20 comments on “Waiting for rain…..

  1. Our lawns are suffering too. We’re having sporadic snow which surprisingly has now disappeared, twice, in the space of a day. Not so green, but very boggy and brown where they’ve been walked on.

    • Too much water does as much damage as not enough doesn’t it. I would welcome a bit of snow though, it isn’t too hot today, only 27c, but yesterday was so hot I was surprised that the washing didn’t spontaneously combust!

  2. Your have constructed either a great piece of engineering or a great art installation…
    But, it is worth going to great lengths to keep a bit of green lawn in the yard 😉 Otherwise that good water would just go down the drain or through the septic… no good to anyone then. At TA the washing water goes out through a similarly long hose along the side of the house down slope to the front lawn. Seeing as the G.O. ‘did’ the plumbing when he renovated the house, the kitchen sink water, and inside bathroom sink & shower water go into 2 different areas in the side garden – once you realise, it is obvious, as the side garden is out of control with the biggest Dracaena’s (Happy Plants) I have ever seen fighting with various other plants for dominance, and with the huge bottle brush tree next to the septic. The rest of the yard, well, just gets by with water from the sky…
    Once we move there, we will need to build shed/s and add a couple of more tanks to the 2 tanks we have. Plus like at my old house, any roof area that doesn’t feed into the tanks we’ll install plastic chains down from the gutters into the garden. Free water unless you count the cost of tanks etc… and better than buying water, or pumping from the river, so waste not, want not. Even my MIL who has town water supply, and pays for it, a country woman born and bred, has a bucket in the laundry tub which when full is chucked out the back door into the garden.

    • I wish I had thought to call it art when the Man first spotted it and said “What the F…?” It is worth the effort to keep things a bit greener though.

      When we first moved here years ago there was nothing that even vaguely resembled grass. All we had was moss that thrived on the clay soil during winter when the rain had trouble draining away. As soon as the weather got warmer it was a race between the sun and the rabbits to kill it off. Now it is partly grass and partly weeds but if it is green it gets to stay. With my help this year fortunately the grass is slowly winning the battle. I’m with your MIL, I have a square bucket in the sink to catch all the hand and fruit and veg rinsing water to chuck out on the grass too.

      We are on town water here but I would love to have a tank off every bit of roof. Then I could water the grass and veg to my hearts desire 🙂

  3. A nice man came out a couple of weeks ago to tell me about the [BLOODY AWFUL] sewerage system planned for Warrandyte. They’ll be collecting waste on site and then pumping it UP HILL to a collection point on the road. 😦 Guess who pays the cost of that pumping? Anyway, he said all the water from my block would be collected and carted off-site. I said no. Can you imagine what a moonscape it would be if we didn’t have greywater to keep things alive? As it is I think the gums that depend on the septic lines are going to die off. And this is supposed to be the environmentally ‘friendly’ solution… 😦 Certain people have their heads so far up their alimentary canals they can see daylight when they yawn.

    • Uphill? The pumping and collecting of waste sounds like it would cancel out any convenience/good the installation of sewerage might do.

      We are on sewerage here so I have to make an effort to get the water into the garden and I’m not sure I would want a septic with three blokes in the house…. The horror of an overload would be too much to bear!! Nevertheless, change for the sake of change is not good at all, I don’t blame you for saying no.

      • I thought being on septic would be awful but there’s a guy just down the road who comes to empty the tank out [note to self must ring him] and it’s not that horrible at all.

        I believe the push to provide sewerage has something to do with septics leaking into local waterways. Never did get a real answer as to why gravity feed is not an option. You’d think it would be cheaper to just find out which septic systems are leaking and get them fixed. 😦

        • I guess something from all the septic tanks end up in the local groundwater but fixing the ones that leak would probably be the best option. I would think that the people who are least likely to have the funds to put on the sewerage are the ones who won’t be able to fix their septic tanks either, problem still not solved…..

          I’m with you though, why do they have to pump it up the hill instead of putting the collection point DOWN hill?

          • Exactly! On both points. I joined the online forum about the proposed plans but it was soon obvious it was just a public relations effort to show they had ‘consulted’. 😦

            I suspect Yarra Valley Water ‘consulted’ with Nillumbik Shire Council first and this is the option the council wanted. Grrrr…

    • We have been living under stage 1 water restrictions for a long time. No washing cars or watering gardens or even looking covetously at a lawn sprinkler. 😉

      Now our water storages have recovered somewhat they have been relaxed slightly into permanent water saving measures but I think it would have been better to keep them strict since people were already trained into it. It does mean I get to water my vegies with a hose now so I shouldn’t really complain.

  4. I bought a second washing machine,put it on the back porch and added a short drain pipe to move the water away from the base of the house. Hey, whatever I plant there turns into Goliath. If I could plumb, I ‘d hook everything but the toilet up to wash out into the yard. Now we only use the indoor machine when its freezing outside.

    Try adding chopped leaves to the soil. Leaves can increase water retention by 80%. I live in Alabama, so I know what you’re talking about.

    • The washing machine outside is a good idea 🙂 Our back verandah is high in the air and quite rickety, if I put one out there I could imagine that the first spin cycle would see the entire contents flung into the neighbours garden, along with the washing machine and a splintered verandah!

      When we mow everything in the path of the mower gets chopped up (bar the big sticks and dog) in the hopes some of the goodness will be returned to the soil so I think that has been part of the lawns recovery. The problem is that our soil is hard clay and on a slope so everything wants to wash or blow away.

      I have a rectangular bucket the same size as my kitchen sink that lives in there and catches all the rinsing water for tossing out the back door. It is amazing how many times it fills up in a day sometimes and just goes to show how much water goes to waste for no reason. The garden certainly appreciates us making the effort to spread it around instead of letting it go down the drain.

  5. Growing up in South Africa during a 7-year drought, I remember so vividly the hosepipe bans, “if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down”, bricks in cisterns, desalinisation plants set-up etc. Each summer in Jo’burg though, we seem to have more rain, so crunchy lawns are only to be tolerated once or twice a summer. Even with the higher rainfall though, I still stick to the Calvinist water rationing of my childhod: baths are ridiculously shallow and all four of us share one; the garden is only watered once a week, if that, but we do flush more often these days 🙂

    We have tried to have less lawn and more indigenous garden. Our indigenous plants have evolved to live on very little water, as I assume have yours. I read in one of 23’s gardening books that a lawn is essentially a desert not supporting any life; its only use to prevent erosion. I would dig up your crunchy lawn and plant a forest. Instead of a football pitch, the kids can have a secret garden.

    • It is funny how once you are used to saving water you can’t change your behaviour back to the old ways. The Man waters the veg garden every second night and it hurts me to look. When I am in charge of watering it I walk up and down from the tap with a watering can making every drop count 🙂

      I like your secret garden suggestion but we have half an acre here and those photos above are pretty much the extent of lawn at the back of the house. I would love to live deep in a forest but this is a high bushfire risk area and it is far too dangerous to let things grow close to the house, planting anything nearby that will end up higher than ground level is just making a problem for the future and not recommended at all.

      When the water starts coming out of the grey water hose angry spiders and a variety of bugs covered in bubbles climb to the top of grass stalks escaping from their flooded burrows, it amazes me how many critters call that small patch home!

      The majority of our block of land is just native scrub with such a large population of lizards that in summer the dog is not allowed out off the lead, except at dawn and dusk when they have all gone home, as she hunts them down.
      Apart from those small patches of grass the rest is self-seeded native plants and trees with a few proper garden beds to make terraces to hold back the erosion. Our theory is they get one week of watering when they are planted and that is it. If they can’t survive on their own their dried up twiggy carcass is replaced by something who can.

      My dream is to somehow get the washing machine water up the hill to the back fence so it can run down and make the hill greener. It will never happen, too steep! A pity, as I look over the green bits to the dry hill but at least the water is making something greener, a far better option than letting it go down the drain! 😀

      • Gosh, yes, I’d forgotten about the bush fires! The news footage that we got over here for the recent spate was truly shocking. There was one photo of a family – a grandmother and her grandchildren – clinging on to a jetty at the bottom of their property while the fires raged around them that was just heartbreaking. Keep your crispy lawn and work on those grey water plans 🙂

        • I saw that footage too, what an unbelievable escape they had. I can imagine the parents were frantic until they found out that all were well.

          One of our friends was holidaying in that part of Tasmania at the time and ended up stuck in an evac centre with his tribe of kids for days before they could get back to the ferry to get home. I bet that going back to work after his holiday was a relaxing relief after an experience like that! 🙂

          We have had a pretty good summer so far with only a few days of fires nearby. As long as they stay near-by and not close-by it is kind of exciting for the kids, fire fighting helicopters use a dam (in reality a private lake) near us to get water, so they fly over the house shaking the windows all day and look very cool. It makes me happy that they fly past and don’t need to stop and drop it on us though! 😀

  6. Pingback: More water-saving | The Snail of Happiness

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