I’ve been sitting all winter, and my wind is shot…


Warmest day so far this year, and I’m out of excuses…


I’m going to wait until Sunday to tear up the plumbing because the weather is going to get colder and besides it’s virtually certain I’ll be missing something essential I’ll need to get during the Monday morning water run. But I didn’t know how long it would take to dig up the trench, so there was no harm in going ahead and doing that. Even if I don’t replace the pipe, I’ll still need the flexibility of having it above the ground. And it’ll probably be simplest to replace the pipe. I’ll need to rebuild the plumbing around the valve and possibly the faucet, and I intend to tear out and rebuild the riser with more rat-resistant insulation at the same time. With more under-floor insulation, the plan is to stop worrying about my pipes during every damned cold snap.

I expected it to take a while to dig up the trench, but I didn’t expect it to be so damned hard. Yeah, it’s packed clay and needed to be hammered out with a mattock and I hate using my mattock. But it’s only 18 inches at its deepest and less than 10 feet long, and not as though I haven’t done it before, so why was I having to stop every five minutes to catch my breath? Well, there’s building season and sitting season. At the end of building season, I’m typically in pretty good physical shape. At the end of sitting season, I’m a marshmallow. And marshmallows aren’t natural digging machines. So I’m going to go ahead and cut myself some slack over this.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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13 Responses to I’ve been sitting all winter, and my wind is shot…

  1. Guy says:

    So does this qualify as the official kickoff of your 2019 Lair Building Season?

  2. Joel says:

    Well, maybe a preliminary run-up to the official start…

  3. jabrwok says:

    Given your copious free time and the risk of cabin fever during the sitting season, have you considered developing a calisthenics routine? Gives you something to do and helps minimize the marshmallow effect:-). Also doesn’t require much, if any, equipment.

  4. Joel says:

    I consider it all the time. Then I pick up another book…

  5. Cederq says:

    Considering calisthenics, books, internet, baking, I would rather do those things then the actual exercise myself.

  6. Cederq says:

    Joel, is this to the stock tank in past pictures that the valve and manifold are on the shade side of the tank? How hard would it be to drain the tank and turn it around so the valving/manifold are on the sunny side?

  7. Joel says:

    Alone I wouldn’t try it. I looked into the possibility before I refilled it. It could be done, I think, using the Jeep for motive power, but I don’t believe it would be safe for the tank unless I did something about the probably ton or more of sludge on the bottom. I am absolutely not getting into that tank without backup, and even if I would it wouldn’t be possible to shovel it out alone. You’d need somebody on the rope and to empty the bucket.

  8. Mark Matis says:

    Metal armor of some sort for the new insulation around the pipe? At least hardware cloth?

  9. Joel says:

    I’m hoping to sheath most of it with some 8” stovepipe I still have lying about.

  10. Cederq says:

    You got a lot of sediment in your water supply? I wished I lived closer, I would have given you a hand with that chore.

  11. Norman says:

    Might it be possible to flush the sediment from the tank instead of shovel-bucketing it out? Both would require draining the tank, and entering it, so confined space protocol dicates minimum 2 people (and escape/retrieval planning), but with a “reserve water supply” (whatever that means in your circumstances) it might be possible to disconnect the output, and with pressurized & sprayed flow, turn the sediment into a slurry that could drain out.

    I think I mentioned this before, but some sort of sediment trap may be useful; running the incoming water through a couple 55 gallon drums might do it, assuming transit velocity is slow enough as to allow settling out of particulates, or perhaps a single 275 gallon IBC, except if the 55G drums have removable lids they’d be easier to keep emptied of sediment. No idea what would be required as to freeze protection, but a simple insulated shed might be enough.

  12. Fwiw – I agree with Norman about the slurry approach – either draining or pumping. A grout pump oughta’ make short work of it!

    If I opted for the draining approach – I might even put in a ‘Y’ divereter up close to the tank just for that purpose. That’d keep most of the sludge out of your own plumbing when you flush out the tank.

  13. Norman says:

    Plug Nickel’s comment got me to thinking – there are such things as submersible electric trash pumps. A quick search of AlGore’s InterTubes says ~$250-300 for ones with sufficient GPM to make draining & cleaning a one-day project. No idea if such a thing is “rentable/borrowable” anywhere near you, but the concept may have promise. If there is a way to insert such a pump and push it around the tank floor I know it’d pump water out, and I wonder if it would also extract a sufficient quantity of the sediment to obviate the need for shovels and buckets. An, as long as there’s enough water in the tank to make a pumpable slurry, there would be no need to introduce water from outside to produce it.

    An, as long as the device is there, and there are “willing participants” one may as well add some water and shove the pump around some more from inside the tank and get all of the sediment out (it should also be noted that some means of forcefully introducing fresh air and photons into the tank during the in-tank excursion also need to be included in the project).

    Is there some way to determine just how much sediment is in the tank? You’re estimating about a ton.

To the stake with the heretic!