Colorado Government Finally Did Something Right


>> The photo shown here ^^^ isn’t the completed gizmo but it shows the gist of how it will work<<

I’ve lived in the west for over half my life.  I have never understood why, in a place where droughts can cause water restrictions, that they didn’t allow for rainwater catchment.  In fact, it has been illegal.  I understand that it comes from the complexities of historical water rights (first in time, first in right), but most here would agree with me as to just how ridiculous this is – especially when the real spike in urban/suburban water use goes up in the summer so lawns can be watered.

Recently, the laws changed for the better.  From what I read, if you are on a municipal system (we are not) it is now legal to trap up to 2, 55 gallon rain barrels of rain and snow as long as it is used externally.  If you are on a well or off the grid from a water stand point, the amount you can use indoors and out is now unlimited as long as it comes off of a roof (I think an outdoor solar shower would be awesome!).

Yours truly, Mr. Farmer Jon, jumped at the chance.  Today, after putting it off for other projects this summer, I finally got down to making the first flush system for our water catchment system.  The roof is 1680 square feet.  According to the calculator, 1 inch of rain will provide 1297 gallons of water.  That would fill the tank shown above to over-flow by 297 gallons.  Through the magic of PVC I will be daisy chaining other tanks into the system as we go.

There are a number of reasons why we want to do this.  1. We live in a semi-arid climate that only gets 13.5 inches of rain a year (snow increases this, but not by much).  2. We are on a well that is down into an aquifer.  If you know anything about aquifer depletion, the news isn’t all that rosy.  3. The well is 265 feet deep so manual pumps won’t work.  If the electric pump fails, having water stored above ground until the pump can be fixed is just prudent (Our solar system protects against the grid going down, but not if the pump fails).  4. The water here is VERY alkaline.  Rainwater is not.  I have a pressure tank and pump that will provide enough pressure to water the gardens and not salinate them.

The only issue is winter.  Water freezes in winter.  As a result, we will be putting a 500 gallon storage tank in our basement to hold water through the winter.  It will be our weakest time of year, but unless I can figure out how to keep the big tanks warm when it’s 12 degrees outside, there isn’t much choice.  An underground cistern would be ideal, but contrary to popular and familial belief, we are not among the 1%.

I should have it all plumbed, painted and functional tomorrow.  I can’t wait to see this thing work….. of course, now that it is in, we won’t have any rain.

So here’s how it works:  There is a rubber racket ball in the wider, longer tube.  When it rains, the first water that comes off the roof will be dusty and bird pooped.  As that water washes down, the first water goes into the tube.  The racket ball rises as the tube fills.  Once it gets up to the reducer, it plugs it and the the fresher water will divert over to the green tank and fill it.  At the bottom of the first flush is a screw-in drain cover.  That allows the dirty water to be drained out so as to set it up for the next rainfall.  It might not be big enough, but there will be another one just like it on the other side of the barn.  We will be able to trap thousands of gallons of water, even in our dry climate…. Brilliant!

The Garden Is Filling The Pantry


We are now in harvest daily mode.  The tomatoes are losing their minds as they usually do, the cucumbers are playing out, the giants – our sunflowers – are keeping watch, the onions came out yesterday and are mostly the size of racket balls (and very flavorful), we are being overrun with green beans and peppers.  The Habaneros are setting fruit and, if they continue, we will need to be drying them and grinding them into pepper.  The Cayenne peppers have exploded and will refill our cayenne pepper stock.  The Basil, Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano, and Sage will keep us going for some time.  Our celery is up and salad ready.  We have over 50 lbs of cabbage heads.  The weights and lid for our crock are due tomorrow and we will be making and canning sauerkraut.  This weekend we will be harvesting black beans and more green beans.  The new spinach and Romaine lettuce seeds are due in from Johnny’s Seeds this week and they will go in the bean beds.  The beets are well on their way and our carrots, even though I didn’t thin them like I should, will give us a couple of bushels of can-able orange.  Today I planted the fall Broccoli and Cauliflower plants, tomorrow more onions will go in, and we are debating if we should even plant more cabbage. I have more than enough garlic so for the first time I won’t have to buy seed garlic for the October planting.  It is so nice, after surgery and a drought, to have the garden producing what I expect it to.

Ginger Watch. Place Your Bets!

Our little momma to be was found being a bit disoriented and tired in a corner on the donkey side of the barn.  Farmer Jon got the bedding down, the waterer and feeders filled and minerals doled out.  Ginger was very docile and tired and was more than willing to waddle into her delivery room.  I don’t know how to administer an epidural, but I suspect I’ll be spending quite a bit of time in the barn this week.  It was hard to just watch her lie down.  With those milk bags and her full pregnant width, if she could talk, I imagine she would be griping up a storm about not being able to get comfortable.

Place your bets!  I’m betting twins at least.  She is quite rotund.  We are at day 149 of 150 so things could go pretty fast from here….. or not.  From what I’ve gleaned, twins are common and triplets are not out of the question.  Will keep you posted.