Sunday, May 1, 2011

Barrels and Blankets

Another beautiful weekend.  As promised, I headed out to Richmond yesterday morning to visit the RI Water Lady and pick up my rain barrels.  She's very cool--anyone who's trying to get people to conserve water is obviously very cool--and it was a beautiful morning for a drive. 

I installed them today and... drum roll... here they are:

I know this isn't much of a thrill to anyone else out there except me, since they're really just recycled food barrels. 

The lids have holes and there's a mesh liner underneath the lid, to keep out critters and such.  I put rocks on top for additional filtration--to help keep the pollen out. 

The hardest part of the installation process was cutting the drainpipe with a hacksaw to install the water diverter--and that wasn't very hard at all, just incredibly noisy.  (Seriously, you don't want to be doing that at 6:00 a.m. if you value staying on good terms with your neighbors.)

You can see the diverter a bit better in this picture (and I promise I'll stop talking about this in a minute or two):

It's installed very easily into the drain pipe, and it drains the water down onto the lid of the barrel, where it goes into the barrel itself to be stored.  In the winter, you have to store your barrel so it won't freeze, so you can simply flip up the downspout on the diverter until next spring.

Each barrel is 60 gallons--about 1/4 of an inch of rain can fill a barrel.

You can attach the spigot lower, but I typically use a watering can, so that's why it looks like I now have two very large and very strange water coolers in my back yard.

I actually have to attach a hose to connect the two.  I didn't have any extra lengths that would fit, so I wrote "black hose" on my shopping list. 

Let's hope that I remember that I mean "garden hose" and not, say, "fish net stockings."  The fact that the next item on my list is "topsoil" should clue me in, but then, you never know.

And who knows?  Perhaps, in a pinch, the fish net stockings could be used in place of the mesh screen... well, maybe not. 

The neighbors might talk.

I'm also cruising along on my blanket for Project Linus.  Here that is:

It's also not very fancy.  It's just your basic granny square afghan, but it uses up all kinds of left over yarn from previous projects, and is always a good thing to have.  I'm hoping to finish that this week.

I also cleaned out all of the crap in the back of my shed, since last week I cleaned out the shed itself.  (That's where I found the bricks to put under one of the barrels, actually.  Yes, I know-- I'm still talking about the rain barrels.  I can't help it.) 

I really should have taken "before" and "after" photos of that process, since cleaning out behind an edifice is always a messy job and you never get any landscaping credit whatsoever for it. 

No one ever comes up to you on the street and says, "The crap behind your shed is gone!  It looks awesome now!  I drove by and I couldn't believe it.  You really did a lot of work.  You must really be pleased with the results."

Unless, of course, the back of your shed looks like something on that show "Hoarders."  Then, I think people would notice and congratulate you on any improvements, big or small. 

So not getting credit in this case is actually a good sign, I guess.

Even less photogenic, but equally exciting to me is the fact that my grant proposal is shaping up.  I'm actually thinking that, by Monday, I'll have something that I'm not totally ashamed of to give to the Grants Office to look over.

This is good, because come Tuesday, I will begin to be chained to my computer, grading final papers. 

Oh well, at least it's supposed to be cloudy and raining...

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