Grey Water

June 17, 2008 at 10:04 am Leave a comment

We’ve had a very fortunate Spring at the Piedmont house this year. Generous and well-timed rains have caused all the vegetation to thrive — even the wee bit planted purposefully in the backyard. But as I was walking out to hang some laundry recently I noticed that the grass was dry and crackly under my bare feet and when I planted the beans on Sunday I had to water them in with the hose. No fortunately timed help on that one from the Goddess. In short, we’ve entered the hot-and-dry portion of the year and won’t see appreciably rain here until next October.

One of the specific problems with raising vegetables at the Piedmont house is that water is quite an expensive commodity. Whether I use a drop or up to 3,000 gallons a month, I pay a flat fee of $39.90/month. If I inch above 3,000 gallons the fee increases. It increases proportionately for awhile but there is some tipping point where one moves onto the next rung and the price simply doubles. Believe me that $80/month is not part of my budgetary outlook for water service.

Throughout the year, it’s no problem whatsoever to keep my usage below the 3,000 gallon mark. In fact, I suspect that I generally don’t use any large percentage of that total. But when I’m trying to bring the garden through the droughty, hot summer it’s quite easy to tip up into the expensive category.

This morning I was lolling about in bed and stewing over how I was going to support my vegetables now that the steady rains have stopped when my mind happened to land on the issue of how I was going to collect and dillute the pee I collect on Saturday for Crunchy Chicken’s Golden Showers Challenge. That made me remember that I had a big five gallon white plastic bucket around somewhere — a holdover from a mail-order beer-making kit. When the Kid was an infant, I used it to catch the second rinse from his diapers to use on the garden.

Duh. Slowly, my problems and their solution swirled around in cosmic synergy (or something like that) and I realized that I have been letting a lot of very expensive water swoosh down the drains around here instead of taking the next step and initiating a system for collecting it and using it on the garden. Shower warm-up water; hand dish washing warm-up water; leftover hand dish washing water. All can be reasonably collected and lugged out to the backyard vegetable patch. And to top it all off, I’ll get some great exercise toting all that water around. I hand watered both the garden and my barnyard animals as a child as we had no outside water spigots on the farm where I was raised. So, I’m not unaware of the labor involved in this proposition. But, it does give me a possibility for bringing the garden through the hot, dry summer without exponentially increasing my water bill. Hooray!

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Entry filed under: gardening, Piedmont.

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