A small, diverse permaculture farm in beautiful SE Minnesota - our dream come true life focused on Local Food, Local Art, Local Music.
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.
In September 2008, we dived into our dream of creating a small, sustainable farm. Neither of us has previous farming experience, but we have enthusiasm and many ideas for this little 10-acre farmstead.