March 22 is World Water Day, and I thought it would be fitting to explain how the water on our farm works…it took me a long time to understand just how amazing our system is, and I am excited to try to explain it to all of you.
First of all, let me start with a disclaimer: I don’t really know the proper terms for what I’m trying to explain, so although my wording may be off, just hang with me. I’m not an expert, by any stretch of the imagination. I’m simply a farmer, a farm wife, a mom, trying to share a really cool piece of information. If you have questions, I certainly can attempt to answer, or better yet, find someone who can answer them!
That being said, let me tell you about the water that provides for our family, heats our home, heats our shop AND waters our cattle…all at the same time.
We are fortunate to have a third-flow artesian well. That means that our water comes from deep within the ground. It is very hard water, but it’s an amazing source. We have done all that we can to ensure that our resource is not wasted, so we use it for many, many things.
When the well brings up the water, the first thing that many people comment on is that the water is warm. It comes out of the ground at about 72* F. No, I’m not kidding. When my kids have water fights in the summer, it’s almost like having a water fight with bath water. The biggest problem? You will never get a cold glass of water out of the tap. Ever.
Our well water actually heats our home. If you understand the wonders of heating systems, we have a heat pump (if you’re really interested in learning more, you can read about it from Wikipedia here). Basically, the heat from the water is transferred and forced through our house in the heating system. It’s a wonderful source of heat, and we never have to worry about propane, fuel oil, etc. The only downfall is that occasionally the system can be overtaxed, and can’t keep up (imagine when it’s -30* outside and 40 mph winds). We do have an emergency electrical backup heating system, but rarely need to use it.
The water not only is used to quench our thirst and heat our home, but then it makes it way to our shop floor, running through the coils in the cement, heating the shop to a balmy 42* in the dead of winter. It may not seem like much, but it’s an amazing improvement from the cold temps outside. Boss Man did put in a small furnace, to help keep the place warm when the big doors need to be opened several times a day.
So where does it go once it’s heated the shop? Well, we’re not done quite yet. The water then is piped down to our barn area, where it fills our water tanks and keeps our cattle satisfied. And remember the temperature that the water comes out of the ground at? Guess whose water tanks rarely ever freeze up? The continual flow of water keeps things running smoothly…well, most of the time.
And at the end? The water goes to a series of tanks, and eventually returns back to the earth…in the same condition it began.
An amazing cycle, indeed. And every day I am so very grateful for such an amazing gift!