Monthly Archives: February 2012

Gray Water #2 The Backbone

I received the material for my gravity fed drip irrigation system this past week. The system I am using is from www.irrigray.com . Their site is a wealth of information. Before deciding on irrigrays drip approach I did a lot of research, http://oasisdesign.net/ , is a good starting point with a wealth of knowledge that isn’t built on fad theories. 
My system is basically a gravity fed laundry to landscape system, the starting point of which is a surge tank. Don’t confuse this with a storage tank, gray water contains to many proteins and other nutrients and if held for more than a few hours will get funky. As you can see I am using a durable garbage can. 

The kit came with a fitting to easily tap into the surge tank. I drilled a 3/4″ hole approximately 3″ above the bottom of the tank, inserted a tight fitting rubber grommet, and then inserted a fitting that was a force fit in the grommet thus creating a watertight seal. The other end is a standard barbed fitting for 3/4″ poly irrigation tubing. The valve you see is only for system service and maintenance, when the system is in operation this valve will always be open.

As you can see that 3/4″ poly line goes past my irrigation valves, along a ditch, then comes back up and is run above ground in my orchard area.
I still need to install a 400 micron filter somewhere in the line before it gets to the orchard area, then install the 1/2″ dripperline that has 2 gph droppers installed every 12″ along its length. I plan on doing all of that next week which should be right on schedule for the start of the irrigation season here in Vegas. I did see one of my trees beginning to put out the tiniest little leaves today.
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Gray Water #1 The BS

As I mentioned in my first post I am planning on irrigating my Backyard Orchard with Gray Water from my laundry. During my research I discovered that in the state of Nevada it is not currently legal to use Gray Water for irrigation, apparently the Southern Nevada Water Authority has successfully opposed every piece of legislation introduced that would have enabled the use of Gray Water by anyone other than themselves.

The news articles I have found talk about the SNWA believing that a purchaser of water only has the right to use it once then return it for industrial scale treatment and return to the Colorado River. The purpose of returning the water to the Colorado is so that the SNWA can get return credits that allow them to draw more water out of the Colorado and sell it to the same customer that just gave it back.

I’m curious just how many people the water in the Colorado River has literally passed through before it makes it to our taps here in Las Vegas? and is it true that our intake is downstream of the outflow from the water treatment plants? if so how many times does the SNWA sell the same water before allowing it to go downstream?

All that aside I am still going to go forward with my gray water irrigation system, or rather my gravity fed drip irrigation system that will have multiple sources of makeup water. I plan on locating my surge tank where I can eventually install gutters and divert what little rain we get into it, second I am going to run a line from a spare valve on my irrigation system so I can fill it up during dry spells, and third I am going to install a 3 way valve on the outlet from my washing machine and route one side to my septic system and the other into the surge tank.

Additionally I have already started contacting my State Legislators and my Representatives on SNWA’s board. Initially I have just asked for their opinion on the subject, so far only my County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani has responded. Chris supports the practice but was unsuccessful getting legislation pushed through. My next step will be to educate my representatives about the merits of Gray Water recycling, so if anyone knows of good source material please let me know! 

Overview

Lorri, my sister, made me this really nice plot plan of my Orchard/Chicken Yard
Currently my chickens and ducks have the run of the whole area. The only interest the chickens have shown in my trees so far is scratching in the mulch and turned over dirt, the ducks love mucking around in the basins around each tree when I’m watering. The plan is to let them free range in amongst the trees, their appetite for insects is voracious and I figure that as long as they don’t damage the trees that can only be a good thing. 

I’m not quite sure where this guy came from. He likes to think he’s all that but gets his butt kicked regularly by the other roo’s. If he was gonna stick around longer I’d probably name him Mark,

 This group of 4 chooks are barnyard mutts and the product of my first attempt at incubating eggs from my own flock!

A cooperative effort

Whatcha puttin in there? 

My Ducken, He was a surprise, I thought I had an
incubator full of chicken eggs. He still hangs with
his nest mates and doesn’t want anything to do with
the Kool Krew

The Kool Krew just hang in out!

Fond Memories

Today is my Sister Lorri’s Birthday, the passed year or so has been filled with a lot of ups and downs for us. The roadtrip that Lorri memorialized with this video was a big turning point for my relationship with her. Lorri, my son Brian, and myself went on a voyage of discovery to an amazing place from our youth, our Father and Grandfathers Goldmine. Growing up we had spent summers living in tents 80 miles from nowhere in Northern Nevada. For me it was a place of incredible memories and for my son Brian I can only imagine it was the source of many a “Big Fish” tale from nights spent with his Grandpa.


As you can tell from the video we didn’t quite make it back to that wonderful place we were seeking. For me though that was only in the most literal sense, our fathers death and the resulting turmoil had created a lot of tension between Lorri and I, this trip took me back to the little brother that knew he could always count on his big sister. I realize now that the best road trips do reach their destination, it’s just that sometimes that destination isn’t a spot on the map.
Happy Birthday Lorri! I love You!

Max

Eggs & Pomegranates

What a beautiful day to be working in the orchard. My nephew Steven spent the night and came up to the little house with Brian and I this morning to do a little work. Brian dug the hole for my Pink Lady apple and our little flock of ducks, aka the “Kool Krew”, helped get all of the air pockets out after I backfilled.
The “Kool Krew” 

Steven attacked the hated oleanders on either side of the gate with loppers and a sawzall. I truly hate oleanders and just can’t understand why people insist on planting them, they look fake, are poisonous to livestock, trigger migraines, and are just plain invasive. But maybe those are endearing qualities to some people. We planted 2 pomegranates to either side of the gate along the fence row spaced 4′ apart, to the right there is a Sweet and an Eversweet, while to the left we planted Kasmir and Granada.

 Steven also found where my Easter Egger Pullets were laying, and I remembered my little incubator. So in 21 days I hope to have some pics of pippin and zippin!

Slow Day

I had big plans for a full day working in my Orchard/Chicken Run but some kind of cold bug had a different idea. The third apple going in did arrive and I picked it up this morning, it is a Pink Lady. This variety is rated very high out at the UNCE orchard, one of the Master Gardners was able to get 9 shipped in when the orchard didn’t receive any this year. When I got there this morning and mentioned I was picking up a Pink Lady everyone got kind of furtive looks and said “oh we couldn’t get any this year” but when they showed up it was all hush hush like I was picking up contraband! Kinda neat bein in on the “secret” shipment! Again those volunteers out there are the GREATEST and obviously love what they’re doing!

Now for some picks of my Chooks! This is my crazy teenage crowd of pullets takin a dust bath. And a single shot of one of the Easter Eggers I got as 3 week olds last fall.

These girls below all came out of my hens, I’m not sure who each ones momma is, but other than the red one its obvious that their daddy was the big mean white and black rooster I got rid of. 
These 6 Handsome Devils, grrrrr, below are my marans. I was hoping for pullets (young hens) but so far everyone thinks they’re cockerels (young roosters) hence the grrrrrrr!

I plan on getting rid of my other roosters and keeping a couple of my Marans Roosters. That way if I do happen to get lucky and some of these are hens I will get purebred Marans. In addition I should get olive eggers out of my easter egger hens.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a productive day!?!

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