This isn’t one of my usual posts about food preparation or harvesting and preserving garden produce. It’s more about day to day country living.
Where we live in North Carolina, winters are relatively mild compared to the northern states and Canada. We do get a few cold snaps of subfreezing temperatures and even an occasional snowfall, but our major winter weather events are more often freezing rain / ice storms. A layer of ice builds up on everything including power lines and branches and twigs. The weight of the ice can become heavy enough to snap power lines and bring down branches and trees resulting in power outages that can last days and even weeks.
Other than ice storms, electrical power is sometimes interrupted by tornados and hurricanes. In the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo in 1989 we were left without power and water for 2 entire weeks.
Living, as we do, out in the countryside, our well is the only source of water. During an electricity outage we no longer have running water. Although we always keep many gallons of water stored for such times I have always wished I had a way to get water out of the well that doesn’t require electricity. One quickly becomes aware of what a valuable commodity water is when it becomes scarce. Bathing, flushing toilets, washing dishes, let alone cooking and drinking requires a lot of water, and many gallons of stored water can be depleted in a hurry.
I have looked into installing a permanent hand pump and would like to do that at some point, but meanwhile I wanted a cheaper, simpler solution for extracting small amounts of emergency water from our well. An internet search led me to a tutorial on making a simple inexpensive hand pump (https://growandtell.wordpress.com/2010/06/05/ez-diy-hand-pump/).
I have assembled this simple contraption which employs 2 brass check valves that move water in only one direction and is operated by a hand driven plunger / piston that alternately creates suction and pressure. A pulling motion on the piston sucks water out of the well into the pump and a pushing motion forces the water out the other end. I still need to purchase enough tubing to reach down to the water table before I can try it out, but I am confident it will work.