Reminiscing farm life from my previous posts took me on a surreal trip to memory lane to living off grid in the mountains of Puerto Rico. Life was pretty sweet back then, the hard work on the farm added to the value. I’d like to talk about the set up we had out there as most people are not familiar with off-grid living. I mentioned I did some jobs for a plumbing company in Brentwood, TN before I went to the island and wish I had paid more attention to actually setting up a basic kitchen plumbing system. Most of what I did was the grunt work such as prepping supplies and routing out piping areas. Today a lot of power tools are battery charged such as routers, circular saws, band saws, drills, and so forth. With solar power on the farm, we could have done some serious work with basic power tools, however most of the work we did was with hand tools.
So lets start off by going over the plumbing system we had on property which was very effective. Primitive plumbing systems often use the force of gravity and other natural forces to push water towards the desired location. This is exactly how Reinaldo set up his indoor and outdoor plumbing. Where we were situated was just beneath a river a little higher up in the mountains called the Rio Tanama. This allowed for everyone in are area to run water lines to their property for water tank storage. Most of the community members had at least a 250 gallon storage tank. Reinaldo invested in two 400 gallon tanks but only utilized one as it would quickly fill up with a simple valve from the hose.
Now this is when the plumbing set up was a bit difficult to maintain. From the storage water tank he had a hose running a few hundred yards alongside the mountain following the river. There was a small pool where the water did flow as much and this is where he fixed a water filter attached to the hose. Every so often the filter would get clogged and or need to be replaced. This difficult part was trying to find leaks in the hose when pressure was low back on the property. The forest and low canopy tends to take over everything within a few weeks of cutting it back, making is very difficult to follow the hose back through the forest in order to locate a leak. We also used machetes to cut back areas when cultivating new land to grow crops so every so often we would knick or slice through the water hose. Most of the time, Reinaldo would have the kitchen and shower plumbing hooked up directly to the river bypassing the storage tank so when a hose was cut, someone would quickly let us know. Rey’s wife was usually either prepping food in the kitchen or playing with the children around the house. The water was always being utilized for something. A hose leak was a major breakdown on the property so fixing a leak always become top priority when we had one.
More to come very soon!