Repurposing, ranch style


We’re big on repurposing around here. This photo I took today I think is a great example. These cattle are drinking out of what we call a “uke” tire. Uke is short for Euclid, a company that manufactures the huge dump trucks used in mining operations. The tires make great water tanks because they are pretty much indestructible. Well, for our purposes it is anyhow. The tires are either too worn out our damaged to carry the 300+ ton loads. But they hold water just fine. These used tires cost about $800 per half, which is a pretty good deal considering they cost over $40,000 for a new one. A 12-foot diameter tank will hold about 1150 gallons of water.

You may also notice the wood post next to the tank. It is a used rail road tie. It spent its former life supporting rail road tracks. We have installed hundreds of these around the ranch for corner braces on our fences. In this case, it is used to support a wood box that protects the float and valve that regulate the flow of water.

And you’re probably wondering what all that snow is doing there. Well, that is repurposed too. I’m using it to insulate the wood box I mentioned earlier that houses the float and valve. The box is heated with a simple geothermal system. A 12 inch diameter pipe is buried vertically about 10 feet in the ground. The ground heat rises naturally up the pipe and into the box, keeping the float and valve from freezing. Although the box is insulated with foam, I added the snow as an extra precaution. Tonight the lows are forecasted to be down to -17°F so it needs all the help it can get.