The exciting news from the Ozarks this week is that author Joyce Morris has asked me to co-teach two one-day gardening workshops with her. One will be here in Missouri at lovely Elkland Independent Methodist Church north of Springfield on April 12. The other will be April 19 near Pueblo, Colorado.
The workshops will go beyond basic gardening and teach attendees to feed themselves nutritiously from their gardens year round. Because we live and garden in different climates, we’ll present a range of growing and storage techniques.
Joyce will share her research findings on the problems with mainstream store produce (including organic), industrial farming, monoculture growing and incorrect intent.
A highlight will be Joyce’s presentation on plants’ communication/response abilities. That’s right. Plants can read our minds. So, think good thoughts when you’re with them. Actually, I’ve found it impossible to be in a bad mood while in the garden or out in nature.
On a mini field trip, Joyce will show us how to connect with nature and help plants give us what we need through intentional gardening. She’ll explain Hopi planting ceremonies and how the Hopi grew food in a barren desert by spitting on seeds.
We’ll also have demonstrations and instruction on preserving the harvest, composting, raising worms, deterring pests naturally, saving seeds, no-till gardening, using rain barrels and so much more than I can possibly list here.
Because neighbors are an excellent source of gardening tips, we’ll allow plenty of time for group interaction. Most of my best gardening advice through the years has come from neighbors, not gardening books – although we will have a list of our favorites you may want to read.
Participants will go home with free goodies including basic plans to build your own cold frame and greenhouse of salvaged materials (no plastic), flower seeds to attract beneficial critters, and resource materials.
Joyce Morris lives in Colorado and works with husband, Ben, to create sustainable lifestyle solutions and demonstrations. Joyce’s years of traditional gardening eventually evolved into a method of co-creating the garden with Nature using Nature’s own timeless methods. In her spare time Joyce is an author and teacher of how to consciously apply our natural and generally unconscious creator function.
Linda Holliday lives in the Missouri Ozarks where she and her husband formed Well WaterBoy Products, a company devoted to helping people live more self-sufficiently off grid, and invented the WaterBuck Pump. A former newspaper editor and reporter, Holliday blogs for Mother Earth News, and several survival websites, sharing her skills in modern homesteading, organic gardening and human-powered devices. She has gardened most of her life, from Wisconsin and Minnesota to Virginia and Missouri.
Do you need a high-performance, commercial-grade manual well pump for your home or business? Are you considering going off-grid? Do you have a water backup system that is not easily affected by storms, electronic failure and fuel or parts shortages? Can you repair it yourself or does it require skilled technicians? Will you be able maintain your solar pump system or generator during an economic collapse?
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“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed
is always to try just one more time.” Thomas A. Edison
When I first set out to design and build a much better hand pump than any currently known, I had no idea what the outcome would be. I just hoped for a better hand pump.
I could have purchased a fancy, high-tech deep-well pump with traditional mechanics, but it takes a strong, fit man to operate one of those. Or I could have bought one of the other high-tech pumps that are easier to use. It’s easier because you’re lifting much less water per stroke through a smaller cylinder. But, in reality, I would have ended up with an expensive deep-well squirt gun that would only be good for short-term use. I needed something for the long term, a good ol’ human-powered water-pumping machine to supply the demand without great effort.
My first thoughts were that if man could design and build water-pumping windmills – a machine capable of pumping high volumes of water from shallow wells and practical amounts from deeper wells with wind power – surely we can make a machine that could do the same under human power.
I first looked at the basic mechanics of common hand pumps ― a lever and fulcrum. The design limits the stroke length and the leverage that can be practically created, limiting the cylinder size that can be operated. There is no potential advancement here, I thought, so I needed to think outside the box and much bigger to achieve a greater goal.
Instead, I installed a common 4” windmill pump cylinder with a longer stroke in my well. I began to perceive from that point how to make a device that could operate that reciprocating pump cylinder efficiently and with greater volume. I asked a windmill professional for advice and told him what I was trying to do with this larger cylinder with an 80’ head pressure. He said I would never be able to pull up on the rod, that the force is too great under human power. His words were discouraging, but it was too late. I already had the cylinder in my well. I had no choice but to try.
When I first began operating the sucker rod up and down, I thought that old windmill man did not know what he was talking about. I felt relieved until the 2-inch drop pipe started filling with water. Each stroke became harder and harder until I couldn’t pull up any more. Yet no water had reached the surface. (This prototype was embarrassing – a device that moves up and down with counterweights.)
I thought I would just add more weights. After adding a few hundred pounds, I achieved reciprocation. But after looking closely, I realized the drop pipe and well seal were moving together up and down. The pump rod didn’t budge. (The tightened well sell and drop pipe came right up with the sucker rod.) I bolted down and re tightened the well seal and tried again. The well seal stayed in place, but the drop pipe slowly slipped up through the well seal. The pump rod still didn’t budge. It wasn’t practically anyway, so I went back to the drawing board with the words of the windmill professional haunting me for the next few months of trial and error.
After learning more about the intense load that rested within the large pump cylinder (at the current application), I realized I not only needed a water pump, but I also needed a jack to lift the load. So, I set out to design and build a water well pump jack. The first important step was to secure the well seal and drop pipe to the well head.
I also remembered what a professional well driller wrote to me: “My thoughts are you may be trying to reinvent the wheel. I would have thought in 150 years of building hand pumps and windmills, the best possible combinations would have already been thought of, but I certainly appreciate the fact that you’re looking to improve on this. Who knows, you may just come up with something, or you will come to the same conclusions that the rest of the industry has in 150 years of building them.”
I chose to focus on the positive.
When I reached 6 GPM with 18 strokes (at the same application) with the third prototype, I knew then that I had definitely come up with something. I didn’t stop there, but improved the capacity to 17.5 GPM with about 20 strokes. We will continue to testing the peak performance of the WaterBuck Pump (patent pending) – a manually operated pump jack.
Current pump cylinder specifications— 4”, 16” stroke, 0.87 gallons per stroke. More than 5 gallons of water is delivered with just 6 strokes.
Video: Performance with 80′ head: With the enhanced mechanics, a 1 minute sprint by a man in his 50s yielded 17.5 gallons and 9.5 gal in 30 seconds. With the previous mechanics, the yield was 13.5 gallons in 1 minute and 7 gal in 30 seconds. Same operator filled a 55-gallon barrel non-stop in 6 minutes, 45 seconds. Please see “WaterBuck Performance”
New Record For The WaterBuck Pump: 07/21/14, 22 gallons in one minute
However, it is motorized. What is unique about our manually operated pump jack compared to the most commonly used motorized version is it not only exceeds the lift and peak performance of a 12’ water pumping windmill in GPM, it easily exceeds the performance of the motorized version. They are not designed to operate a 4” reciprocating pump cylinder.