18 July 2012

La Belle's Hobby Farm: Solar-Powered Fountains

Three coins in the fountain, which one will the fountain bless?
~ Sammy Cahn, Three Coins in the Fountain

 ater is life.  We can’t live without it.  The average human body is 57 - 60% water and we can live longer without food than we can without water.  We drink it.  We wash with it.  We cook with it.  We cool off in it. We are calmed by it.

Perhaps that is part of its beauty: it is precious, it is life-giving.  And no one knew this better than the Romans.  Their elaborate system of aqueducts was an amazing marriage of form and function, some of which still operate today.

Last week, when I thought of putting in a fountain that would be off the grid, and talked with the resident guru at the garden center, I thought of the Romans.  
Me: “I want to have a fountain that isn’t on the grid.”

Guru: “Well, there are solar-powered pumps.  But…they don’t work at night, of course. The technology hasn’t gotten there yet where they can store the energy.”

Wow.  But I have lights that store the energy and light up the walk way at night…?  Maybe a submersible pump just needs more.

Me: “What about wind-powered?”

Guru: “Yeah, but what about when there’s no wind?”

Me: Stumped. “Battery operated?” I know that’s not really green, but it’s better than being on the grid!

Guru: “Nope – batteries can’t get wet.”

Me: Thinking hard.  “But the Romans didn’t have electricity.  How did they do it?!”

Guru: Stumped. “Well. . .uhhhh. . . I don’t know!”
Guru status: lost.

So, I did some digging (haha) on my own.  And I found out that the famous aqueducts, plus gravity and underground springs are the secrets to the success of such breathtaking beauties like Trevi Fountain. 

Imagine a garden built around that!

For me, there are no underground springs (or if there are, we don’t know about them).  There is a whole lot of standing water around the orchard, but it’s flat there, so gravity can’t help (although I’ve been told a French drain can).

I was ready to give up and then I decided to look up solar-powered pumps.  The way the guru was talking, I expected to find one or two and that’s it.  Imagine my surprise when I typed “solar-powered pumps” in Google.  A bunch of sites, from 1000Fountains.com, to Target and the omnipresent Amazon have solar pumps.   Huzzah!

I still want to tool around the different sites and find feedback on the options, but I’m leaning towards trying out the Sunjet Solar 150.  The price is low enough that if my dream of a garden fountain comes crashing down around my trowel, I won’t feel quite so bad.

How Does Your Garden Grow?
In other garden news, the tomato plants are looking hale and hearty, but still no fruit:

And the basil has grown mammoth.  I pick from the top and the sides to keep the plants producing.  Don’t they look beautiful and yummy? 


Since I don’t have tomatoes yet, I stopped by the farmers market and picked up some heirloom beauties and ate them with the fresh-picked basil, a little sea salt and a dash of olive oil.  Heavenly.

Maybe next year I’ll be eating them next to my solar-powered fountain.

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

Do you have a fountain in your garden?  Share your pictures!
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