We can barely keep up with harvesting now. Every day, Rebecca and I do our drill. Me dehydrating and freezing, Rebecca canning. It’s REQUIRED. And reminds me of a childhood dream. I was a little girl, back in “the old days.”
I am one of three sisters, Flicka, Ricka and Dicka (the names of little girls in children’s story books back then, 60 years ago). We lived in a small house on the edge of a dusty road on the prairie. Our mother had heard from those traveling by that there was a famine approaching, and she was busy, frantically preserving food.
Am I acting out this old dream? Perhaps. Though I don’t feel frantic, just resolute. I do feel that we need to prepare ourselves for whatever, and that includes water catchment off our roofs, for example. Something we have finally, after a two year planning and fiddling around, achieved.
The first step was to replace 5″ gutters with 6″ gutters. Think climate change, and think extremes. We want to be prepared for rain, no matter how fast it comes down. Before replacing, decide how to angle the gutters. I.e., decide how to catch water, on which corners. I picked three corners for water catchment, which we would then set up with receptacles.
I wrote a post on the day this year Rebecca and I took the old truck to get two 200-gallon tanks, 45 minutes north of here. $75 each. A bargain.
A few more months went by. How would we hook them up? Neither of us felt qualified. Nor did our intern, Jeffrey. Finally, I put out a request to the Bloomington Permaculture Guild email list and was slammed with offers to help. Really surprised me! We chose Tom Landis, who has just moved to Bloomington from Fort Wayne. Tom is handy, eager, and will use his work with us to build a reputation locally. Plus, I told him I would read the astrological charts for him and his wife. So it wasn’t exactly a trade, it was more like mutual gifting, which I, for one, prefer.
Anyway, after several starts, correcting for errors, and waiting for parts at the hardware store, Tom finished the job today. Three systems. The first, two barrels (gifts from my son Colin, extras at the Garden Tower Project), which gave us trouble until today when he decided to put two inches of gravel underneath them, so they wouldn’t shift separately with the weight of rain. They must stay together on their pod, or the tube that connects them will leak, which it did, after last night’s hard rain, until he put the gravel down this afternoon. Here they are; notice that they have a black thingie connecting them at the bottom (hard to see in the picture). This assures that they will fill up equally. All three systems also have runoff hoses. In the first system it’s attached to the back of the top of one of the barrels, and Jeffrey will bury it bury under my driveway to its end in the GANG pond.
(I know for you metaphysical types that this sort of 3D functionality is mighty boring, and yes, I agree, it is to me, too; however, ahem! We want to build a template here that will work for the future, whatever it brings, and that takes tinkering with systems until they work. Thank God for Tom, his energy, his skill, and his enthusiasm for the task!)
Okay. Next, one of the 200 gallon tanks, for the NE corner of my house, to supply the back yard gardens. That one, Tom told me, was the easiest.
Detail: the water runs in through a fine mesh, catching anything that makes it through the screens on the gutters.
And finally, the third system, this one with two 200-gallon tanks, on the SW corner of the DeKist house, to water the GANG garden. In this case, we didn’t connect the two tanks together. Instead, we just switch from one to the other as needed. Like the other two systems, both can be attached to a hose.
Detail of top, showing where we can just shift from one to the other, as needed.
The GANG garden itself throbs with life, flourishing so fully that it threatens to transform into jungle. Here are a few close-ups.
Giant flower-like cabbage:
Black-eyed susans (which reportedly, are “good to dispell fear”).
Yard long beans, so high and profuse they require a ladder to reach. This is the very first year we’ve gotten beans to grow before some critter ate them.
Chard and Calendula:
My favorite duet: poke and wild carrot. Such a sensual combination!
And finally, Brain Flower, or Celosia, some kind of a medicinal, I think! Glorious, eh?