Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Rainmakers

It was bound to happen sooner or later... On Friday morning, the 500 gallon rain water tank ran dry. I had been watering every morning since July 3rd. It was full at that point, and we have only gotten half an inch since then, which filled it most of the way. Luckily, the raised beds and intensive planting make water conservation a way of life. Everything is planted so closely together that if you water tomatoes, the run off is not wasted on the path, it waters the onions and peppers instead. We had been watching the water level closely all week, but when I heard the pump reverbing through the ground, I knew it had hit rock bottom and I'd better turn it off.

Tim took the opportunity for some annual tank maintenance. He hooked the shop vac up to the hole we keep the "dipstick" in, to pull fresh air through the opening, and went in to scrape and clean. That probably isn't OSHA's idea of correct "confined space" safety, but it kept him from asphyxiating.

There was a pretty good coating of rusty, organic sludge which he scraped off with a putty knife.

Then, using a Cool Whip container (an indispensable tool around here) he bailed about 15 gallons of dirty water out leaving us with a clean tank.

Then came the task of filling it. We do have a rain barrel full of water, but neighbor Mike, who does maintenance at a local company, has been collecting water for us. There is a cooling system at the shop which runs tap water through a coil and down a drain. Seems like a waste, so Mike brought a rain barrel to work with him, and recycled the water. We just wheel it up the walk on a dolly, and run a hose into the tank. At first, the water level is too high for the vent, so Tim keeps his finger in the dam.

Then Mike showed up with more water, and things became more streamlined. He just parked his truck up hill from the tank, and we got a longer piece of hose. They went back for another load, taking the opportunity to flush all the eye wash stations too, and recycle that water. They even rigged up a little chimney to screw into the vent hole, and began engineering other glitches out of the system. Next spring we will just stock pile rain water in barrels over at the down spout collector on the big garage, and fill and save them in case of draught.

Pretty soon our tank was full again. And guess what happened? Like today's title implies... it began to rain.

1 comment:

  1. Praying for rain down here too... even if it does get in the way of my horse show!

    Love your blogs Brita!!