I have never thought of myself as handy, but recently I surprised myself and build a rain catcher out of old pipes. I found my dad’s old welder in the barn and in minutes, I had an effective and efficient means of collecting rain water to save money on irrigation. I am so glad he didn’t give it away when he moved off the premises. Water can be expensive on a farm and during the rainy season it pays to be a little industrious. It was an experiment, but it soon paid off. I could then apply the budget to the summer season when rainfall is infrequent.
A welder is not an easy tool and you have to read up on it or get a demonstration. I did both. Thank heaven for sites like YouTube and Rate My Welder. It is amazing how many things you can find on video in the “how to” category—even cutting and welding. The rain catcher was my own design and consisted of some metal sheeting left over from a repair job last year. I just added a pipe for drainage and a receptacle for storage. With a hose system, I could access the collected water and tie it into the existing irrigation system. I have read that people on islands use water catchers all the time such as Bermuda or the Bahamas. You see them on the roof adjacent to a tank mounted on the side of the house. Apparently this primitive technology is old as the hills.
There are times and places when you want to be totally self-sufficient. It can be by necessity or choice. There is no time when you don’t want to conserve funds for another project or use on the farm. Upkeep is endless. I pride myself, as an organic farmer, on being practical and creative. I am not among the big operators on corporate enterprises. I am still old school. While irrigation is certainly nothing new, you have to be near a water source and I am lucky that there is one nearby. The problem is that it is a utility regulated by the local municipality and they charge a specified rate. It is all part of the process, but I am thrilled that I have found a way to beat the system, at least for a while.
The savings will go to needed repairs and improvements and an expansion of the growing capacity of the farm. I have done well at the regional farmer’s market and have a multitude of clients who need organic produce on a daily basis. I sell seasonal items and homemade preserves. People want pesticide-free food grown under natural conditions. And what could be more natural than rain water? I have big plans for the future in spite of the market chain competitors. Thanks to the renewed interest in health and nutrition, my kind of crops are increasingly in demand. I expect that this ensures my future!