you and J are among the best set up survivalists I know. Your property is better than mine, because you are so far away from population centers and you and the other islanders are close to self sustainability. You don't have any main transportation routes in your vicinity and your island population is largely homogeneous so you aren't going to break into mutually antagonist groups based on ethnicity when something akin to TEOTWAWKI suddenly arises.
      Much has changed here in the nearly thirty years I have lived in the forest. I am still better off than most, but you two have me beat in some significant areas. That's why I am inclined to send the kids to you and J rather than bring them back down here when TSHTF. I do worry about Canada closing the borders in such an event but you can't remove all the risk in coping with horrific times.

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    2. Harry - that is quite the compliment coming from you, one of the people we look up to and have learned so much from. regardless of closing borders, we'll get the kids up here with not a lot of trouble. think Maine/New Brunswick. the border between them is for the most part unguarded and people have been bringing stuff across that border both ways since the beginning of time. no worries Harry. you know we'll get the kids here and keep them safe!

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    1. The Marine Corps gave me very good training in logistical planning as well as security and tactical considerations. I also did my research, reading Benson, Tappan, and whatever else seemed germane. I felt a strong sense of urgency about doing this right. I made some mistakes, mostly in the design of the main house and the trail up here, but I did the best I could.

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  5. One day I'd like to believe we could buy a place like that. It certainly looks lovely and is not lacking for resources. Is that a Yugo M-48?

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    1. No, that's a Greek Model 1930. Very rare gun, but a great shooter as well. I think there are still secluded places but I would go to the West and Southwest now if I had it to do over.

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  6. MN the land of 10,000 lakes and Sky Blue Waters....They say our lakes came from Paul Bunyan and his ox Babe running around here. Thanks for the story

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    1. Water should never be a problem where you live, Rob.

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  7. Sounds like an amazing location you have. Great thinking there. You reminded me that I should have our water tested, I picked up the bottle but never sent it in. Should do it sometime soon.

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  8. I think having the water tested periodically by an independent lab is a good idea. It's easy to do, cheap, and you don't want any unpleasant surprises with your water supply.

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  9. Your one stream sounds like a river over here!
    My water options aren't that great but a mile away in the village one of my good friends has his own spring so I can always go up there. I'd like to have a borehole at some point put in so we have got our own source and I'd like to save more rainwater as it's better for the plants. It does rain a lot here so that's an advantage.
    I couldn't be too fussy when finding a place, I only had a few criteria and that was it had to have land, have a house and I could afford it!

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    1. Kev,

      Lots of people here are catching rain water for use in gardening. There are also a lot of people who use "grey water" for the same purpose. I wanted a hand pump to supplement my submersible pump, but hand pumps will only work where the water table is near the surface and it's way deep here on the mountain. So long as I have fuel for my generator I can pump water from the well, but once that is gone I'll have to use the other sources.

      We had to work within our means too. But, fortunately for us, land in the Appalachian mountains in 1986 was very cheap, because it was isolated, hard to get to, the locals were very rustic, and the Florida people were not coming here to retire then.

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    2. What about using an old wind powerrd pump like you see in fields for livestock?

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    3. Kev, I think that our location on the mountain would make wind power impractical just as it spoiled our solar power venture. We either have terrific wind that would damage a turbine, or no wind at all. I think wind power works best when you have a constant but moderate breeze.

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  10. Harry - I wonder if in a SHTF situation if people wouldn't try and escape the cities and head for the hills - like yours. Do you have any one of your water sources "secured" - against theft / contamination / etc?

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    1. Dani, I once had a rather acrimonious discussion with another survivalist about that very question. He felt that rural people would be safe because the "Golden Horde" would not be able to reach them for logistics reasons. I disagreed. I am pretty sure that once food and water ran out in the cities, which wouldn't be long with our "just in time" food supply system, they'd head out here.

      I am very hard to find by accident. People would literally have to be trekking up marginal roads and make the right combination of turns to find this place. I would know they were coming a long time before they got here because of the security system I've built over the years. The stream is very close to the main house, down slope. The little spring that bubbles up is actually only about 200 feet from the shop. Hopefully I wouldn't have to deal with the issue of intruders but I am sure our town would not last long, as it now has a four lane highway leading directly to Atlanta.

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  11. We live up the hill from a spring fed lake and have creeks within walking distance. There is a natural spring under the house but it only drains when there has been a lot of rain. We have a deep well, too deep to hand pump so our friend is going to wire up something that we can run with the generator. Plus we bought some filtration drinking cups for each family member. We're still not in that good of shape like you are but far better than the folks in the city. I think they might try to come out here, and the locals in our small town might stand a chance, but city people won't do well here unless they have training of some sorts. One of the workers where my husband used to work thought he was kidding him when my husband told him our water comes out of the ground! He thought that was disgusting.

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    1. I am continually amazed at how little understanding some people have concerning the infrastructure that supports our society. If people knew what was in the water in most cities, they wouldn't touch it. My kids, for example, though they live in a city, only cook and drink with bottled water that has been filtered, and we have a filter on their shower. That's not a perfect solution since you are trusting the bottled water company and trusting is a bad idea in cases like that. But it's the only solution we could work out.

      Sounds like you are in good shape. As long as you have fuel for your generator you can run your pump, once it's wired up. I have a transfer switch that isolates me from the grid and powers the compound with the generator. But that puts the onus for load management on me, since turning on too many appliances at once will lug down the generator and possibly damage it. I have only a 3 KW diesel generator. My middle brother has a 10KW propane generator at his bug out retreat in the Sierra Nevadas. But as Kev pointed out, you can only do what you can do with the resources at hand.

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  12. You are in an enviable position. Nearby potable water is a HUGE advantage. People in the 3rd world spend hours procuring it and bringing it back home for daily use. Part of the farm 'chores' was pumping water and bringing it inside for household / livestock uses. Water hauling is a chore, no doubt about it.

    Wars are and will be fought over it. Its just a matter of time.

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    1. One of the reasons I wanted national forest around me is the tremendous amount of pollution in this country. If you look at the results of analysis done on many city water systems, the contaminants in the water are both disgusting and dangerous. Having spent a lot of time overseas in underdeveloped countries, I've seen people drink water I wouldn't wash my socks in. I also saw a cholera epidemic that was spread through fecal contamination of the only available water sources. By living here, where no one can put residences or business upflow of me, I can be sure of pure water. That's one reason why I worry so much when I start seeing "land swap" in the newspaper. A common malady with government owned land of any kind is "sweet heart" deals where the Feds allow drilling or some other kind of development. Money passes under the table, and then the federal decision makers retire and go to work for the company they let in to "develop" what was previously pristine land supposedly held in trust for future generations.

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  13. Harry, I think you have the perfect piece of property. That was the kind of thing we were looking for but as providence would have it, ended up where we are. Habit is a great ally and you have a very good system for water.

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    1. Leigh, after I left the Marine Corps, my wife and I stayed on Emerald Isle, in the outer banks. We had been living there for the past year, while I was stationed at Camp Lejeune waiting for my resignation to be processed. We spent several months living on the island, looking for the right place to move to. We looked in Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. Finally we found this place, and we have been very happy up here. It was better when it was a small farming community, with only two roads leading into the county. Now it is a retirement community, but we still live so far out, and so far up, that though there are houses on the other side of two ridge lines, they might as well be on the moon for all the impact they have on us.

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  14. Harry,

    You've done some great research before purchasing your property. Water is something we all must have in order to survive. We can only survive maybe 3 days without water. Your property has great sources of water, and privacy. Another great post!

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    1. Sandy, we really worked hard on our relocation. We knew we only had enough money to take one shot at it, and that there was no going back.

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  15. Very pretty country Harry, if I ever win the lottery I am coming to visit! Just chuck a tent out the back for the wife and me and we will be happy. Before you know it she will have every critter at your place lining up for a pat and a handout.

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    1. You would like these mountains. They are not easy to live in. Seems like it's always cold, or hot and humid, but they really are beautiful.

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  16. What a great set of comments to this post!

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