"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Sprinkles and the importance of catching them

Last week the weather site I use which is based in Norway predicted that a lot of welcome rain was headed our way.
91.2 mm of rain was predicted

The palpable excitement from RMan and I was almost hysterical.  The first thing we did was to move the (small) balance of the rainwater from the water tanks near the house up to the storage tanks at the top of the property, so that it could be gravity fed wherever it was needed in future.

I also used the opportunity to plant some chitting potatoes into alpaca poo - it is an amazing nutrient rich growing medium, and whatever I have planted in the poo has produced wonderfully.

I duly went to the poo pile to collect some poo - filled up the bucket I was using (RMan was busy with our only wheelbarrow) and started trotting back to where I had the potato pots.  I didn't see the hole.
Alpaca poo pile in the background, with tree hole
midway between the alpaca poo and the camera
Yup - I fell in the hole.  The pot of alpaca poo I was carrying went flying, and I landed heavily on my right hand side, cracking or breaking a rib.  Googling whether it was worth schlepping to the doctor 30kms away, I found out that there is nothing they can do about that kind of injury - unless  the rib is broken and has pierced a lung.  Thankfully, I avoided that severe an injury, but I have not been a happy puppy - cracked or broken, it hurts - and laughing, hiccoughing, coughing or sneezing - even yawning - anything that causes the ribs to expand - those actions all hurt enough to cause the action to be halted half way.  Incomplete yawns (a very dissatisfying feeling), sneezes that get stuck in your nose, etc... ;)

I have been advised not to make any strenuous movements, so RMan is making beds, hanging up washing on the washline, etc.  Bless him.

So, our stock of medicines on hand (and, specifically here, I'm talking about anti-inflammatories) once again came to the rescue.  The wonders of analgesics (picture a dopey grin now LOL)

Add to that the fact that we have been rushing through internet bandwidth this past month - and I've been distracted of late.  It turns out that RMan's old, and new iPhones (given with the new contract he took out at the end of June this year when his old one expired), have been trying to upate the software - and with our erratic internet connection that meant that if it (they) failed 99.9% of the way through, it just started all over again from the bloody beginning.  The update is 765Mb in size. You do the maths LOL  With Wayne's assistance I finally discovered that it was the phones that were using the bandwidth and once their updates were switched off (uhmmmmmm - that only happened only on Monday 29th with the newest phone), sanity prevailed once again. We only have a 5Gb / month package, and I had to purchase an extra 4 Gb to see us through the month.  Grrrrr!!!! (guess what - I'm not mad about iPhones).

Anyway, back to the expected rainfall. 
The smaller white tank was sited where the grey
shape is.  Having purchased more downpipe
it now reached to the new position.
When the builders were finished, because we didn't have enough downpipe, we had dumped the small white tank just below the one downpipe next to the garage.  But, the tank was leaning to one side and digging into the ground.  So we emptied it out and moved it to a more secure spot next to the big rainwater tank.

We were ready...
32mm of very welcome rain gratefully

We didn't exactly get 91.2mm - more 32.0 mm - but, 32mm is better than nothing :)
That down pipe is fed by this one visible side of our
garage roof.  The length of our garage is 9mtrs X
+/- 4 mtrs wide.
The white tank in the photo was emptied
and cleaned out by moi when we moved it.  So we
know that every drop of water that is now in that
tank came from the 32mm of rain which fell over
the (extended) weekend.
Our garage roof area is 9 X 4 mtrs (36mtr2).  36mtrs2 of roof collected 750 ltrs of rain water in one tank. 
If you click on the pic you'll see that the water
level is sitting at just over 750lts/ 200 gal.
Considering that that amount of water was collected from one of our smaller roof areas,  and given that we have 72mtr2 of garage roof and 156mtrs2 of house roof surface area, we have been able to calculate that we scored roughly 4500 - 5000ltrs in total in all our tanks from that 32mm of rain.

If we did not have those tanks, we would have had to use that 4500lts-odd from our municipal water supply in the future.

The 32mm of rain was not enough to markedly make any difference to our dam water level.

Our top three tanks are more or less full, our 3 X 5000lt tanks next to the house are half full, so using municipal water will not be necessary at the moment :)

How much roof space do you have?  Do you have rainwater collecting tanks?


DFW said...


So sorry about your fall. We just dug up our dead oaks & hubby had the forsight to put a board with pink tape tied to the end so we didn't fall in, or have someone drive in. Rib injuries are terrible, hope you feel better soon.

Vicki said...

Oh, Dani! I'm so sorry you were hurt. That's got to be miserable. I hope you heal fast.

That's an ingenious method of collecting rain water. Looks like a lot of thought went into it. It's a good thing you and your husband think outside the box, especially in times of drought. It has been raining off and on here for a couple of days. Wish I could send it your way. :)

MsBelinda said...

I am sorry to hear about your fall and broken rib. I wish you a speedy recovery.

I do not have an official water catchment system just use buckets but I hope to have one when I move to Terlingua. I am glad to hear to got some liquid gold in yours.

Sol said...

OMG I hope you are feeling better! Ouch. Get well soon!

We have quite a few rain butts.

Dani said...

DFW - We normally wouldn't leave gaping holes fro someone to fall into - we dug them at the end of summer, and decided not to plant the trees as the season wasn't right. Filling them in again - the ground was too hard - like cement, so we just left them open.

I should walk with my eye's open ;)

Dani said...

Vicki - Whatever "fresh" water we can scrounge, the better off we are :) Anyway, rainwater for the garden is preferable to municipal water...

Dani said...

MrsB - When you make the move you'll always wish you had more water storage LOL

Dani said...

Sol - Excellent - I'm sure you appreciate that water too :)

Leigh said...

Oh Dani, how horrible that you were hurt with that fall! Yikes! I hope it heals soon. We've got 5 of those tanks like your smaller one but Dan would love to have a 1000 gallon one!

Dani said...

Leigh - S'funny, no matter how many tanks you have, you always think you need more - especially when the weather is as dry as it's been this winter :)

Harry Flashman said...

Dani! I'm sure sorry you got hurt. I fell off a ladder and broke three ribs years ago. It was SO PAINFUL. And as they told you, there's not much you can do.

I got hauled to the hospital and they kept me overnight. I was all dirty because I had been working. I could barely move but I wanted to take a shower. The nurse said I couldn't because she "didn't have anyone she could send into the shower with me at that moment." I told her she had that right. Then I went in and took my shower!

A few years later we had a big snow, and the dogs came running down off the top of the meadow, ran into me, knocked me up in the air, and I broke the same ribs again!

Don't try to lift things til you are better, and be really, really slow and deliberate in all your movements. I promise, if you try to bend over to put on your shoes or something like that, you'll see stars!

Dani said...

Hmmmm - Harry, I've already experienced the shoe thing LOL

Ouch, I feel for you - breaking ribs twice - once is more than enough. I'm craving a really deep breath of air though LOL

Diana Studer said...

cracked rib once, yes. Rain tanks 2 here, thinking about the next house where it won't be so hot or the garden so big?

The cell phone eating data happened to my niece last week, in time to warn me to set my brand new silly phone NOT to update unless I ask you too. We have Telkom data but still, ask first.

I do wish you a quick return to comfortable movement.

Dani said...

Diana -Trust me - in the heat of summer, even southern Cape Town is hot! Maybe not the stiffling heat of where you currently are, but garden plants take punishment none the less. And, then you have beach sand soil to take into account, and the drying, constant south easterly wind too. A rain water barrel, or two or three, will not go amiss, I promise ;)