Thursday, May 12, 2011

Progress Photos

A picture is worth a thousand words, right?  Let's see if that's true:

First up, my manifold rain barrel system.  Basically, I will be plumbing four rain barrels together on each side of the rear of the house.  I began the project a couple weeks ago and need to get back to it.  Like today. 

We got these rain barrels from a local river conservation group.  If you have a soda bottling company in your area, you may be able to get some there. Click here or here for my Youtube inspiration (warning: the guy in the first video uses some plumber slang that involves a bad word...just in case you have kids watching).

I drilled the first hole in the bottom of a barrel.  The seam made finding the center easy.

Here's the 3/4" drill bit I used.  If you watched the second video, this definitely is not big enough, and filing the hole to make it bigger is useless.  Byron went out and bought a 7/8" bit, and I'll let you know how that works.

The plumbing parts that will go in the bottom of the barrel.  I bought all 3/4" schedule 40 PVC, which is supposed to work for outdoor use.

Before ANY additional plumbing attempts took place, I had to level an area for the of those challenging but not-so-fun aspects of the project.  I used about 2 1/2 bags of sand to level an area that is about 2' x 8'.  First, I marked the corners by measuring out from the house, and I first tried running string and using line levels.  I wasted a lot of time doing that!

Using a level like this was much easier, and I used the straight edge of it to move the sand when necessary.

Now for the first row of CMU block!  Leveling them from right to left, and from front to back, was no easy task, either.

Each barrel will sit on four blocks, stacked two high so we can get a 5-gallon bucket underneath the spout.

And this is as far as I've gotten!  I keep peeking outside to see if they've plumbed themselves, but rain barrels are extremely lazy.  Seriously, I SO want to finish this project, but have been busy planting The Biggest Garden Ever. 
And then the other day Mr. Woodward, a long-time farmer in the area who was friends with the Greens, pulled into our driveway.  Peeking out the window of his truck at the garden, he asked, "So are you farmers yet?"  Small talk ensued, after which he told us he'd talked to some dairy farmers who have a couple male Holstein calves they might want to sell.  So TOMORROW, Byron is going to disappear with Mr. Woodward for a while, and then reappear with two baby calves! 

This has been our multi-purpose shelter.  It's housed toys, chickens, and compost, and yesterday Byron and I moved it over to the garden area so it can serve as a temporary shelter for the calves.  We have some fencing we'll use to create a little run for them along the garden, but we're going to order more electric fencing so we can move them around like we move the chickens.

Byron used wood salvaged from an old barn to stabilize the shelter and create a wind break.

Side view - almost done.
Did I mention we get to bottle feed the calves??? 


  1. Laura - YOU ARE PHENOMENAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    So, you did manage to move the multi purpose shed; again, you're amazing! Have fun feeding those calves --- how i love veal parm.... keep them healthy! TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. LOVE, MOM

  2. Mom - I didn't exactly move the shed by myself! Byron devised a simple system that made it easier. Love you. :)