Can we live without running water for a year?? - Homesteading Today
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  #1  
Old 12/12/10, 04:22 PM
mamaof3peas's Avatar  
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Question Can we live without running water for a year??

We are trying to decide if we can live without a well and hauling water for a year in our cabin... Wed bring in drinking water, and fill a big water tank in town each week. But how do we keep it from freezing? We. Live in IL so it gets pretty cold. I'd do laundry at mat in town. Wed have to do showers uing shower bags u hang, like the solar ones. Bring in water for dishes and hand washing? Basically we'd be adding water next year and septic the following?? Sort of little house on prairie but trying to do without debt

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Old 12/12/10, 04:32 PM
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No running water

I had no running water from 1998 to 2000. It's not nearly as hard as you think. I hauled water from friends and work in collapsable 5 gallon camping jugs. Everyone got use to the fact that when I was visiting I'd also be filling up jugs. You are much more careful about your water usage so get by with very little. I still took a fast shower every morning and washed dishes. For me, it wasn't a huge inconvenience and I'd do it again. It can be done.

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Old 12/12/10, 04:39 PM
 
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I lived without running water in the house for 2 years at the Pryor MT ranch but did have a spring nearby where I could get drinking/cooking water and bring it in, so not quite the same situation.

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Old 12/12/10, 04:39 PM
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What area do you live in?

I spent my first year in Alaska living in a dry cabin. I hauled water in 5 gal plastic containers from a public well and stored them inside under the stairwell. Had a sink in the kitchen that drained into an empty 5 gal pail. I took showers at work or had a "bucket bath" at home, and when it was warm enough I showered on the deck with a shower bag. I also used a laundromat and an outhouse.

There are many here that have a large tank installed somewhere high in the cabin/house so the water doesn't freeze and have temporary plumbing to feed sinks by gravity. They will haul water with a similar sized tank in the back of the pickup and use a small electric pump to transfer the water into the larger tank.

ETA - looked again and I see you live in Illinois.

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Old 12/12/10, 04:42 PM
 
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We did it for five years. You get into a routine, be careful with water, etc. We only hauled our drinking water, pulled the rest out of the river. We used the laundry mat . We watered a garden and 5 horses during this time also.

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Old 12/12/10, 04:54 PM
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Thank you!! I think we could do it, but my hubby and I are trying to figure the finite details lol. My hubby said he could bury 55 gal barrel with gravel etc and the grey water could drain there. We would have an outhouse and a sawdust toilet inside until the septic is brought in.

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  #7  
Old 12/12/10, 05:20 PM
 
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Adults can handle it but I would not try it with kids! Especially younger ones.

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Old 12/12/10, 05:45 PM
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Before 1930 nearly everyone lived without running water. My great-grandparents didn't have running water until in the 70's and then it was just a hand pump in the kitchen. I've done it for a couple weeks with little babies. Didn't seem like it would be too hard to do it longer. I think the winter would be the worst, needing warm water for baths for the kids.

If you could divert your roof run-off to a cistern or holding tank you shouldn't have any problem in the warmer months. An underground cistern wouldn't freeze as easily (if at all) as an above ground tank. Holding tanks and cisterns cost a lot of money though. Just an option for you to consider.

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Old 12/12/10, 05:49 PM
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In 1998 after the big ice storm we were logging to clean up and the skidder cut through our very shallowly (3") buried water line (previous owner did installation). The cost to get it redone was so expensive that we could buy a backhoe tractor and do it ourselves. Problem was we didn't have the cash. So from then until the spring of 2001 we went "without" running water. In the warm seasons we simply used a pipe along the surface of the ground but when winter comes that freezes at times, most of the time in fact, and we hauled water from a local spring above the road with easy pipe access. We lived. We made it. We saved up enough and bought a backhoe, installed the new water system and life is grand. Now having a tractor has let us do all sorts of things we would not otherwise have attempted. See:
http://flashweb.com/blog/2010/11/tractor-pillow.html

Living the winter without water is doable. 30 gallon water drums are easier to move around than 50 gallon drums.

Cheers

-Walter
Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
in the mountains of Vermont
Read about our on-farm butcher shop project:
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/butchershop
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/csa

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Old 12/12/10, 06:06 PM
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"Adults can handle it but I would not try it with kids! Especially younger ones."

Why not? (Barring Children's Services sticking their noses in, of course.) I was raised on a homestead in Alaska without running water or electricity and grew up just fine. We lived in a cabin in Alaska later, after I was married, with three young children, and they did just fine, too!

Kathleen

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  #11  
Old 12/12/10, 06:14 PM
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I'm glad to hear it! We do have children, but we homeschool so that might make it easier I'm thinking it could be part of school? Teaching innovation!

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Old 12/12/10, 06:18 PM
 
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My first thought was to make a little building that you can line with bales of straw to keep it from freezing. Then when the cabin is built you have a little shed you can still use.

Then I thought about you building a little room for a large water tank in the house. You can fill it with 55 gallon drums of water you haul in from town. It wouldn't freeze up and once you're done with the tank you have a handy little pantry. Just make sure you have a way to get the tank out of the house! Don't want to find out you need an 80 inch wide hole to get it out when the widest door you have is just 36 inches wide!

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Old 12/12/10, 06:21 PM
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I have always had running water. Sometimes it ran from a county water tap. In my east tennessee cabin it ran from a pitcher pump off the porch or the creek in two buckets on a shoulder yoke and ratcheer on the knoll at times I ran water inside from the wellchain drop cylinder.

Mankind always has running water the only question is how far you got to run it and how much you spill on the run

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Old 12/12/10, 06:22 PM
 
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Can you legally do that in IL? You need to check local laws. If you have kids, you need to make sure that going without running water wouldn't be considered child abuse. I would be really concerned about DCFS.
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Last edited by Joshie; 12/12/10 at 06:56 PM.
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  #15  
Old 12/12/10, 06:23 PM
 
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I grew up without running water. My nieces and nephews lived with us at times. I took my children to my parents. I don't see what the big deal is. We never took showers. You took sink baths and I guarantee you we cleaned better than most people because every inch of your body got soaped and wiped down again a couple of times to remove the soap.

You need a chamber pot with kids. You just can't expect them to handle extreme cold or nights in the outhouse. I see you said a "sawdust toilet." I have no experience with that. We had a pot. It had a lid and was emptied in the morning or whenever a child used it during the day.

I actually have my grandmother's pot which we called "Pearl" on my porch with flowers in it. Stupid auctioneer tried to sell her as a "bean pot." I told him when I bought her, "No, I am not going eat beans cooked in Pearl. I have cleaned her out from what she was intended for too many times to do that!!!"

Btw, I live in west central Indiana. Illinois is so close we can spit and hit it.

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Old 12/12/10, 06:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrek View Post
I have always had running water. Sometimes it ran from a county water tap. In my east tennessee cabin it ran from a pitcher pump off the porch or the creek in two buckets on a shoulder yoke and ratcheer on the knoll at times I ran water inside from the wellchain drop cylinder.

Mankind always has running water the only question is how far you got to run it and how much you spill on the run

LOL....my mama used to say she had running water. Countrysunshine just runs right out to the well and pumps it and runs it right back into the house!
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Old 12/12/10, 06:30 PM
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I'm in Illinois. My water only runs on the legs carrying the buckets.
I and family have been doing that way since the nineties.
The legalities involved with water generally allow the homeowner MORE liberties if he hasn't that water running by "conventional" means. I.e.... septics are not required unless you have "running water".
I am almost, but not quite amazed at how quickly these practical issue threads get sidetracked to politics. They have succeeded in their conditioning of the populace to lick the boots of the perceived masters.

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Old 12/12/10, 06:48 PM
 
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We had a well and pump on the back porch at the ranch. That was our running water. We carried water into the house for everything, drinking, cooking, washing hands and dishes. Had a water tank on the back of the coal cook stove to keep water hot for washing dishes, etc. Washing machine with a gasoline motor for laundry (before that, had a washer that had a lever on the side you pushed back and forth that moved the agitator back and forth) and heated the water on the coal stove for that. No electricity so we had kerosene lamps and lanterns for light, coal stoves for heat and cooking. Outhouse. Bath water was heated on the coal stove in a big round washtub.

My grandparents raised two girls like this. My parents and I moved to the ranch when I was 5 and I was 10 years old before we got electricity and with that we also got a butane stove to cook on. No indoor plumbing, however, or running water.

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Old 12/12/10, 07:00 PM
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Wow! Loving all the stories! Yes I've checked legalities, but we are in very rural area, its allowed

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Old 12/12/10, 07:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaof3peas View Post
Wow! Loving all the stories! Yes I've checked legalities, but we are in very rural area, its allowed
What about DCFS?
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