Monday, July 1, 2013

Water & Window Wizardry

Time for a little catchup post on a couple of  projects. When I last posted about projects, Rog was high up on a ladder trimming off the edge of the metal barn roof with a Sawzall (shudder) in order to install gutters for a rainwater catchment system. I am happy to report he successfully and safely trimmed the roof and got the gutters hung, even on the west end of the barn where the ground drops off precipitously and the earth was like muddy quicksand from all the rain.
Chris took the two 275-gallon recycled food-grade totes to the car wash to  clean out the remains of very fragrant garlic oil that had been stored in them. Easier said than done!  The totes are the reservoirs for the roof water.
But before the  totes could be hooked up to the gutters, Rog wanted to install windows along the south side of the barn, because once those totes are full of 275 gallons of water they aren't going anywhere. Rog had found five 4' x 8' 1-inch insulated glass windows on Craigslist for a very good deal. Together with the three Craigslist windows we installed a couple years ago, we had enough to glass in most of the south side of our  barn.  They are excruciatingly heavy, however,  and we recruited the Nodding Wild Onions  band members, Chris and some of his friends to assist.
 Rog had removed the metal siding and we replaced it with the glass panels on the outside of the framing.
Securing the glass top and bottom.
We are very thankful for generous, hardworking friends with strong muscles!
The final panel is lifted into place.
 The view from inside the barn--funny expressions.

 Admiring the wall o'glass!
The transformation on the inside of the barn is astounding. What was a dark space is now a bright solarium! I plan to use this as studio space this summer, maybe start seeds in here, host gatherings, and someday it may become a classroom and dining area, if we succeed in getting a commercial kitchen built someday. (The colorful ceiling decor is left over from the Day of the Dead feast last November.)
The next morning, I painted all the outside window trim and after work Rog and Chris set the totes in place and hooked them up to the downspouts.  Not more than an hour later, we were drenched with a heavy 20-minute downpour that conveniently tested the water catchment system.  The totes both filled halfway from that brief rain!  That's 500 gallons of water that would have otherwise drained onto my already extraordinarily muddy cattle yard where the cows have been sinking in past their knees -- I am delighted to divert that water.  Chris is pleased to have warm rainwater to top off the pond and aquaponics system. Cadence will be very happy to have water right there, to water the veggies in the hoop house without having to lug a quarter-mile of hose from the hose bib.

Two giant steps forward!!


Marcia said...

I take it that this isn't a barn where the animals are. Sounds like really neat space. Maybe one day I'll get to MN and see these beautiful spot you've made.

katiegirl said...

Wow, that wall of windows looks amazing! And what a great idea to help turn some of that extra rain into a positive thing!

Susan said...

Marcia, it is a former dairy barn, but we don't house animals in there except for a couple of errant chickens who hang out on the west end. We store hay in the west end and have our milking parlor there in a former horse stall. The middle is a big two-story space that may be a future classroom; the south wing is this now sunny glass-in room; the north wing is used to store the snowblower, rototiller, old truck,tools, etc; the east end has a former wood shop that we currently use as a summer kitchen and hope to turn into a commercial kitchen. When we first moved here we simply could not imagine being able to ever use all these outbuildings; now we could use couple more! We would love to have you (and you, Katiegirl!) visit!

Tyche's Minder said...

This is exactly what I needed to see today. I've been toying with replacing the old siding on my newly emptied shed with something clear. I think that's a given now. Wowza. I was also puzzled with how to water any flowers or shrubs I plant around the new patio...and of course the answer is a rain barrel. Woot. No telling how long that would have taken me to think of on my own. :)

Marcia said...

Wow. I did realize it was such a big building. YOu are making good use of it.