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Thread: Some Finca Pics

  1. #1

    Default Some Finca Pics

    Someone asked about the pressure from my spring, here it is . . .

    After seeing the pressure, I decided to go back to my idea of a split water system, domestic use pressurized by the drop in elevation from the spring; and water pressurized by the pump for irrigation.

    It seemed easier to pressurize everything from the pump, but we do have days without electricity, and I don't have any solar back up there yet. It's nice to flush the toilet and take a shower (SSS as the marines used to say). That's plenty of water pressure to shower with.

    Other pics: the septic tank, they built the steel framework outside of the hole to maximize the possible tank size, then lifted it in. Note the blocks filled with cement. This will be finished Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. The labor price of $392 includes two poured lids; we don't know what the materials cost is yet.

    Potatoes doing well, these are some I brought down from the US, including Russets. I'm looking less for potatoes to eat right now than seed, I want to plant them next summer (Nov) and irrigate them.

    Cement mixer: worth its weight in gold.

    Trailer in the air: Don't ask . . .it's involved.
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  2. #2
    House SOB Little Corn Tom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some Finca Pics

    Why this particular style of construction for the septic tank?

    Did you have to lower the blocks over the rebar?

    This septic tank gives real meaning to the phrase "Built like a brick shit house".

    What is your elevation?

    Am wondering if those spuds will make it on Corn Island......
    Life's different here ... It's a whole 'nother pace.

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    Default Re: Some Finca Pics

    nice..keep posting

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    Default Re: Some Finca Pics

    I've explained to Melvin how we do it in the US, but resigned myself to just letting him do it way. Seems to work fine.

    No, they stuffed the rods down into the blocks after they did the pour. They use the typical NIca rebar columns at the corners and every so many feet in the wall. Odd to us, where we just lay the rebar horizontally along the top of the blocks, wrap it around the corners. Blocks don't have the cutouts here for the rebar, and I think the manner of construction lends itself to bricks. He's been bending the rebar around the corners after I showed him how to do it when he built the first pila. He's a really intelligent guy, solid work ethic. Franklin takes the opportunity to BS endlessly with everyone who wanders on the job site, Melvin and Pedro just keep working.

    Yeah, they kind of overdid it, that shit is going nowhere . . .it was clever of them to "frame" it outside of the hole. This is the first septic tank that Melvin was asked to do. The whole concept is foreign,,, I've done my best with my limited Spanish to explain the process: caca starts out 90% water, bacteria eat it and reduce it's volume significantly, the remaining liquid can be spread through a leach field without fear of disease. A hole in the ground works well for them, and is a lot cheaper.

    Elevation is just under 4K feet . . . cool nights and morning, but heats up surprisingly in the afternoons. As soon as the sun drops, cools nicely.

    I don't think the potatoes will develop that well during the wet season, not enough sun. But I should get plenty of usable seed. I met with some Idaho potato growers in Jinotega who wanted to sell seed potatoes to Nicaragua (whole different ballgame,, really interesting how they develop the seeds)-- and they were saying that the rainy season here just doesn't provide enough sun for bigger potatoes. They pointed out that, in Idaho and Colorado, the sun rises early in the morning and sets late at night, and is pretty intense. That's what grows those big russets.

    Idaho guys claim that the existing Nicaraguan seed potatoes are hopelessly diseased, a genetic thing that gets worse each time the potato is propagated. That's why the potatoes are deformed and small. Bugs that bite the potato plant inject viruses, that are then part of the plant for future generations. Remember, for potatoes, you are planting the fruit, not a seed.

    I think I might be able to pull this off during the summer, irrigate,, get bigger potatoes than we're used to seeing here. The potatoes in Honduras are twice the size, and a lot cleaner.

    Pure de papas is a big favorite of my Nica guests, they can't get enough. That and waffles smothered in cheap syrup (I hide the maple syrup). I make the mashed potatoes (actually whipped with a beater) from those flakes found in those big bags- much easier than peeling, boiling, mashing. Yaritsa would eat them every night, smothered in gravy. I'll ask: "Arroz o papas ?" She's never answered arroz. I don't even ask "pan o tortillas?", NO ONE has ever answered tortillas.

    She likes those pinto beans we eat in the US too, I'm going to bring down a quintal of them next trip. Kind of a pain with all the boiling, but I think I can put them into a crockpot and let it do the scut work. I do most of my own cooking now,,

    Potatoes would probably do well over there until the bugs found them. Then you'll have to spray. We sprayed for a white fly that makes the leaves curl if you don't control them. Attacks tomatoes too.
    Last edited by KeyWestPirate; 06-06-2014 at 09:16 AM.

  5. #5
    House SOB Little Corn Tom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some Finca Pics

    Interesting....please keep posting progress pics of the septic tank.

    White flies are a curse.
    Last edited by Little Corn Tom; 06-06-2014 at 09:50 AM.
    Life's different here ... It's a whole 'nother pace.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Some Finca Pics

    Lotta work going on out there. How many gallons is the tank? What are you going to make the leech field out of? Saw one where they used old tires.

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    Active TRN Member StickMan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some Finca Pics

    Last leach line (singular) I saw installed in Nicaragua used the exact same process as mine at home: 4" (mas o menos) clay tiles laid end to end. Long enough run and enough irregularities in them to allow seepage past the joints into the earth. All turns were simply hacked off pieces of tile with other hacked off pieces at 90* angles to it. Might be the reason for not flushing paper. Don't recall seeing any type of septic tank in the system but certainly there must have been something!!

    The one at my house was probably installed in the 40's or 50's. The one I saw installed in Nica was probably '99 or '00.
    "Find out what it is in life that you don't do well - and then don't do that thing." -The most Interesting Man in the World

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    Para aquí para acá Jonh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some Finca Pics

    What method was used to determine the size of the septic tank?

    For a 3 bedroom house in gringo world, about 1000 gallons is plenty big. That's 5' deep x 5' x 5'. Yours looks about six times bigger.

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    TRN Science officer bill_bly_ca's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some Finca Pics

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonh View Post
    That's 5' deep x 5' x 5'. Yours looks about six times bigger.

    He plans on being very productive...
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    Para aquí para acá Jonh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some Finca Pics

    Lots of beer drinking would fill it up…

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    Viejo del Foro Just Plain John Wayne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some Finca Pics

    On the two septic tanks I have built Gringo style with a leach field.....

    My problem was I did not seal the tank good to make it an actual tank that held the water and crap in it.

    The water went thru the blocks and dry time the water level went down with it.

    Then when the rainy time came up came the floatsom, and over a few years the solids messed up the leach field that entered it due to the rise and fall of the floatsom.

    I am not going to have that problem again since I went back to the drawing board with it.

    I sealed this one good like a swimming pool to avoid that.

    I did find out one thing though in the process... Better to ask one person that knows about these things than to listen to 100 people that don't know Crap... LOL...
    To be called a "Has Been" I must surmise, is much Greater than to be called a "Nevah Been"... JW...



  12. #12
    House SOB Little Corn Tom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some Finca Pics

    What did you seal it with?
    Life's different here ... It's a whole 'nother pace.

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    Dog Whisperer cookshow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some Finca Pics

    I have never seen one here sealed but there are good masonry sealers available in MGA. Here no one puts a bottom in them, just a dirt floor.
    ‎"You know what you say when people tell you you can't do something? Fool, shut your mouth up!"
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Some Finca Pics

    He's going to use the same sealer he used for the pila, which seems to be working. He makes a rich cement, and very fine sand "stucco", and spreads that over the blocks. He wets the blocks as he works, the result is a surface much like you see on those cement clothes washing sinks, maybe not quite as smooth, but almost.

    There is a special name for the sand, starts with a V, but can't remember it. They sell it by the 5 gallon bucket, but it's just shoveled from a pile into the truck. It's probably just sand that has been finely sifted.

    I think this only works when the structure is sound, sufficient rebar, solid footing. If it cracks, it's going to leak.

    Fixing a pila would be one thing, just drain it. Fixing a septic tank after some period of usage, quite another project.

    But, this gives me an idea: I think I'll extend a piece of half inch pvc into a mini dry well in the bottom of the excavation. I can always easily pump it later and see if I have any leakage.. . . The tank is on the side of a slope, and there's nothing the leakage would affect. It's a long way from the lake. The planned wells are up slope and about 100 meters (the closest) away. I chose the spot because of the presumed ease of putting in a leach field. The covers will be about a foot below ground level. Melvin asked me how wide the tapas should be, I said "wide enough to poner Don Denis in head first". Don Denis is a neighbor who has been stealing water from me. Even though it's rained a bit, it's still really dry in terms of water moving through the ground and re-charging springs and wells.

    Size? Yeah,, Well the hole was there, and by the time I got up there Melvin had already built part of the rebar framework outside of the excavation, to fit neatly inside. He was really proud of himself for coming up with the idea. . What could I say?

    Here's the pic from yesterday. . . .
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    Default Re: Some Finca Pics

    OK, The trailer up in the air:

    We needed some bodega space really fast because of the rain. The space in front of the trailer in the pic (or in back of it, whichever) that is covered in balastre is where the bodega will eventually go. Before we get there, we still have the bathroom (which is really a room for a flush toilet and a corner lavamanos, a separate room for the shower and larger vanity style lava manos, a large mirror, a cabinet we can lock , and some shelving. A bar to hang clothes, lights. I'm planning elegant rustico, stuccoed walls painted, and tile on the floor for ease of cleaning. Then,, a semi enclosed area where we will eventually have a washer and dryer and the supporting sink, table, room for an ironing board. So, it's a pretty good sized building. After that comes the REAL bodega.

    Casual workers will only have access to the separate bathroom that includes the toilet and a place to wash their hands. Even so, I've learned the hard way that extra supplies such as TP, soap, etc,, has to be locked up or it walks,, even among the best of friends. It's the culture.

    So, the fastest way to get some sheltered space was to go under the trailer. The height is sufficient for Nicas, and they will be ones using it. Presently we're storing everything in the living area of the trailer and it's getting out of hand. The trailer is supported by the 3" square tubes (cajitas they are called) you see in the foreground. There are six concrete footings, uprights, and cross beams welded to the metal trailer under structure.

    You'll notice the extension of the cajitas on the ground, they continue to extend in front of the trailer (other side) to form a raised deck. NicaLite sells some really interesting composite decking material, T&G, that has the color mixed into the material. I'm going to try that for the decking. The stuff was in place yesterday, I'll get a pic tomorrow, we just wanted to give the concrete some time to set before we dropped the trailer onto the steel framework. The access is from the raised area in front; above that is a really nice queen mattress that I bought before I left thinking that Shelley and I would be occupying the trailer for some period. The mattress is the envy of everyone, and leads to any number of jokes, all of which Alexi bears with a big smile. His electric blanket with dual controls is also a source of major fascination: It gets really cold up there in the winter. The space under the raised area is MY part of the bodega, and we'll have an iron security gate for access.

    Melina is three months pregnant, another reason we need to clear out the trailer. What used to be the bathroom --- (there was actually a small tub at one time, I tore it out so I would have more space to haul stuff from the US)--in the trailer will become a small room for the baby. We're pulling out the stove, and gas fridge, and building an outside kitchen on the east edge of the deck. I won't be using it, but we will use it to cook a simple lunch for the workers, and it will serve as well as the kitchen for Melina and Alexi.

    That will open up the "living room", and there will still be the existing sink which is conveniently on the right end of the trailer. Nica Living at its very finest.
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    House SOB Little Corn Tom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some Finca Pics

    Excellent!
    Life's different here ... It's a whole 'nother pace.

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    Dog Whisperer cookshow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some Finca Pics

    "Even so, I've learned the hard way that extra supplies such as TP, soap, etc,, has to be locked up or it walks,, even among the best of friends. It's the culture."

    Wait till you plant some money crops, the petty theft quickly gets humorless.
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    TRN Science officer bill_bly_ca's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some Finca Pics

    Quote Originally Posted by KeyWestPirate View Post

    Size? Yeah,, Well the hole was there, and by the time I got up there Melvin had already built part of the rebar framework outside of the excavation, to fit neatly inside. He was really proud of himself for coming up with the idea. . What could I say?

    Here's the pic from yesterday. . . .

    KWP - Where did you get all of the backing data for the pit? Counting blocks I see a 6'x9' x 80" pit? Is that correct?

    I'll need one dug for at least 14 people. Yea that is high, but going big here as it is simple and relativly cheap to go to big now at the beginning than to make it bigger later.
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    Junkyard Dog randude's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some Finca Pics

    Quote Originally Posted by bill_bly_ca View Post
    He plans on being very productive...
    Well, all those potatoes have to go someplace
    Survivor

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    Junkyard Dog randude's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some Finca Pics

    I am always curious about the agricultural aspect. In Idaho with long summer days you have sunlight until 10:00 (solstice). Where you are at the seasonal lighting is not much and the daylight hours always hovering around 12. That plays a role in a lot of produce. After that comes the root diseases that are sorted out through natural selection. A plant that is growing hearty in on location has evolved to thrive in that location. A couple hundred miles away the plant may not survive, and if it does survive there is no guarantee that the fruit will be that good.

    Potatoes were discovered in the new world though, so some kind will have to grow there. Some of those I seen in Peru were so wild in shape and color that at first you would not even think they were potatoes. The same could be said about the original apples brought to the USA from Eastern Europe.
    Survivor

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