Water, Water, Every Where

Nor any drop to drink.

One of the challenges of our lot, and we knew this going in, was that we’d have to rely on something other than city water or a well to provide all of our potable and non-potable water needs.  The irony is that you only need to walk our land after a rain storm to see how much surface water runs across our property (which we knew all about prior to buying as well).  We’re a fairly hardy lot so neither fact bothered us in the least.  We actually embrace both as they make our land and situation unique.  And frankly necessity is the mother of invention.

For our situation we’ll have a 10,000 gallon cistern and rain water collection system installed.  If our family of four is average we’ll use up to 70 gallons a day per person, or 280 per day for the household.  This works out to around 102,200 gallons a year.  Less if we conserve, more if I decide hanging out in the warm shower is more enjoyable than stepping out on the cold tile in the morning. 

We’ll have about 5,000 square feet of rain water collection area, give or take a couple hundred feet.  Every 1,000 sq. ft. of roof collects about 600 gallons for every inch of rainfall.  So our roof collects around 3,000 gallons every time it rains an inch.

Let’s see, not a math teacher but 102 divided by 3….carry the one…….we need 34″ of rain and melted snow equivalent to provide our family with water for a year.  I suppose more if we’re watering stuff, washing cars or running nude through sprinklers.  Akron, Ohio, the nearest large city near us gets about  38″ of annual rainfall / precipitation.  This year we’ve gotten 48″ of rain. 

So generally speaking we should have no problem with our water supply.  We predict the only times we’ll have to truck in water will be in the dead of Summer when it doesn’t rain and the dead of Winter when everything’s frozen.  Otherwise we should be right as rain. (pun intended).

I actually am looking forward to rain water as opposed to well water.  I don’t like the feel, smell, taste and stains that sometimes accompany well water.  Worst case scenario, we could drill for a well and have it slow feed the cistern.  We’re just not likely to get a well that will work for daily use.

Obviously city water would be nice. But the advantage of my system is that I’ll never get a water bill.  Yes there will be maintenance and I need chemicals to treat the water just like well water (or city water for that matter).  We’ll just be running our own water company on site.  Freedom and democracy at its best.  Air pollution is a concern but frankly I don’t think it’ll lead to any long-term ills.  Although you never know.  In that regard I’m at the mercy of which way the wind blows and what America is willing to put into its air.

We resolved the Western Red Cedar issue as best we could at this point.  As I noted previously, Cedar is a huge no no when it comes to rain water collection for potable purposes.  The natural oils and chemicals could pose a problem. On top of that if you’re using cedar shakes for your roof they’re treated with man-made chemicals which make them very toxic.  The State of Ohio Health Dept. won’t allow water collection on shake roofs.  What they don’t have on the books, yet, is cedar siding, namely on a dormer and how it affects water supply.  It’s something they’ll look into, quite possibly based on our inquiry.

Our house has cedar siding so we were concerned with run off getting onto the roof and into the water supply.  I checked with the lumber yard and verified the WRC is totally natural so we’re at least free of man-made toxins.  Alas though, Mother Nature does hate me because she makes sure cedar repels bugs through the use of her own toxins.

Long story short we’ve taken several prescriptive steps in short order.  The siding is going on as we speak.  1) We’re going to omit two gable end sections from our collection area, one isn’t critical and the other is a large dormer with lots of cedar on it.  The idea is that rain would beat onto the cedar and run down the laps onto the roof below. 2) We may make the cedar inert by painting or sealing it.  Down side here is we would compromise the look we’re going for; weathered grey.  3) Long term I can rip the cedar off and side the dormers and gables in galvalume metal.

Regardless, we’ll be fine.  If we all develop cancer or asthma then I’ll know why at least.

The cistern, downspouts and gutters should all be going in later this month.

Other than that, insulation is slowly going in.  Exterior insulation installation has slowed down, just as the finish line is in sight.  Not sure what’s going on there.  Also, this Friday we’ll have our second big tour, this time a local University will be sending a class out to take a look.  Last week we got a great welcome from our future neighbors.  I always enjoy showing off the house and sharing what we’re doing and what we’ve learned.

ProjectCam has a new memory card.  Tragedy of tragedies, the last card started lapping itself so I think I lost 200-400 frames.  Hopefully not much was going on at that time.  We’ll see.  This time of year, it’s dark by time I get out there.

Until next time, talk to you later.

-Chris

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Studio Night

Good news, cedar siding is going on the dormers. Bad news is I just realized cedar siding's going on the dormers.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
On an otherwise dismal day, at least one little portion of my existence is shaping up.  Siding is going on the house.  There’s a dormer that’s 2/3 covered in siding materials.  The bulk of the house and garage will be Western Red Cedar siding that we’ll let weather to a natural grey color.  The remainder will be painted board and batten siding.  It took the picture above for me to finally realize a potential issue though.  The cedar siding may wreak havoc with the health of our rain water collection plan.  You can collect rain water for consumption off a variety of materials including asphalt shingles, but cedar is a no no.  There are toxic preservatives in most if not all cedar shakes used for roofing.  Cedar itself, regardless of preservatives, contains natural tannins and oils that make water coming off of it non-potable.  Figures with everything going on I’d wait ’til the last-minute to realize there was an issue.  I guess my oversight knows boundaries after today.
 
Ultimately though this only affects the three dormers on the house.  The attic loft is painted board and batten siding so it won’t cause a problem. 
 
I’ll know better tomorrow if we have to replace the one section on already.  Otherwise everything is running along, slowly but surely.  The siding job itself is stunning in conjunction with the metal roof.  Bar none, it’ll be one of the best looking houses in the area. Of course I’m biased and know nothing of humility.  Ugh, I wish we were doing stone right off the bat.  We’ll all just have to wait a year.
 

Porch ceiling covered in OSB. Will then be wrapped and covered in insulation inside and out. The recessed lights have a built in adjustment so they'll slide down the requisite 1.5".

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This week was remarkable also for the fact that I got back into the studio.  Granted it was only to paint frames, but in the studio again I was.  I had forgotten how good that can be for my soul.  And no, it has nothing to do about hiding from the family.  In fact, for half the time I had a guest artist in studio.  

A budding "tape" painter just like his old man. Hopefully he loses the paint brush and makes something of himself someday. Being an artist is no way to go through life. Trust me.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I set up the easel and palette for my painting buddy, donned in his official “painting clothes”,  and proceeds to bark out orders.  He concisely tells me which colors of paint he’ll need for the night’s session.  I’m then informed I need to supply him with no less than five brushes and two palette knives, all called out by their proper names.  And every five minutes or so  I am to stop whatever I am doing and supply him with painters tape.  Not to get all ‘Flowers Are Red’ on the kid, but regardless of what colors I dole out most of the painting is a greenish grey blob.  But if you were to ask the artist it’s a painting of his “Tower”. (Actually no need to ask, he tells you outright, so his ego-maniac, artist dad is doing something right).  After about twenty minutes he’s done for the night and he retires back up the wooden stairs leading out of the basement, leaving me to my thoughts, paint and my one beer for the night.  It will be easier when we’re in the new place as the studio will be on the first floor and  easier to access the rest of the “action” in the house.
 
But also, hopefully, the new studio will be still somewhat secluded.  For I forgot what it was like to get away from the rules, expectations, and order of “reality” and get back into the studio where pretty much anything’s possible with the bat of an eye.  How nice it is to turn on some music, wet a brush and paint something.  Anything. As I’ve mentioned before, there’s something to be said for solitude; no matter who you are or what you think you’re doing (or think you obligated to be doing) with your 24/7.  A solitude and individuality that to the extreme can make one unbearable to be around, but well worth the risk in any instance.  Trust me, I’d lead you not astray.
 
That being said it’s still a nice treat  when you are fortunate enough to get the occasional fellow artist to join you in studio for a night.  Even when he’s a demanding, blonde three-year old.