The place was a swamp. When I went outside, the ground would give under my feet like a sponge. There were pools and puddles and what might kindly be termed ‘a tiny lagoon’ in places. The ducks were in heaven. The Little Paddler picks her routes to toddle via puddles. She stops to splash in all of them. Occasionally, she’ll squat down to slap her hands in the water and Mr. Fairweather found her sitting down in a big puddle one day with the biggest smile on her face. Thrilled beyond belief with herself. Thank God for waterproof trousers and wellies!
But all this water hasn’t brought smiles to all of us. The wastewater treatment system has been acting up. Acting up is a mild term. It turns out the pump that pumps the sump water out onto the percolation area has blown. And it keeps tripping the switch for the whole wastewater treatment system. Which then slowly backs up until suddenly, the toilet won’t flush. So just before Christmas, we got the tank emptied and thought we had it all working again. Less than a week later the tank and overflow sump were full again! We emptied it again. The lads stood looking into the sump as the ground water seeped back in. Disaster. We eventually sourced a temporary pump until the repairman was back working after the holidays. We have been carting emergency nappy loads to granny’s house and on water lock down so as not to add anything to the load going in to the tank. Every drop counts.
It has been a huge pain in the butt but has made me really think. About how much water I waste. How much water I could be saving. How much water I could be reusing. So I am going to make a few little steps that I have started a bit more permanent I think. They sound tiny and maybe you do them already but they are new to me.
- New loo rules: If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.
- I am amazed in the mornings at how much toilet paper collects in the bottom of the toilet bowl. It doesn’t help the septic tank adding to all that has to be broken down. So, brace yourself, I am going to take baby steps and start using family cloth. For wees only. I mean, I already wash cloth nappies so is it really that big a deal? I am not going to expect visitors to use it. But I am going to try.
- Leftover tea and bits of water in the bottom of drinking glasses are collected and poured on the houseplants crammed onto my windowsills.
- It turns out that I can cram an awful lot more into the dishwasher than I have been doing. Dishwashers are much more efficient at water usage if they are filled before switching on.
- I need a plastic basin in my sink. I can wash pots and rinse off dishes before loading the dishwasher and then empty the basin outside on my pots. (The ones the hens have left intact – they are ruthless!) Even if the potted plants don’t need watering, I reckon that the water in the basin will still be less down the sink than if I had been running the tap.
I reckon that’s loads to start off with but if you have any other suggestions or ideas, please tell me.
The pump is fixed and everything rewired so if things go wrong, we’ll get more notice next time. And we are signing up finally for a maintenance contract. The relief of being able to do the washing in your own house now is just amazing. It really is the simple things in life.