Anyone for Sunday Scapes (2013-09-15) ?

Started Sep 15, 2013 | Photos thread
dave gaines
dave gaines Veteran Member • Posts: 9,183
Another water cistern of a rectangular shape

19andrew47 wrote:

The cisterns have stood up remarkably well.  It is not really visible in the image but I guess the lid is somewhat concave to collect the water.  I had thought it looked flat.  The roads explain a lot.  A long way to carry stuff otherwise.  I have seven years on you, but two new knees.  Large steps up or down are a problem for the knees as the range of motion is not nearly as good as prior to replacement.  It is somewhat limiting.


Hi Andrew,

Yes the lid is concave with the low point at the center hole. The hole is usually covered by a loose fitting steel lid that allows water to enter but keeps critters, debris and small pepople out of the tank. This one was missing the lid and the water was just a few incihes below the top. So I dipped in and cupped water out to wash the dust and sweat off of my face.

In my post above I said they formed this tank all at once. After thinking about it last night I realized it must be poured in 3 parts: the base foundation, the walls and finally the lid. They probably pulled all of the wood forms and waited 7 to 10 days between pours.

You're actually only 6 years ahead of me. I stopped counting a year ago. My knees are still good but I find stepping down I'm not as strong as I used to be. Hiking downhill is hard on the knees for most people.

At another big cistern where my wife and I like to hike, there is a big rectangular tank. I discovered the tank about 10 years ago. It stands only about 1/2 meter or 18 inches above the ground, it's 20 by 12 feet (6.25 x 4 meters) and the top lid is sloped to a hole at one corner where there is a steel plate cover permanently welded on to steel studs. We hiked there on Sunday afternoon in an hour, 1 way. I call the place Fox Ridge for the fox that show up in the evening. We saw two deer there on Sunday, which is rare for around here.

Funny story: For the last 12+ years I've been clearing brush back from 25 pine trees and watering the smaller trees during the drought years. The trees were planted by someone years before I found them on a firebreak on this small ridge between saddles. The smaller trees could have died in some of the drought years, with no rainfall for 7 months at a time. Because of the brush clearing, 13 of those 25 trees survived the Station Fire of 2009 when everything else around it burned. When the dirt roads were still unlocked, but gated 10 years ago, I used to drive my Jeep up there with 60 gallons of water. The road also leads to communication antanae on the peak above and beyond.

Here's the funny part: eventually I realized the low rectangular tank was actually quite large. I kept looking down the hole and seeing water just inches below the concrete lid. I dropped a weighted string through a small hole in the lid and discovered that it was 6.5 feet (2 meters) deep. I estimated the tank holds 6,500 gallons of water that rarely, if ever, gets used. It wasn't long before I realized I could draw off the top with a syphon hose. I can only get the top foot or so due to the flat ground around it. A syphon only works flowing downhill. So I use some of that water to irrigate the trees in the summer. I leave a hose and a couple of jugs up there, fill them by the tank and carry them between 50 and 150 feet up a trail to all of the trees. This year has been very dry and now it is hot. On Sunday I watered all of the trees again, for the 2nd time this summer.

Thanks again for looking and for your comments and stories.

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