The day after we moved onto this farm, a rainstorm came and nearly flooded our garage. I knew I had to fix this problem first thing. I called out a lovely rain gutter company to come and install rain gutters and rain barrels to catch the run-off. The options for rain barrels these days are many, and I picked out some beautiful urns that match the house color. These rain barrels really look great and give us extra water during dry spells.
After nearly two years of living here, I got uneasy that I would take showers inside and let all of that valuable water go into the sewer system, so I entreated Eric to help me make an outdoor shower. This way, I can take my shower and the water I use goes straight into the water table. Or as my dear friend Reza calls it, the aquifer. It helps keep the ground moist for the gardens and hopefully, eventually, the orchard, which is downhill from the shower.
Here’s our outdoor shower, which was originally built as a trellis for grapes. Can you see the shower head at the top of the picture?
Here’s another shot of the shower head.
Here’s the trench we dug for the water lines. Hot and cold running water. I’m so glad Eric convinced me to run hot water from the house lines, because taking a really hot shower outside is sooo nice. I was going to try to just use passive solar heating for the shower (a coiled up black hose that’s full of water, and the hot runs out when the hose empties) but this is so much better. Yeah!
Here’s the shower with the stone path.
We also have this nifty sink, which can be attached to any hose. I hook this up and wash things in it and the water drains right out onto the ground. I feel much more relaxed about using water when it’s getting used again by the plants. I just have to make sure I’m uphill of the drain spout, so the water doesn’t get on me!
I would like to bathe in a big bathtub outside too, and let the water drain into the aquifer!
Here’s another great idea (it’s not a new idea, but it’s still great). In the picture below you can see a black pipe sticking up out of the ground. The pipe goes about 2 feet down into the soil, and when we water with the hose, we fill up the pipe with water and that water goes deep down into the soil and waters the roots of the trees. We installed these by every tree. The best time to install one is when you’re planting a tree. Then you can place the pipe into the hole that you dug for the tree and then back-fill the hole after the pipe and the tree’s roots are in place. If you have an existing tree and you want to add a pipe near it, you can use a drill with an auger bit in the soil, and it will drill down and pull the soil up, forming a perfect hole where you can insert a pipe.