The Basics

Yep. Back to the basics again. The water system again. It needs some attention or, better put, we need some water.

Well, that is NOT QUITE true – we have water. The water is currently trickling into the tanks at a rate that keeps us clean and hydrated but it is not really enough to fill a swimming pool, ya know? Our cisterns do not runneth over. I figure the flow rate at about 5 – 10 gallons per hour. That’s much reduced from something usually around 30 or 40 or more.

It could just be the system in general. It’s old. It is almost twenty years old and consists primarily of a kilometer of one-inch pipe running by just gravity from an upper source to our cistern. It’s black plastic 100 foot lengths joined with barb joiners or valves. And it just lays on the ground (over the years it has kind of buried itself). Animals occasionally chew it, a tree sometimes falls on it, one time a loose boulder crushed a section. It is NOT a robust system. But it works. Mostly. Thanks to Sal.

Of course it also freezes now and again. Typically, just at a ball valve or a barb-joiner. We likely replace and refit a dozen pieces a year. The rest of the pipe seems to weather the cold better but once in a while, we’ll discover a slit-crack in the pipe that gave up so the whole of the system is vulnerable. Just the ‘hardware’ is a bit more so.

We’d been out of water for almost a month during the cold snap but our cisterns were full so we ‘let it go’. The other day, the tanks were low and Sal and the dogs went for a reconnoitre. It was not all good news. Quite a few leaks. Different kinds. Cracked valves, broken joiners, some pipe splits and even a few random holes. Sal got on ’em right away. After three short work days, she still has a few to chase down but the main culprit seems to be a large fir tree that fell in an awkward spot and on top of the pipe. The pipe could be half-crushed. I’m gonna have to go up the creek and buck it up. January. Creek. Bucking in the rain. Damn.

But that’s the basics, for ya.

And then ya got yer gasoline for the genset. We have pounded through the fuel this winter. Probably 100 gallons and still pounding. Gotta get us some more of that stuff in. But that’s OK. It’s only money and the slow killing of the planet. We can do that.

Food is good. Kinda. We got some, anyway. Should be fine. But, damn, the food ordering delivery system is just not working out like I want it to. Well, actually the system is…it is the food that is not. The produce we get is so bad that dumpster produce is better. Last bag of potatoes, the bottom half was rotten. Lettuce is limp. Always something rotten amongst the greens. They are always ‘shorting us’ on something, too. Basics are not A+ right now.

“Geez, Dave! Y’all complaining about the basics!?”

Yes and no. I got to thinking about all the basics and what that means…to us it is basically what I just wrote about, food, water, fuel. But the ‘basics’ for most folks is a bit more complicated. Schools, roads, health care, police, insurance, communications, job, income stream. Housing! I mean the modern person has a lot of ‘basics’ to take care of. We don’t. Which is good because water is enough for us to deal with right now….

But then you got your airline system crashing, insurrectionists copy-catting in Brazil, 100% lying dogs getting elected (Santos), Bomb cyclones, floods and droughts at the same time! The war in Ukraine…good ol’ Covid and relatives gathering up steam…the dissipating Health Care system, the educational system for your kids, the cost of living….not a lot is going well these days.

The basics are getting pretty big, pretty complicated and pretty out of hand these days. Hard to take care of basics when they are all basically falling apart. Water and lettuce seem like the least of the things to worry about… we’re good.

25 thoughts on “The Basics

  1. Maybe time to start taking your nice boat down to HB for your produce. They do a good job, bit more money and the extra gas, but you are boating, enjoying the scenery and weather. Then a nice walk to the store, stop at the pub for lunch is an option!
    6 hours on the big genny, now onto the EU2000 for another 2-3 hrs. Will be good for another 6-7 days of quite. Wore my Sony WH 1000-X noise canceling headphones during the big genny run,


    • You are getting sooooo civilized….. I am thinking of pulling off the tarp of the John R and making a run at a Senora Ling, tho….that might be nice…..maybe I bring some ol’ codger along to show me where the fish are….is it even legal to fish right now?
      Sal wanted you to know that the buoys at R bay seem to be drifting closer to one another…zat possible?


  2. I have found that plastic irrigation pipes last about 20 years.
    The plastic becomes brittle and starts to split.
    several 100 meters of pipe replacement would suck.
    I guess a drilled well into the rock would be cost prohibitive.
    Any thoughts of a rain recovery cistern?
    Water filters and UV light to kill the bacteria?

    The complaints of the quality of produce and prices seems to be a universal one these days.
    Everyone seems to be complaining about the cost of food and the quality.
    I never remembered people complaining about food in the early 1980’s before the recession took hold.
    Everyone is angry.
    And all levels of govt are oblivious to the little people’s plight.
    This recession may be long and ugly.
    But the bureaucracy will keep their jobs.


    • 20 years, eh? Well, that is what it is looking like to me, too…. good to know….time to lay down another km of pipe, I guess. Damn. Good thing I got Sal. Sheesh.
      I thought that our regional grocery stores were just getting the last-gasp crap…so, you are saying that is the experience of y’all down in the centre of the universe, too? Might be time to invest a bit in making the greenhouse year ’round…..? Maybe I gotta get to work!
      I have to say that I am roundly displeased at what passes for government these days. Everywhere save New Zealand. Trudeau being the worst of a really deplorable bunch. But I sure do NOT see any bold, leading-visionary-type thinkers with a gang full of good ideas just champing at the bit….we jus’ don’t got no good leaders. Damn! And the timing isn’t good either….the ol’ USA of A is swirling around the toilet bowl. They are imploding in slo mo. Whacha gonna do….?


      • Yeah.
        The expensive food is everywhere.
        I was back on the East Coast of Canada for a funeral last week and the price of food was crazy.
        Everyone was complaining.

        As for plastic piping.
        The UV rays from the sun aren’t good for plastic.
        Direct sunlight will dry out and split plastic in 5 years.
        Exposed irrigation sprinkler heads will snap off like brittle bones when knocked.
        ( my annoying experiences as a property manager for 20 years)

        Trudeau is a self absorbed, mirror gazing buffoon.
        Other national leaders seem to lead either in front of his incompetent example or follow behind.
        Such is the bereft state of political leadership in the 21st century.

        Rich, arrogant, tone deaf men and women with the intellectual scope of a blindfolded, handcuffed, chimpanzee attempting copulation with an American football covered in vaseline….

        Lots of impressive sound……zero results.


        • Oh, and I almost forgot.
          Potatoes, garlic, onions, …..start growing em in a greenhouse and then move outside.

          Any issues with deer? Or do the wolves and cougars take care of that?


          • No deer near us. The peninsula we live on is cut off from the rest of the island by a huge rock bluff. The deer stay where the running is good and the orchards are full. No wolves either. No bears. No cougars. Travel by boat less than 100 yards and all the menagerie is there. We are just isolated enough…..


  3. Very true, Dave. One used to be able to rely on natural disasters being very localised, so when one area of the country had been hit, food producers in another region could step in to fill the gap. Sadly this is no longer the case.

    Public health is in crisis across the world. It is certainly very evident in our wealthy city. I was advised to go to ER if a particular set of circumstances presented itself. They did. I spent six hours waiting to see a doctor. I left when I was told there was another two hour wait. Decided I would be better off playing The Hunger Games to try and snag an appointment with my local doctor. Thankfully I managed to get an appointment. 4 week wait for general appointments and this is in the city. I don’t blame the ER triage nurse. She triaged me correctly. It was over the Christmas break, during another Covid wave. Also, I had a bit of an ache in my right arm a few days ago. My husband suggested I go to the ER. I would rather die. I had a few aches in other places too so I took a punt. Priorities, I guess. Some will wait 8 hours if they’ve got a sore throat. This problem won’t be fixed without money and people. You can understand why people get so vexed about immigration because while migrants appear to make up the bulk of our health workforce here, the gap between public health supply and demand only seems to be widening. Same re income equality.

    In Australia, we’ve got a lot of retirees swanning around the country. They have accumulated a lot of wealth due to outrageous tax concessions introduced by conservative governments and as a voting bloc it is easy to scare the hell out of them if they think their growing nest eggs and lifestyle may be threatened. Countless times I have heard the argument that they have paid tax their whole lives (clearly not true because they are living a lot longer and practically tax-free in retirement). Many feel they shouldn’t be required to pay capital gains or income tax on the wealth they have accumulated “with their own money”. I’m sorry I didn’t get in on that racket because this situation must change and it will. Eventually. It is unsustainable and unfair. It may take a while but unless we have toll roads to replace roads washed away in natural disasters and a complete user-pays system for other government essential services, disadvantaging many who can least afford it, Australia will be completely dysfunctional like some other countries you named. Anyway, I do go on. I am just envious. Thankfully, my new diabetes tech is now subsidised.

    Yeah, the big picture is not looking great. Thankfully you and Sal are in good health. That counts for a lot. Hopefully when we all drop off our perches, it will be really sudden. Until then, I plan to go to brunch a lot and be served by young people who are still living at home with their parents because they can’t afford to move out. At least, they will have the house to themselves when the parents are touring the country in their RVs. Damn, I don’t have an RV!

    Sounds like a new water pipe will be a good investment. PS. I hope you had a nice catch-up with your family.


      • Here’s what I am observing and, in a large way, it contradicts my usual lefty rhetoric. I am a pinko-greenie but will now speak with a right-wing slant (just a slant, not a change in direction). The problem to my mind is that power corrupts and any correction to that power inequality just seems to swing like a pendulum so that the shoe is now on the other foot and it resumes the kicking. Corruption just shifted sides. Today, there is no greater waste of money and resources in hospitals than nurses. They do not nurse like they used to. They have such a strong union, they just get fat and do nothing. They do not even help recently operated-on patients get to the washroom. They do not empty bedpans. They do not feed or monitor the patients improvement – they just record the data. They do not even do regular rounds. The reason: the nurses union got strong. Hugely so. They are now the tail that wags the dog. Second reason is procedural rigidity. A guy with a fractured arm being set requires the same full team to be present as does the guy who broke his finger. That’s ridiculous. Whatever shot you needed did not require that you wait six hours to get it. Gimme the syringe, roll up your sleeve and you are in and out in a minute. We have employed order, procedure and regulations to speed up service and the opposite is true. Common sense has left the institution.
        And, in order to save money, our local hospital has done away with the executive director. A committee of department heads runs the hospital. And do you think any one of those department heads will ever go into another department and criticize it? Not a chance.
        I have had enough personal and professional experience with trauma, burns, lesions, breaks and diseases that I treat myself 90% of the time. It is faster, easier, quicker and I monitor everything all the live-long day.
        Can the system be fixed? Easily. Will it be expensive? No. Already every fat nurse makes $100K a year for recording data and ignoring patient needs. Easiest way to fix a hospital is to fire 70% of the nurses and replace them with people who simply care enough to do the right thing. “Dave! You are wrong!” Maybe. But Sal’s own doctor didn’t trust the hospital nurses after the knee replacement and he came in every day to do what was needed doing. When we attended the physio lab on day three, I took one look at the deplorable lack of cleanliness and hired a private physio. We got out. But we both had contracted Covid while Sal was there, however. The doc was brilliant, the rest of the hospital was a disaster. AND that has been my experience with hospitals for these past 30 years. Great budgets, great science, poor work/service ethics.


        • Well, that is definitely not the case over here. Nurses do a damn good job, but there are simply not enough nurses to give everybody a proper treatment. In some hospitals, there is like 1 nurse for 30 patients, so there is not even enough time for basic care


          • Sad. Not enough bodies to do a good job or too fat to get up the stairs. Either way, bad performance. Our last two public health nurses were too heavy to walk up the hill! They were in their 30/40s going up to vaccinate the older 70+ folks who easily walked the hill. To be fair, maybe our nurses are stretched to thin, too…who knows? You never see them actually on the ward…..


        • The nurses are excellent in my experience. They run from one patient to another. I had to pee in a cup and then they put a test strip in it. I could have done that myself if they had just given me the test strip. But none of that happens until you get on the other side of the ER triage great swinging door. We have nurse-led walk in clinics. My friend works at one. but because I had this particular nasty bacterial infection twice in the last six months, both times during a major Covid wave, I wasn’t permitted to go back to that clinic. I had to see a real doctor. Turned out I was just reacting badly to the antibiotics. I’m so special. :/


          • Sounds like Aus nurses and Belgium nurses are generally good. That’s great. That is really great. A caring nurse is half the battle. Sadly, we seem to have another kind. Could it be me? Maybe. But my opinion is not an isolated one. Not here, anyway.


    • Interesting comments on the Australian Health Care system.
      My personal view from Canada.
      Its the same.
      A co worker in BC is on a “death watch” for her husband.
      He (was) is a former firefighter, electrician who worked almost his entire life for the local regional govt.
      Non smoker, casual drinker, exercised regularly, good shape, ate well….
      Generally lived a healthy lifestyle and is a low key, nice guy.

      He caught the flu in Nov.
      No big deal.
      1 week sick.
      2 weeks getting sicker.
      ( I suggest, “Maybe its pneumonia…”)
      What do I know….

      3 weeks really sick…no doctor…goes to the emergency at the local hospital.
      ER doctor says, “It’s just the flu. Take these antibiotics. If it gets worse. Come back.”

      4 weeks. Ambulance takes him to ER again because…he can’t breathe. He’s blue.
      ER doctors …crap their pants.
      His pneumonia has blood clots…….in his lungs, heart and kidneys.
      Heat failing, kidneys shutting down, Its bad. Really really bad.
      Blood thinners for the clots ,,,,start internal bleeding….

      They send him to a “real” hospital that has effective Intensive Care.
      Long story short.
      5 weeks in Intensive care.
      His heart is now shot, kidneys shot, lungs are getting better.
      He’s not getting better and because he’s “old” ( 59)
      He’s not a candidate for a heart transplant or a kidney transplant in BC.

      They are sending him home and giving him “palliative care”
      A nurse, once a day, will pop by to check on him.
      A death sentence.
      Oh and lets not forget our politically correct, WOKE, socialist leaning govt has now made it easier to……commit govt assisted suicide?
      Google….. Canada…… MAID.

      Our incompetent bureaucrats are their most effective.


      • A truly horrendous situation for your colleague and her husband. The terrible wait time in hospital ERs can lead to people not going to hospital when they should and lack of appropriate care when they do get there. By the time he got to hospital, Covid may well have cleared his system but still left him with multi-inflammatory syndrome. And of course, people do perish from pneumonia. You would hope that the ER doctor would have known that. Last winter we had lots of people coming down with Covid and flu at the same time.
        As for medically-assisted euthanasia, that is a very complicated issue. You would hope that there are a lot of safeguards in place to ensure that it is not abused. People who choose this option must genuinely believe that there is no other practical option to deal with their suffering, and for some this may be because of lack of accessible, good quality services. The latter is the real shame but that is just my opinion.


        • And, really, where is the logic in packing a pile of sick and broken people in one rarely cleaned emergency waiting room? Covid, anyone? That is a system that needs a major review.
          Regarding MAID….I have known several people who availed themselves of it and, so far, it all ‘felt’ right at the time to me. None of them were impulsive. All had terminal issues and had them for a considerable time. Like anything, we can abuse, misuse and corrupt something (we always seem to) but, so far, it seems OK to me.


  4. Where are the pictures? 2. What is the source? Spring? Creek? 3. Does the island have enough elevation to run a creek down to the top of your ridge? 4.I presume the ridge is the one you have to hike to and then down the other side to your boats. 5. How long a hike is that? 6. Are you, and the other 80+- residents solely dependent on rainwater? 7. We dug a well. Any wells on the island? Difficult to get a drill on to the island. . My response suggests boredom. Yes. Back OnTG does not provide much to do other than tv. Must keep busy. . Imagining your OTG utilities. . Conserve water. . Steve View Royal Capital Regional District . PS While looking today at compost toilet, $1700, and bargain 22 cu ft Unique propane fridge, $2900($2100 under Kamloops list) at Home Hardware in Duncan I met an OTG lady. She from your island but turns out Reid. .


  5. Noncon is right about the plastic piping, I am eve surprised they survived this long. UV from sunlight is a real killer for plastics. Will be a tough job if you have to replace a km of piping!
    But collecting rain water does not seem that bad an idea (there are really good filters and UV systems available). But then you would probably need again bigger cisterns to stock more water to survive dry periods.
    Food : in general, the situation in Belgium is not as bad as in your region. We have lots of (local) producers, and there is a renewed intrest for small scale local farming (bio), so with a little effort, we can find really decent food. BUT cost of the food has exploded (was already expensive even before Covid and Ukraine). Prices will again increase soon by at least 5 to 20%, because all the suppliers/producers need to compensate for inflation and higher production and distribution costs.
    So in general, no shortages but maybe unaffordable soon. I have started last year with a big greenhouse to grow some fruit and vegetables (tastes much better the the stuff you buy in the supermarkets), so expanding your vegetable garden might be a good idea
    Healthcare : in Belgium, we have 1 of the best healthcare systems in the world, but situation is also rapidly deteriorating fast (lack of doctors and nurses), so the healtcare system over here is also under a lot of pressure. Because of lack of trained nurses, whole floors of hospitals need to be shut down.
    My wife needs some urgent treatment from a fysiotherapist (nothing life threateningà. She called yesterday for an appointment, and first free slot was in 8 weeks (where she needs the treatment now)
    But if I hear stories from other European countries, we are still in a relatively good situation
    There was a story last week from UK, where a woman died at home becauseshe was waiting for an ambulace for 16 hours! Can you imagine that? You call 911 for an ambulance for a life threatening situation and you have to wait for like 16 hours?? Maybe you would expect something like this in a remote area (maybe Read Island), but not in a town in the UK
    Politicians : they don’t exist any more (not good ones anyway). There is no long term vision, systems are collapsing and nothing is done about it, so a long and hard recession is looming.

    PS : does this mean that now a visit to your place will require chopping wood AND helping out with laying 1 km of piping?


    • “Politicians : they don’t exist any more (not good ones anyway). There is no long term vision, systems are collapsing and nothing is done about it, so a long and hard recession is looming.”


      The only thing most politicians are good at when a situation requires a solution?
      Hire more govt bureaucrats.
      Spread the blame far and wide.


  6. I’ll address part of this bifurcated thread – the OTG part. The whole healthcare debacle is too complex for my pea brain.

    I too have no shortage of plastic pipe running through the woods. About 15 years old now. One section serves a shallow well, dug with a backhoe about 700 feet from the house. That well is only about 12 or so feet deep. Actually, we dug two such wells, about 20 feet apart. Hit solid bedrock and could go down no further. Still, they produce a lot of water except in late summer, when usually getting pretty low.

    The other line serves a well that’s maybe 1,300 feet from the house. Maybe more. That well was hand dug by some determined OTG type about 100 years ago. It is about 8 feet across and goes down more than 30 feet. I cannot imagine being down that far and looking up at the sky with earthen walls around you, threatening collapse at any moment. Maybe they used some kind of shoring, but I doubt it. That well never comes close to running dry. Those oldtimers knew their stuff, it seems.

    The backhoe-dug wells have 4-foot well rings set into them and 4-foot concrete caps with a smaller mid-section that can be lifted out. I thought of putting rings in the old well, but decided against it. It has obviously served nicely for decades and I might just muck it up, trying to “improve” it with rings.

    Above, steve questioned:

    6. Are you, and the other 80+- residents solely dependent on rainwater? 7. We dug a well. Any wells on the island? Difficult to get a drill on to the island. .

    I suppose we are wholly dependent on rainwater. It recharges whatever aquifers we have. Same for the lake here and many ponds. Lots of dug wells. All comes from rain. But then, it’s probable that the question was more aimed at eliciting a response as to whether locals use rainwater collection systems. Maybe some do. I am aware of none.

    As for getting a drill, no problem at all, with money. Experience has taught me that almost anything can be accomplished if you throw enough money at it. But, for most of us, that resource tends to have its limits.

    I had a well drilled on Pender Is. long ago. 175 feet down. A deep-well submersible pump brought the water to the surface and by pipe under the driveway into a pressure tank in the basement, 200 feet away. 15 gpm production. It worked nicely. I am sure that pump sucked electricity when working. Everything buried, so never froze.

    So, I thought any well had to be a drilled well, or bust. So, I brought a driller out to the OTG homestead. He said, sure, no problem. He explained that it would be up to me to have Inlet Navigation or one of those outfits get his rig onto the island, at my cost, of course. Once there, he said he would drill up to 200 feet for his basic price of $10,000. If we hit a good stream at 80 feet, the price was still 10k. If still dry by 200 feet, we had a choice: pull up and try a different location or keep drilling at $40 a foot until my money ran dry.

    I asked what would be the ancillary costs once we got water, assuming we did. I wanted some idea as to cost of pump, casing, etc. His answer was to wait and see until the well came in. I did not want to wait until I had already paid $10k, plus maybe a few thousand for transportation before finding out the cost of getting water we could use. My best guess at that time – 2007 – was the total cost would be about $20k. A friend with an excavator on the island said he could come onto the property and dig holes all day here and there on our 50 acres, all for a price of less than $2,000. So that’s what we did. I should point out that, at that stage, the old well up the hill remained undiscovered.

    As for “up the hill”, that raises an important point. If the water source is uphill, gravity feed works well and costs nothing. No pump or electricity needed. The more “up” is the source, the better, to a point. Water gains .4 psi pressure for each foot of drop in elevation. Our near well delivers water at 30 psi at the house. The upper well closer to 60 psi. “Town pressure” is usually around 40 psi. Even the 30 psi allows good pressure for the shower in the second floor bathroom. The 60 psi is almost at the stage of needing a pressure reducer.


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