Friday, April 30, 2010

Rain Barrel Installation: Part 2

Ok, so we have a stand. Next step, actually hooking up the rain barrel to the gutter. We started by getting the stand where we wanted (and leveled) and then put the rain barrel on top. The next step is to get a hacksaw and cut the downspout at least 12 inches above the top of the rain barrel.

So far, pretty easy. Now, we have to trim the cut-off part of the downspout so that it will fit back on to the diverter. We followed the directions for size, but we actually used regular scissors to cut the gutter.

Next, we slipped the diverter onto the hanging downspout.

Then we placed the cut off downspout onto the overflow and strapped it back down, using the gutter strap that was already there. The kit came with about 3 ft of white tubing to connect the diverter to the rainbarrel, so we had to trim it down.

And that's it! The rain barrel is ready to use.

In the final episode of "Rain Barrel Installation", I'll tell you about the watering system I'm using for my veggie garden.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Rain Barrel Installation: Building a Stand

It's a beautiful Sunday morning in my backyard - the birds are singing, the lilacs smell amazing - and I can see our newly installed rain barrel. While it was a big project, now that it's all done, I feel that I can say that most people would be able to get this done with a little help from a friend. Doing a project together is always more fun than going it alone anyway.

So, the first step to installing a rain barrel is building a stand - unless you live on a hill. Since rain barrels have no water pressure, elevating them uses gravity to push water through the hose. We decided to make our stand about 2 ft high.

1 - 4" x 4" x 8'
2" x 4" (we have a bunch of these that were used for a project & then disassembled. We ended up using about 28' worth.)
Outdoor rated screws - 3" long
Wood stain/treatment - we used a color called Canyon Brown
Table saw
Measuring tape
T-square (or something that helps you see when things are at nice 90 degree angles)

Unfortunately, Lowe's can't cut 4" x 4"s. We used our table saw, but quite possibly you could find a local lumber yard that would be willing to help you out for a small fee.

First, we built the base. Obviously, the 4" x 4"s were the legs.

We left the front bottom open because eventually, overflow from the gutter will end up coming out there. Our cuts weren't perfectly straight, but they were close enough. Even though we used our angle checker thing-a-ma-bob, we still had to tweak it a little - but that was easy enough.

Then we added the top. We left spaces in between the 2" to keep the weight down a little, and to keep water from puddling up on top. I'm sure you could use 1" x 4"s instead, we just have the 2"x 4"s already, and we like to reuse.

Finally, we stained the whole thing - we want it to be pretty water-resistant & last a long time, so we covered the stand pretty thoroughly.
Huge thanks to Steve for all of his work on this project. He is patient & thoughtful, and I couldn't ask for a better partner for any kind of project!

Up next: Installing the rain barrel!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Earth Day Sale from the Etsy Trashoin Team

To promote environmental awareness and celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day,
the Etsy Trashion Team is having a sale on Etsy for just one week:
April 16th through April 22nd.

The Trashion Team is a group of artists that creates art, jewelry, fashion and objects for the home from materials that were leftover, discarded, or found, and sell them on Etsy.

Trashion Team members will run promotions in their Etsy shops ranging from free shipping, to free gift with purchase, to up to 20% off. Visit these shops on Etsy for specific details about each participating artist’s sale:

Help promote environmental awareness. Visit the Etsy Trashion team blog
and the team Facebook Fan page during the Earth Day Sale Event April 16-22.

Trashion is all about bringing out the beauty in unconventional objects and materials. For team members, recycling is an art and an ideal. The Etsy Trashion Team is a group on Etsy for those interested in trashion. Etsy is a website which provides the general public with a way to buy and sell handmade items as well as vintage items and craft supplies.

Friday, April 2, 2010

An eco-tip that's a little ... batty.

Yesterday, my honey and I installed a bat box! (And by 'I', I mean that I handed him tools while he was 10 ft. up on the ladder.) We are really excited about this because in past summers, our yard has been overtaken by mosquitoes. Since we live in an urban area, it's hard for us to control things (like standing water) that encourages mosquito breeding.

A few bat facts ...
Most US bats eat insects. A single bat can eat up to 1,200 mosquitoes in one hour.
Fewer than 0.5% of bats have rabies. Since 1960 there have only been 40 reported cases of humans getting rabies from bats.
Bats like to come out to eat at night around dusk. Bats flight pattern is much more erratic than birds so look for this pattern.

We bought our bat house at Lowe's, but there are plans to help you build your own! Here's a link to several plans: