I am joining Kate, Gun and the other Happy Scrappers with another project made entirely from Scrap. The links below will take you to an inspiring group of people who work in a range of materials to make something out of waste.
Kate, Gun, Eva, Sue, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Tracy,
Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn, Jule, Gwen,
Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L, Vera, Edith
Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Carol, Preeti,
Debbierose, Nóilin, Viv, Karrin,
Amo and Alissa
My offering this month is another garden project.
I can see in my mind’s eye a gallery of confused faces and hear a chorus of ‘What the….?’
Last year we almost ran out of rainwater on the veg patch. I only water the greenhouses and newly planted stuff outside. I had 2 IBC tanks (one out of sight in this picture) each holding 1000 litres and 3 waterbutts but it was only just enough despite careful rationing. The tanks fill from the greenhouse roofs and the shed roof and they plus one butt are linked by syphons (hence the tangle of hosepipe snakes on top of the tank on the right) so that I can dip the watering cans easily but the butt refills automatically. This year has been very dry so far and the stream is at its summer level. Of course the tanks are full and we may have a very wet summer but there is already talk of hosepipe bans ahead so storing water is important. At house level I had another tank collecting from the workshop roof which was hardly ever used. So Laura and I decided it would be better to move it up to the veg level and join it to the system. That is the one on the left ogf the picture.
Each tank is surrounded by a metal cage to hold it in shape and tank plus cage together are very heavy. Two metal bars at the top hold the cage together and the bolts which hold them in place on the one to be moved were seriously rusted. So the first job was to use the angle grinder to cut off the nuts from the bolts. Then we syphoned all the water out, tipped the whole thing on its side and slid the plastic tank out of the cage. Each, in turn, was loaded onto a trolley and roped on then towed up the hill. We got to the top and discovered the gateway was just too narrow so out came the gatepost!
The only place the tank could go without being a nuisance and narrowing the path too much was on the end of the compost bins. Which meant it was on the opposite side of the path to the greenhouses. A hosepipe across the path would be a problem so it would have to be raised up. Another of the tanks is on the wrong side of a path – it collects off the shed roof – but I was able to attach the hose to the gable end of the greenhouse. This latest tank had no such useful structure. Time to get creative!
Luckily I already had a very long syphon tube which was not in use. All my syphons need to be longer than that so have had to be extended. They start with what Amazon sell as a ‘gas syphon’ (gas as in petrol) for emptying fuel tanks. But they are only 1m long. I tried attaching hosepipe with the standard garden hose connectors but they allow air to seep in breaking the syphon action. So I use a short piece of copper pipe taken out of the house at some point (hence the plastic joint in the middle of this one), heat the end of the syphon tube in a jug of hot water and stretch it over the copper, securing it with a jubilee hose clip. Ditto the hosepipe. And now I have a really long tube. The gas syphon has a ball bearing and spring in the end which you jiggle fast in the water of the sending tank leaving the other end on the ground until water runs out of the open end. Then you put a thumb over that open end and put it into the receiving tank. As long as the open end is below the sending end it will run. And once both ends are under water you can do what you like with the middle and it will keep working – as long as you don’t pull on of the ends above the water in which case it stops! It is fiddly but I have learned the hard way to tie each end of the pipe to the tank cage before moving the middle! Three lengths of left over slate batten ( yes, the same stuff as I used for the doors in last months post) fixed together and to the cages made an arch. Then more cable ties to attach the tube to the arch, adjusting the pip[es so that both ends were at the bottom of the tank in case they run very low, and the job was done. I have to confess that the cable ties were not exactly scrap – I buy large packets and keep them in stock. But everything else was.