And we have water!

I promised someone that once we had water – before the whole water nightmare became ancient history I would write the story – a story that at times seemed like a course. And it wasn’t – because we have water now. Or maybe it was, it was trial, where we could show our perseverance.

When I wrote the last post 3 months ago I thought that when Marcus came back from Denmark we would get water in a few days. We didn’t.

Actually we didn’t get water untill 2 days ago.

So the generator was broken, and we had to get it serviced. We bought another one and we hooked it up to the pump – but it wasn’t strong enough. The motor was 3 kW and the generator was 3,5 kW so we thought it would be fine – we took it back to Bauhaus and they would not return it – because we didn’t have the box it came in. They said that “everybody knew” that a 3 kW motor needed at least 6 kW generator – well I didn’t, but then I also all but flunked circuit theory at Uni… and it never came up in secondary school – I’ve never been off grid before, so no I didn’t know that. So we bought a 6 kW generator tried that – still no water. At this time we had hired two guys to do all this work for us, because I was not able to do it alone and if we were to wait for Marcus to get off work in the afternoon, this thing would take months (well it did so…). So we took the motor back to the fontaneria where we bought it and they proclaimed that off course it did not work – it was too small for the depth of the well! This time our Spanish friends were doing the negotiations and they looked deep in the eyes of the technician that had recommended this motor and said “and you will switch this one for a stronger motor, without any extra cost – they just payed us two days work for nothing, because you sold them the wrong motor!” So he did – and they did. But we had to wait for the fontaneria to get another motor so two days later I went to get it. And they installed it and nothing…

So Marcus did alot of measurements and it turns out that the voltage is too low, so we get a thicker cable (we call the fontaneria and they say 2,5 square, but we buy 4 square to be sure – or something, as I said I all but flunked circuit theory – my mind goes blank when they talk voltage and watts etc), aaaand still no water. So now we go back to the fontaneria and we are like – “what the f***?” And they put a professional well digger on the job, and promises that what ever he recommends, they will cover. He comes back and says that we need to buy 10 square cable or another motor and another generator. Remember we are now up to 3 generators on our little farm… The fontaneria exchanges the motor with a 3 fased one and we go buy a 3 fased generator. Unfortunately it is too small (our bad – totally), and since we bought it through the yellow pages it is not returnable. 4 generators, still no water.

Finding a larger generator, 3 fases is not easy, but finally we find one – the guys bring the pump and the motor all they way to Marbella to check that it actually works. It does, they come back to install it friday, only to find out that we are out of tape to seal the electrical connections to make them water tight. So Marcus goes to Bricomart to buy that, by the time he comes back, it is late, it is getting dark – they are going home. They promise to be back Saturday morning to get the whole thing installed. But the night between Friday and Saturday it is raining cats and dogs (and we do not get up to turn on the generator – otherwise we could have collected some 4000 L I think) and their basements are flooded. So they aren’t coming, and then they show up Monday, Marcus bought the wrong thing – or something – and we go down to our local hardware store to order it, and it will be two days. Thursday, one of the guy’s daddy is sick (and one guy can’t lower the pump alone) so they wont be here till friday (we had run out of water the Friday before and lived off of the water we had collected over the weekend some 1000 L). Friday – two days ago, 20 minutes before the guests arrives for Miriam’s birthday party – they announced that now! we have water!

Well – we have water on the top of the mountain, because we are missing a connector thing for the tube.

But now we have water 🙂 And this weekend Marcus managed to get our hot water heater going, so we even have hot water!

And we have finished the living room, and almost finished my office, and we have put an order down with a local carpenter for a kitchen. And this place is beginning to look like a real home! And feel like it.

In the months where we did not have water from the spring and our guys were working on the well we have been able to buy 8000L of water and put into our cistern. We’ve done so about once a month. So that is an expense more shaved off the budget – and once we have cleaned the cistern, we will be able to drink the water from the well – and loads of plastic bottles will not not be bought every week. The cistern is leaking – our big carob tree is growing into it. Since we don’t want to fell the tree we will have to find another long term solution for water storage. We have been using about 8000L/month these last few months – incl. irrigation excl. drinking water. We have not been showering as much as we would have liked to. It is about 65 L/pers/day – which is about the amount that we have been planning to use. So it is very obvious to us that we need to not be irrigating (except that which we are irrigating with greywater). If we irrigate we can’t bathe, simple as that. We also need 40-50.000L worth of storage – because except for that one little rain on Sct. John’s it hasn’t rained since the day we ran out of water in the spring.

So we have learned a lot – and a couple of trees have died!

We need to plant trees, from seed, that can survive without irrigation – or choose to irrigate a small area for a while, using well water – but to stop once the trees are established. We are considering which or if we will do both.

We are also taking more shortcuts, accepting that sometimes we need to pay people to come do stuff in order to get it done – and that it is OK. Marcus’ salary will still pay for a lot more work than he can put in after hours himself. We are also have more “generator evenings” as the kids call them – nights where we turn the generator on and watch a movie: We need that! And it is OK!

I don’t think I would have survived a week in 1890. But we are surviving and thriving here – and I need to learn how to change a tire 🙂

And we now have two generators for sale, if anyone is interested!


10 thoughts on “And we have water!

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  1. Glad to read you are doing strong. Was already fearing you might have given up o.O. I stumbled on your site at Utube and been following your way since. I think you would benefit if you would get someone dumb loads of biowaste to your site and compost it to jumpstart your badly degrated soil for more biological production capacity. I know it is type 1 error to live in a top of the hill, but I understand that you wanted to preserve an old building as I have also heart for old buildings. World needs more pioneers like you! Best Regards, starting permaculturalist from Finland

    1. Thank you! The house is far from the top of the mountain – we have 50m to the top of our land, and some 50m more to the top og our watershed. We have several place above the house where a key-line dam could go in. Our neighbor lives on top of the valley – in the saddle between two mountains – and it is always stormy at his house (it is windy at ours, but nothing like his). I think that sometimes we fall of the blog because we are out there doing “the real thing”, and not sitting in the comfort of our living room dreaming about it.

    2. Oh and yes – we are thinking of paying the neighbor for a couple of hours of work – so he can go down to the municipal waste station to get organic material – but we need to build some terraces first – otherwise it will slide down the mountain with the first rain.

  2. You are definetly my heroes. Takes a lots of guts to start in totally new environment so different from our Nordic countries and not having existing support network around you. The amouth of manual labour must be huge, when you cannot use excavator. Makes one just sad to see how barren the earth had gone after decades or even hundreds of years of misuse.

    1. Yes – it is amazing how destroyed it is. Our neighbor told us that when he was a kid the Rio ran almost all year – now it hasn’t run at all while we have been here… He things that plowing will help… 😦 I think we can use an escavator though – we have a road going up to the top of the mountain. Of course in some places it won’t be able to go, but most places should be possible.

  3. I am sooooooo happy your water problem is solved…
    I haven’t been checking lately since it took some time to get an update, but it’s good to read more of you, now several posts in the last month… I keep following.

    1. Thank you! I have decided to write once a week now, to hild myself to it sorta speak – because we actually have a lot to tell. It has really bogged us down the water issue – We’ve felt that we couldn’t do anything before it was solved! Purely psycological off course, but it just took so much energy out of everything. I think the shade you made have saved a few plants actually. How’s the land hunt going?

  4. This post is a bit old, I know. But I read

    “We need to plant trees, from seed, that can survive without irrigation”

    You might want to have a look at groasis waterboxxes:

    Love that technology. They’re using it to plant in the mountains in spain, where no irrigation is possible. We’re planning to move to the Malaga area ourselves, and definitely be using some of those boxes.

    Thanks for the post (what a story – all those generators 🙂

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