Country Livin’

Water, Waste, Trash, and Warmth. When we first moved out of the Perfect Suburban University Paradise we were uncomfortable with some of country livin’s inevitable mechanical features, such as a well and a septic tank/system. Not so much anymore.
For water there’s the “Irrigation District” piped-in water, a kind of hold-over from the old days of “Ditch Tenders,” water-rights, and mining operations – and what some still consider to be a rapine Utility just like in the old days. A lot of people up here have wells and that’s drinking water – but they need to be tested for various levels of stuff besides bacterial nasties, like iron so your pants don’t come out of the wash brown. In the current drought-conditions, some of the lower elevation wells were going-off dry or showing up muddy. In order to restore volume and flow, some people had to get another few hundred feet deep. That can get pretty expensive and I imagine that a bunch of other well-stuff gets upgraded or replaced at the same time.
Waste-systems, as a friend in MA where it’s actually pretty suburban but lacking in waste-infrastructure says, “Think of a septic system as a biological engine, and don’t throw food-scraps down the in-sink-erator disposal.” The leach-field or tank needs to be properly maintained and at a proper distance from the well. And then there’s “casual/causal waste.” Being that we produce X-amount of archaeological-worthy litter on a daily basis, where does the garbage go? Some folks also have burn-piles and on burn-days sometimes it’s smells like they’re burning old milk cartons and plastic wrap – it’s not all fragrant pines and balsam up in the woods. As discussed in comments:

Out in the sticks many driveways are practically tiny roads, too long, twisty and tight for the big waste-haulers to even navigate. If you have to push your waste-bins down a mile to the road every Thursday it gets a bit old. Lot of people have a small garden-tractor and trailer for just that. Lot of people leave the waste-bins lined-up in rows by the roadside next to the mail-boxes. Some mail-theft here too.
But still people are free to live like pigs in squalor, and you can see them from the road. Homes where garbage is piled all around, blue-tarps cover mounds of decaying old vehicles and mattresses, ancient rusting appliances dotting the landscape. I dunno, it’s either because they’re old, or just cheap, or poor, or they are hoarders who never throw anything away. We have passed-up several opportunities where the neighbors lived like pigs and too close-proximity made all the difference. I guess for some people it’s a way to prevent anybody (at least people of a certain sensibility) from even moving-in next door. Or they might just be crack-heads on Gov. assistance.

Heating. Given the sheer natural abundance of timber, wood is still a viable heating alternative to rapine utility companies like PG&E, but in an appliance-rich environment they still they mostly get the “E” out of you for lights and computers – unless you go Solar. But the cost of electricity is not so great (compared to the Expensively-Perfect Suburban Paradise), and many kitchens are all-electric. My preference is for gas wherever possible, and it can be re-plumbed to connect-up to the propane tank, because most furnaces are running on propane…

About NotClauswitz

The semi-sprawling adventures of a culturally hegemonic former flat-lander and anti-idiotarian individualist, fleeing the toxic cultural smug emitted by self-satisfied lotus-eating low-land Tesla-driving floppy-hat wearing lizadroid-Leftbat Califorganic eco-tofuistas ~

10 thoughts on “Country Livin’

  1. I’ve just used airsource here coupled with wet underfloor and it is working much better than I hoped. My next build will be based around ground source (coil or bore) with possibly heat reclaimation from both air and waste….relying on putin for our gas is no fun!


    • Yeh I just do cosmetic household work -no tile-work, flooring, or roofing. TheIrritableArchitect is a real architect who lives in Oklahoma where it’s either minus-negative-sub-zero-cold, or as freaking-hot as the surface of Venus… We hate Putin too, but have a dumb-ass late 70’s Carter-legacy EPA law, the ban on U.S. oil exports, which has put the Hippies and Doomsayers in a happy-mood since it’s dampening down the fracking boom – we should be exporting a lot of CHEAP light-sweet crude, and screwing Putin over hard. Putin has spent millions supporting the anti-fracking Greenweenies as they are aptly called Watermelons – Green on the outside, Red on the inside.


  2. My old California home had a well water system – shared by 72 houses. The water tests showed the water to have naturally occuring bicarbonate of soda – like Perrier on tap!

    Good times!


  3. I wish I had propane… Am considering it actually, because the last 2 winters of global warming have put to rest the idea that “all electric” works well in Cincinnati. It works. It just costs a lot to heat. The heat pump works well – up to a point. When it gets too cold the system switches to “auxiliary heat.” That can be propane, but my house doesn’t have it, so it turns on electric resistive coils.

    It isn’t bad as long as I am here to stoke the fireplace (which is why I bought a Swedish insert). But a trip away from the cold, still requires that the house gets heated.

    Still I wouldn’t move back onto a city lot, where you can’t sit in your own back yard without having to deal with people. I just love the privacy.


    • Propane is OK by me. We own this tank here, but a lot of people rent or lease. We had electric heat in the damn CEILINGS (special radiant sheetrock panels) down in the Bay, one month before we figured it out, it was $900. We turned it off. That home was built at a time when we were ALL gonna run our houses on Nuclear Energy for pennies a month… Then came late 70’s Big Hair bands and 3-Mile Island and the anti-nuke live-small kill-yourself “Diet for a Small Planet” (did they ever go outside? srsly?) hippies and eco-warriors and their daddy-lawyers – and they shut-down the entire West Coast cheap power-program.
      But I would much rather cook with gas than electric, it just makes such a much-better glaze and carmelization. And do NOT move into a city-lot. 🙂


    • “..The heat pump works well – up to a point. When it gets too cold the system switches to “auxiliary heat.”


      I can’t say it loud or often enough.

      These systems work really well if you only need to push the heat/cooling curve around a reasonable amount and the ambient temperature is somewhere close to the median of your degree-day area, otherwise, the system can’t push the outside coil to a cold enough temperature to create a differential so that the interior coil can put off heat.

      Me, I don’t care for them at all, since the weather here is almost always contemptable in some way, and I REALLY need to heat the place when it’s below zero for days or even weeks at a time.


    • Have noticed only a few homes with heat-pumps. Between 110-degree summer days and the snow-line, the extremes here can be pretty extreme, *California is really mostly desert – and sometimes a pine-forest desert!* and that may push that envelope too far.


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