There is constant progress on the new house – every day we’re doing something different.  Or, more, my Dad is, with a bit of our help.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow we deal(t) with some pretty big issues – basement water, Cistern, and Septic.

Our home is probably between 110-180 years old.  I think it’s really neat to have an old home, but it comes with lots of interesting twists and turns…

The black hole which is...

We have a Cistern for water.  A Cistern is basically a large holding tank for water that sits in the ground.  People who live in the country often use well water or natural spring water or they have cisterns (or a combination of some or all of these).  We have connections to a local well as well as a cistern.  This is still all Chinese to me.  I’m a city girl.  I’m used to taps – – they just turn on.  Water was never really something I thought much about, but that’s changing drastically now.  Our water was completely contaminated with E Coli and various other scary-named bacteria.  So, today, Adam’s Plumbing came and did a full out drain, shock, and cleaning and servicing of our Cistern, filter, UV lights, etc.

We found out through the process that our Cistern only holds about 1,000 gallons.  Which sounds like a lot – but, the average Cistern, apparently, holds about 4,000-5,000.  So, water has just become a precious commodity to us.  Sure, we can have it filled as much as we want with fresh, clean water – but it will cost us.  About $90.  Every time.

Now, I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit.  Because I like hot showers.  And baths.  And I like to use a dishwasher, and run water when I do dishes.  And we often let the kids play in the water and have full-to-the-brim bubble baths.  But I’ve also felt very guilty about my water consumption lately.  Just being in touch with people on the other side of the world that view pure, safe water as something precious and rare, will put things into perspective pretty quickly.  We take our water for granted in North America.  We just expect it to be there.  And it is.  Nearly 1 billion people do not have access to clean drinking water on this earth.  And yet, we frivolously water our grass and wash our cars with more clean water than some children have ever been able to drink in their whole life.  It just doesn’t make sense.

Perhaps conserving water and treating it with respect isn’t such an awful life lesson.  Perhaps we may choose to stay with the smaller Cistern and truly live being more aware of our resources than most people need to be.  So, we’re forgoing buying a dishwasher and planning to label cups, plates, etc. and re-use dishes throughout the day to minimize dirty dishes.  We also bought a purified water machine to use for drinking and cooking water to help with the cost (we can fill it weekly for about $5).

Now, if only it were safe to take water from the stream we have flowing in our basement and re-route it to fill the Cistern… that’d really be something!  But I guess that’s frowned upon – the basement specialist nearly fell over when I jokingly suggested it. HA!

A bit of history – when we bought the house, we knew we had somewhat of a basement “issue”.  In fact, there truly is a small flowing stream down there – no lie.  We could give the kids buckets and they could go to town!  So, we are completely water-proofing the basement and refinishing 1/2 of it.  I’ll post pics when the job gets done in a couple weeks.

Alex helps on the dig to find the top of the enclosed Septic Tank...

As for the Septic System – oh the fun!  We also knew before we bought our house, that the Septic System would need to be replaced, and soon.  For those of you who are City ‘Folk, like me, Septic Systems are what Country ‘Folk (which I’ll eventually be) use to get rid of water waste, sewage, etc.  It’s a completely in-ground system, that, if cared for properly (ie: not putting the wrong things down toilets and sinks) should last a long time and work flawlessly.  Ours is estimated to be at least 50 years old and has been abused badly.  The leaching bed is shot and the smell of sewage can seep up in the grass where the bed lies.  (All part of buying a complete fixer-upper!).  For now, we’re pumping it (you can pump the tanks to help the system run a bit smoother) and we are in plans to have the entire system replaced in the next month and if not, then in the spring.  The cost (for those of you who are nosy like me!) is anywhere from $8,000-$25,000 depending on soil and space.  Ouch.

And so, the saga continues!

Still to come this week – Insulation quotes, painting, more kitchen work, and Electrical plans!  Oh, and sleep.  Maybe.

Thanks for reading…. here are some pics from this week.


Real INSULATION in the kitchen wall - the only insulation in the house so far, yippee! 😉


Fun with a bonfire - the joys of the outdoors! We love it! (Notice my safety-rock line?)