Tag Archives: Linneus

Challenges of Solar Water Pump

THis entry will serve two-fold; one as a page in the handbook i’m assembling about my little Tannachton Farm  – not the day to day stuff, but the month to month stuff that happens each year, and secondly to address the questions received about the details about the solar pump used on my farm.  It’s been 5 years now in use and i guess the gremlins are chased out because it is working great this year – i do hope i didn’t just jinx it!

All of the pipe and tanks on the solar system are laid out on top the ground; not buried 4 feet.  Why?  When i applied for and received an EQIP organic transition NRCS government aid that was/is the protocol.

Water pipe:  black polyethylene HDPE 1.5 inch pipe purchased in 500 foot rolls.  So, i unrolled (by hand!) about 4500 feet of 1 1/2 inch HDPE black pipe over that top of the ground to the stock tanks.  The pipe is connected using Philmac fittings of the same diameter.  The use of 1.5 inch pipe eliminates a great deal of friction.  Build drive over uprights to eliminate heavy vehicles driving over pipes in gateways. imageimage

Water tanks:  10 galvanised tanks purchased from Hastings Equity Manufacturing in Nebraska.  I needed high volume tanks because of the number of animals i would be watering and i like a low profile because not only did i plan sheep at the time, but i also want my baby calves to drink – and they do.   A 2-3 foot tall tank will not allow a calf to drink for many months (because it’s not always full).  So, i went with a Hastings sheep water tank that is 8 foot diameter, one foot tall and is lightweight enough for me to move around by myself plus it holds 342 gallons of water!  Well, realistically 300, but that’s still a good amount of storage.  I have 10 of these tanks in use with no problems so far in 5 years.

The technical stuff:  It’s a Dankoff Solar pump.  Pumping through 4500 feet of HDPE pipe which are connected with Philmac fittings.   The pump house was built by MSF Farm Mike and Jeff Fries, Linneus MO.  They also assembled all the pump and installed it inside the house and attached and wired the solar panel to the top of the house to make a seamless, easy to use and move system.  To install all the workings, they also dug out to my pond drain pipe and tied into the pond and set up the shut off valves for that as well.  It was a big job.  As an aside, they also installed the solar panel on a tall pole for my electric fence.

Initially, there was one battery installed, but that is absolutely not enough.  I’m using two now and that is fine unless there is a long period of no light.  With two batteries, the pump will continue for a theoretical 90 minutes before the batteries are drained.  Once the batteries are drained, they will NOT recharge and allow the system to start again once the sun starts shining.  They must be at least a little charged before the solar panel will charge them again.  This is a protection of the system so that the pump won’t keep trying to kick on every time there is a hint of sunshine.  In my opinion, there should be a way to keep the battery from completely draining, then a meter that only allow the pump to start again when the batteries are fully charged.  So, what happens when the batteries are completely drained?  I have to undo the connections and load them into my Gator and haul them home to a charger, charge them overnight, then take them back and hook back up.  Perhaps not a big deal to most, but those batteries weigh at least 50 lbs each.

However, this year, once i got it all going, i’ve had no shut down now for over a month.  Very happy.

Elevation:  the solar pump, panel, pressure tank, and housing are all located below the pond at about 817 feet above sea level.  There seems to be little loss of pressure to the furthest point of 3480 feet undulating between 817 and 874.

Water Line Elevation
The pale purple line is the one the elevation profile outlines – the solar pump at the base of the pond is the starting point.

My system is all fair weather and above ground.  This means that i wait until there is no freezing in the forecast before firing it up.

Spring preparation:

  1. replace plugs in tanks
  2. replace plug in water filter
  3. Install batteries and connections
  4. Wash off solar panel
  5. Remove any wasp nests from inside enclosure
  6. Make sure ground wire is in place
  7. Turn on water at pond to make sure good flow, then turn off.
  8. Connect pipe to pond outlet and flush, then connect to inlet valve
  9. Turn on pond water, water will come out outflow valve – you will get wet
  10. Connect outgoing pipe to outflow valve
  11. If there are no leaks in the system, at this point just keep moving down the line as water flushes out the pipe and reconnect at each connection.  It is important to flush the lines because i can guarantee there will be some mud and mice which have built homes in the line over the winter.
  12. Finally, flushing out the end of the line before connecting to tank float assembly.  Connect and allow tank to fill.
  13. Just about guarantee that the tank will not be level, so you will have to watch it fill and make any float adjustments.  If it cannot be kept from leaking over the side, shut off water valve at the tank.  Either drain the tank (oh yeah, be sure to put the plug in the tank before filling) via tank plug or leaving it for the cattle to drink down.  Use a 2×4 or some such to level the tank.

 

If the solar supply cannot be checked everyday,  always let the cattle have access to a gravity fed water supply below a pond or to the ditch if there is water running there.  When the weather gets hot, the cattle cannot be allowed to be without water.  If this does happen, let them into a pond lot so they can all drink at once.  Be vigilant and thoughtful as to water supply.

Fall shut down and drain: BEFORE freezing weather arrives

  1. Unplug the pump, shut off solar panel access, place arm in ‘off’ position
  2. Shut off water from pond
  3. Remove pipe from shut off valve
  4. Using channel lock pliers or some such, remove large nut from the bottom of the water filter
  5. At this point, walk outside the gated enclosure, then to the north and find the connection.  Remove it using two channel lock pliers.  You will get wet, but once detached, quickly pull the pipe towards the ditch to the east.  Water from all the pipe will come rushing out!
  6. While that is happening, go back to the pump and remove outflow and inflow pipes from fittings.  Making sure there is no freeze points.  Remove plugs from tanks as indicated and make sure they drain.
  7. Remove connections from batteries and take the batteries home to a warm place.  Don’t allow a discharged battery to freeze.  They can discharge in the winter without you knowing.

 

 

Solar Water System 2014 (8)
The little trailer is all set and hooked up to the water system.  Solar panel on top is 550 watts and available as part of this system that Mike Fries, Linneus, MO builds.   My panel is set below a pond with the bank to the west.  This means that sunlight in the fall can be very iffy in the late afternoons.  Consider shutting it down as needed.
2014 (2)
Another view of the trailer.  The pump does not fill this pictured tank; it is fed by gravity flow from the pond above.
Solar Water System 2014 (5)
Very handy – nay, imperative, to have quick coupler with individual shut off at each tank.  This allows for flushing of the line all the way to the tank and also allowing the ability to shut off the tank when not in use.  This assembly easily screws into the Philmac 1.5 inch female adapter.
Solar Water System 2014 (3)
Nice flow through the valve – flushing and checking before quick coupling to the hose to the float assembly in the tank.
Solar Water System 2014 (6)
Full flow fill through pipe and into tank makes for 6-7 gallon fill per minute.  Float arm and tank assembly all put together by MSF Farm, Linneus, MO.
Solar Water System 2014 (10)
Morningstar TriStar Solar Controller
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I keep a photo of the wiring configuration inside the pump house because i can’t remember from year to year how to wire it up properly!  Good grief – the battery recommends ‘team lifting’!  Where am i going to get a team?  I gotta pack that sucker myself up, out and around, and lift into the Gator.

 

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Dankoff Solar Pump from MSF Farm

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Flotec pressure tank

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All the above photos are the insides and working parts – MSF Farm will put this all together for you based on your own situation.

Now that I’m done writing up this entry, my system is down. 😦  It seems calves hit the fence near a tank which allowed them to bump the float and the water was overflowing which caused the  batteries to be drawn down – yup, i’ve got them in the back of the Gator, brought home, and now charging.

Such is life!

Cheers

tauna

Green Hills Farm Project

Started in 1988, Green Hills Farm Project is non-profit, family-oriented, sustainable agriculture group of like-minded farmer families who support each other in sometimes crazy ideas.  Each month, we meet with a potluck and farm tour at members’ farms and ranches and once annually with an invited guest speaker.  This year on 4 March, we welcome Jim Gerrish, world renowned grazing expert,  back to his old stomping grounds at FSRC (Forage Systems Research Center) at Linneus, MO to share his unique perspective with a presentation entitled, “Grazing Around the World.”

Join us on Green Hills Farm Project Facebook page for upcoming events!

Here is your invitation!  (GHFP meetings and farm walks are open to the world)

Jim Gerrish, author of Management-Intensive Grazing – The Grassroots of Grass Farming and Kick the Hay Habit – A Practical Guide to Year-Around Grazing, is our guest speaker at the Green Hills Farm Project annual winter seminar March 4, 2017 At FSRC (Forage Systems Research Center, Linneus, MO). Known world wide as an expert in management-intensive grazing systems, Jim is also available for private consultation. Today’s seminar “Grazing Around the World” will be exciting insight into grazing management in many different climates and cultures from Jim and his wife, Dawn’s, personal experience. American GrazingLands Services, LLC.  Jim and Dawn now reside near May, Idaho.american-grazing-lands-pasture-walk-jim-gerrish

This annual seminar has a cost of $30 per family and will include a one year membership to Green Hills Farm Project. Please bring a potluck/carry in dish for lunch. More information contact Allen Powell at 660.412.2001 or myself (tauna) – taunapowell@gmail.com

Hope Ya’ll Can Come!!

Cheers

tauna

 

 

 

County Rest Home Provides Shelter for Many Oldsters

Here is an article written by Lena Green Rogers and published in the July 28, 1953 edition (Volume LXX, No. 59) of the Daily News-Bulletin, Brookfield, MO about a rest home that was located about a mile west of Linneus, MO on Hwy B. Many of you may remember it as the Infirmary on Infirmary Hill.

Please share this story around and i want to encourage you to add stories and photos to the comments area of this blog.  It would be keen to gather more details of this historic, yet long-gone, institution which provided homes to many who had nowhere else to go.

Huge thank you to Tom Morris for having a copy of this article in his desk drawer! (i have, by and large, left the sentence structure and punctuation as it was published in the paper).  I plan to visit with his parents, Bill and Crystle Morris in the near future to collect more info.


A contract was signed on November 1, 1948 whereby the State of Missouri agreed to furnish financial aid to the homeless and aged of Linn County, providing the county, which retrained ownership, would still be responsible for the upkeep of the 28 acre tract of land and all buildings thereon.  Thus “the County Farm” sank into oblivion and the Linn County Rest Home, located one mile west of Linneus, Missouri, the county seat, came into being.

The patients are housed in a two-winged, grey stone building which contains ten private rooms, four wards, and five bathrooms, as well as a spacious dining room and ample kitchen space.  It was constructed in 1898 at a cost of $10,000.  However, at today’s prices its estimated value is $100,000.  (2015 dollars would be $879,446).

The superintendents, Mr. and Mrs. Vern Turner, are not strangers in this community as they once lived on a farm north of Brookfield.  They are the parents of four children.  That they are not amateurs in this great humanitarian work has already been proven.  They operated “the farm” three years previous to the state-county operation, which, this fall will make a total of eight years they have been there.  Certainly they merit the praise of every resident of the county.  Periodically they visit other similar institutions and compare methods.  They have sought and received much valuable information in the matter of handling border-line mental cases from the management of State Hospital No. 2, at St. Joseph, Missouri.  So far very few patients have become so unruly, they have had to be sent away from the rest home.

At the present time, fifteen women and sixteen men, whose ages range from 39 to 90 years, are being cared for.  Of that number , five are bed patients and two are sightless.  The oldest on record is a man who passed away in 1948 at the age of 95 years.

“I have the best group of women to be found anywhere,”  said Mrs, Turner, “they are just like children — will do anything I ask them to do.”

Those whose health will permit, assist in light tasks such as washing dishes, making beds, and preparing vegetables.  A great deal of canning is done.  The largest amount that was ever “put up” was in 1950 when 1400 quarts of fruits and vegetables awaited consumption — that winter.

Of the men, Mr. Turner said: Most of them are quite feeble. “They’d help if they could,” then after a pause he added this information, “as a group our patients are from fairly good families, and with one exception, they all have ‘next of kin.'”

Most of Them Keep Busy

That one exception is Charles Overjohn, who at one time was Brookfield’s beloved blacksmith.  But never let it be said he does not pay his way.  He is now 78, but continues to fire the not-too-good furnace with as much punctuality as he did when he started 28 years ago.  He likes to “figure,” too.

Last week he reminded Mrs. Turner that, at the present rate, she will have prepared 33,945 meals — just for the patients alone — by January 1, 1954.  No doubt he is right, because all except the bedridden have excellent appetites.  Practically all vegetables are raised in the farm’s two large gardens, five cows supply the dairy products.

The interest the Turners take in their “girls and boys” as they call their patients, is almost unbelievable.

For instance, after they took over, they burned every piece of old bedding in the place and replaced it with new which they purchased themselves.  And that isn’t all.  They purchased new dishes, towels, and table coverings.

Religious services, while always welcomed by the superintendents, are not held with any regularity with the exception of The Assembly of God, of Bucklin, Missouri, which sends a group out twice a month.  Occasionally, a group of entertainers breaks the monotony.

Because of the lack of help and the many duties pertaining to health, food, and shelter, birthdays are only celebrated by the addition of some special tidbit.

Speaking of health, four times each year a nurse from the state health department accompanies the state inspector to the home and all cases are reviewed.  If any changes are indicated their instructions are carried out to the letter.  Other than that, all medical attention is in the competent hands of Dr. Roy Haley, of Brookfield, the Home’s physician.  He responds readily whenever he is needed.

Life Has Lighter Side

Primarily, the Home is a place of shelter, but there is also a lighter side of life for those forgotten men and women, who, due to their own personalities, enliven things  One patient, who weighs only 90 pounds is a Czechoslovakian.  She speaks English fluently except when she is visited by her relatives.  Then she rattles away in her native tongue and immediately puts on a “swing your partner” dance for which in her day she always used to capture first prize.

Another woman patient, claims the privilege of helping unload the supply truck on its arrival from town, but last week she was stymied.  Before the attendant could stop her she had broken the seal on a can of condensed buttermilk.  After rubbing her face and hands with it, she put some of it to her nose and said: “Golly, I don’t know what that stuff is!”

Life’s ebb and flow determines the number to be cared for, naturally.  A little over a year ago two extra beds had to be set up to accommodate the number seeking admittance, but right now the home is not filled to capacity.  The superintendents have the say-so as to whom shall be taken in, but, so far, they have never refused to admit anyone who has no other home to which he can go.

Visitors are always welcome on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons from one to five o’clock.

The guest register (which Mr. Turner calls his hobby) now contains over 8000 names.  Among last year’s 972 signers was a young man from Venezuela and a woman from India.

Yes, you may make a gift to those unfortunate people, such as candy, fruit, or cakes.  Many are received each month from individuals and organizations alike and all are highly appreciated.

Useable clothing is always in demand, but lawn chairs and benches and rocking chairs are especially needed at this particular time.

The inmates of the home are only children of yesterday who have “come to the end of the end of the long, long road,” Do not forget them!

And to those of you to whom life has been kind, I recall to your minds the words of a well-known hymn…. “Count Your Blessings, Name Them One By One.”


Notes:

Mrs Vern Turner is Nellie Stevenson

Their four children are:

Crystle Turner Morris
Bill Turner (deceased)         twin brother, Bob also deceased
Donald Turner

The Sixth Day

Nearly here – weekly shabbat – so thankful our Creator made such for us.  Of all the 10 commandments, the fourth one is relatively easy to keep (remember) in our culture.  I’m tired!  Lack of sleep from allergies and just the constant fighting it makes my body exhausted all the time.  Keeps me from being productive to be sure.

Eleven cows of the seventeen selected have been recorded in standing heat as of 6pm today.  There are a more who are shoving and being restless, so they will likely come in sometime before tomorrow.

Other than going to town to pickup kleenexes, drop of some papers at NRCS, swing by the bank for a quick visit with Tom Morris about his grandparents being the last caretakers of the Linn County Rest Home, located just a mile west of Linneus on Infirmary Hill, then to Twin Oaks Produce for a handful of groceries.  Had a nice visit with Fran Graff, whose daughter is also teaching in Dubai, though at a different school than our daughter.

Rick continues to take care of my cows on the farm north and west of Purdin – It will another month before I can stay outside for more than a few minutes at a time.  Will my cows forget me!?

Shabbat Shalom!

tauna

Unrolling Hay

Bitterly cold today and with ground frozen hard, the best job for today is to unroll hay for grazing.  The plan is to strip graze it for the remainder of the winter.  This will add considerable organic matter to the soil. When the cattle and sheep have cleaned up the hay and pooped all over the paddock, I’ll broadcast legumes and grass seeds over the area.  Hopefully, i’ll have a chance to unroll more hay over the top for grazing, but our weather is so unpredictable that that is not a certainly.  I may just walk the cattle around on the area to encourage seed to soil contact, then graze it occasionally as the original grasses grow.  Once the new grasses take hold and grow (all depends on the weather), then the livestock will not have access for about 60 days for full growth.  Sure hope it all works.

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Looking back to load and unload.
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Controls for the Hydra Bed
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Two hay bales loaded for moving. Each weighing about 1700 lbs.
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Unloading.
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Slicing through the net wrap with a box knife.
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Pulling off the net wrap in preparation for unrolling.
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Threw the wraps for 32 bales in the front so they wouldn’t get in the way of hauling hay.
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Downtown Linneus, Missouri
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Should have left just a little bit earlier. No problems, though, just locked into four wheel drive and kept to about 40 mph. About a 25-30 minute drive home.
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My office view today!