We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Barrel

Remember the rain barrel that I just installed?

Algreen Agua Rain Barrel

First rain barrel at the house

It had its first test last night when a storm went through. The results? It’s completely full. It collected all 50 gallons in one night.

I’m in disbelief.

We're going to need a bigger barrel

We're gonna need a bigger barrel

Rain Barrel Installed

Update 2012.02.29: First test of the rain barrel.

Rain barrels are a no-brainer. Why pay for water when it falls from the sky for free? Not only that, rainwater is likely better for your plants than tap water.

We settled on the Algreen Agua 50-gallon rain barrel via Amazon. It looks a bit nicer than a standard food-grade barrel and includes almost everything you need to install it. I say almost because you’ll likely have to buy a gutter elbow or two and some tubing to direct overflow water.

I strongly recommend elevating the barrel at least a foot and a half off the ground. This will allow the water to drain faster and you’ll be able to put a bucket right under the drain if need be. I used some landscaping pavers that were sitting in a corner of our yard. If those pavers weren’t there already, I probably would have used cinder blocks.

Algreen Agua Rain Barrel

Projects beget projects...like painting the new gutter elbows.

Algreen Agua Rain Barrel

I used two gutter elbows to direct water into the barrel. Also note the hook for the drain hose, which is a nice touch.

The two projections you see in the back of the barrel are for draining overflow water or linking another barrel. I’ll get to those soon.

Year of the Chicken

In the inaugural post of the Space-Farm Continuum, we established that worms were the gateway animal. After maintaining a vermicomposting habit for a while you realize that it no longer provides the fix that it once did. You start to think about experimenting with more hardcore animal husbandry.

When we learned of a neighborhood tour of chicken coops organized by Nap Town Chickens, we signed up immediately…as did 600 other people. It turns out that everyone is doing it. Apparently, you’re not cool unless you keep chickens – or pee your pants. It’s hard to keep up with these trends.

It was decided not long after the tour de coops that we needed our own chickens. Several months and several books later, paint dries on a chicken coop in the garage and four baby chickens are on pre-order from a magical chicken dealer in the cloud – My Pet Chicken.

Chicken coop in the back of a pickup

Picking up the chicken coop: We realized after loading the coop in the truck that our winch straps were too short...hence the extension cord. As we pulled into the store down the street to buy longer straps, we had to be careful not to hit a chicken that was roaming the parking lot.

The baby chickens will arrive mid-March, and they’re certain to be the homesteading highlight of 2012 – the Year of the Chicken.

Cute baby chicken

Four baby chickens will join the homestead the week of March 19th: 1 buff orpington, 2 australorps, and 1 ameracauna.