Myself, I'd rather die than sit and watch the Houston Texans play ball, but I've finally, finally got time to indulge an interest that has been on the back burner for years now: growing things.
It's actually not a development of a new interest so much as a return to roots, pun intended. I grew up in large part on my maternal family's extensive acreages. Gardening and living off the land to the extent possible were ways of life. There was no such term as "eco" this, that, or the other thing in those years - what is considered "eco" now was "normal" then.
Of course, that was one country, forty years, and eight climate zones ago, so I've got a hell of a learning curve to climb if I want to re-establish any part of that lifestyle! I began the ascent yesterday by picking up both a composter and a rain barrel at an outreach event orchestrated by the City of Houston, in which they sold the devices to citizens below retail cost.
|Y'all line up now for those barrels and composters. I got there early and there were still at least a hundred people ahead of me in the line. Downtown Houston skyline and a gorgeous fall sky in the background.|
The Earth Machine (made in Canada, eh?) was designed to sit directly on the ground, for maximum involvement of insects and worms in the composting process. However, sitting anything the slightest bit edible on the ground in greater Houston usually attracts an organism that could never be described as beneficial:
|I lined the bottom of the Earth Machine with hardware cloth. That way the worms and bugs can get in, but hopefully rodents will be excluded.|
|After getting the composter leveled and staked down, one is supposed to add a "carbon" layer. Because we have few leaves or straw here in brand-new suburbia, I'm crossing my fingers and using hardwood mulch.|
The earth will not be saved through the use of 55-gallon Systerns or anything remotely resembling them, but one has to start somewhere when one is fiddling with conservation-minded endeavors. At prevailing costs, this thing could be made to pay for itself in potable water savings over its lifetime, but just barely.
|I raised it up about eight inches to give it a little more head, and to make connecting the hose easier.|
|You just hacksaw off your downspout and reposition the elbow above the top of the Systern. Aesthetically, the thing almost looks like it was installed here when the house was built. The color is exactly the same as our house trim.|
|Because I put this on a house corner, I angled the overflow hose toward the existing splash pad for the twin downspout, but I will block the twin so that the run-off from both roof sections goes into the Systern.|
We finished the day with happy sunburns similar in color to the western sky: