Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Country Living Learning Curve

It's still hot
just not as hot - a mere 36C today, which seems almost bearable after the 45F we had yesterday and the day before and most of the last 2 weeks .
Most of the East Coast of Australia has had this current weather system to some degree or another
... Melbourne has had 4 or 5 days of it and it's thrown the public transport and energy sectors into complete chaos... blackouts to tens of thousands of homes and mass cancellations of trains due to the tracks buckling in the heat ... yuck

So how hot has it been in practical terms? Well, the water coming out of the cold tap in the kitchen seemed to be about blood heat, so I used the super accurate digital thermometer that I acquired for pasteurising the goat's milk to check it and it was actually hotter than bloodheat - forty-freaking-four degrees C or 113F !!!

Given that my main tank is concrete and hold 25000 gallons or 113000 litres, you'd probably think that such a huge volume of water could never heat up, and really you'd be right ... but ... from that tank it gets pumped up to another at the top of the hill and gravity fed down to the house. All those pipes are close to the surface and after a while even the ground a foot under the surface has heated up enough so the water comes out hot
To get water cold enough to drink or too put into the portable coolers that wonderful Mandie-who-saved-my-life-with-her-generosity gave me last year, it has to go into the fridge for a couple of hours.

hot with a capital H


I still prefer this arrangement to the way it was when I moved in.

Allow me to 'splain:

When I made the decision to move up here, I did my homework. I thought that I had come to terms with the implications of country living:
limited water

but there were things that didn't even cross my radar

All the water to the house is dependant on the ELECTRIC pump at the main tank and do you know what happens on super hot days when the electricity supply is overwhelmed and fails?
the pump doesn't work
I found this out the hard way about 4 weeks after I moved in, having never lived on tank water before.
Cue the first really hot spell, and the first blackout, and all of a sudden, there we were with no fans, no fridge, and not a drop, literally not one drop, of water in the house. I had to use dam water in a bucket to flush the loo and make an emergency run into town for bottled water. I couldn't explain to David what was going on and it was thoroughly and completely revolting.
On that occasion we were blacked out in 40ish degrees for about 6 hours but some nearby had no power for 20 hours.
Think about it.

I now have 4500 litres up the top of the hill, pumped up there daily or whenever a particular level is reached ... so it never goes brackish ... and when the power goes off, I can at least run a cool bath for David and have a drink.

all thanks to my eldest's Godfather, and Maz's wonderful hubby, Saint Chris who worked his bum off so we'd have reliable water when it was needed

ETA I just heard on the Weather Channel that there have been 30 heat related deaths in Adelaide alone during this current heat-wave. Mostly elderly people living alone. ' Scuse me while I go ring Ma-in-law.


Lindi said...

Us city dwellers in need reminding occasionally how much harder it is for people on the land. Maybe we wouldn't complain so much! Thanks for the reminder.

crazyhaberdasher said...

Moving from the city suburb to a country town also makes a difference to how life goes - lucky for us we didn't buy a house in Boolara. Who is to know what is going to happen? It is devastating to lose your house and everything you own - I pray for you both on those hot days. Please take care.

catsmum said...

How far are the fires from you Maz?

crazyhaberdasher said...

About ten to fifteen minutes. Chris was on call and had to go into Churchill to mend the communication equipment in some fire trucks yesterday (on call for work not the CFA that is).

Alwen said...

Wow! 113 F tap water!

We, of course, have the opposite - freezing cold tap water in the winter. I'm afraid to check its temp, but our electric water heater says it's COLD, groaning away to heat it up.

Fortunately all the snow we've gotten this season insulates the ground, which insulates the buried water lines and keeps them from freezing.

And today it's warm, 37 F (3 C), and sunny again!

Lynne said...

It sure has been hot - not the weather we wanted for The Wedding! But, you know, The Bride didn't even seem to notice!

I hope ma-in-law was OK!

Rell said...

I hope you cool down soon.

Sarah said...

The water in New Orleans runs hot out of the tap in the summer...