It’s interesting to think about all the water we use on a daily basis and why we should learn how to turn rain into usable water. I’m not talking about turning the water into a drinkable source for the family but I am referring to using the water around the homestead. That’s why we thought it was important to learn How to Turn Rain Water into Usable Water .
The United States Geological Survey states that on average, a person uses 80-100 gallons of water per day. Want to guess what is the largest users of water in the house? The toilet and shower/bath…I can vouch for that in my house. With two “tweens” and a husband who likes to take multiple baths each day, it’s not surprising.
We have always collected water in rain barrels but have never really had a purpose for the collection (other than collecting mosquitoes)! After we built our chicken coop we decided it would be a perfect time to put our rain barrels to work for us. We wanted to turn rain water into usable water!
Over 10 years ago my husband acquired five plastic barrels from a co-worker. They were clean and ready to be re-purposed. So, those barrels lived on the edge of our building, collecting rain off the roof for all those years. Then we decided to turn that rain water into usable water.
How to Turn Rain Water into Usable Water – Supplies
Before the barrels were retrofitted we built a rack to hold the barrels high enough to fill a 5-gallon bucket. This would make it easy to access the water because we could take advantage of gravity and it would especially help with the watering bucket for the chickens.
My husband researched multiple ways to convert the barrels and decided to put water valves on each barrel in order to access the water. He drilled a hole in each barrel near the bottom, on the side. The male and female coupling were added on both sides of the hole with a rubber washer on the inside of the barrel.
He then added the valves to each barrel.
He then decided it would work best to hook all the pipes together thus the water could be equally used from each barrel and help with the water pressure.
The water system turned out great and has worked like a charm because we don’t have to carry water from the house. This “How to Turn Rain Water into Usable Water” post is an easy project for any homestead. The day after we finished the project, it began to rain so the barrels started filling up quick!
As spring came around this year we decided to expand the homestead by adding some chickens. We started with four baby chicks but knew they would soon outgrow the homemade brooder we made out of an old dresser. So we decided to write a post on “How to Build a Chicken Coop Like a Boss”!
We wanted to make sure the coop was large enough to expand our flock, a place to keep our feed, and access to the nesting boxes without entering the coop area. My husband did a lot of research on different coop designs and layouts and we settled on one that had a front feed room and a back coop. The coop has a covered run in the back.
How to Build a Chicken Coop Like a Boss – The BuildWe started the project by laying out the corners and leveling the foundation supports. The interior and exterior walls were framed next. We added hinged doors on the back side of the nests and a door to divide the feed room from the coop. The nesting boxes were framed into the center wall and this is my favorite part of the entire project! The nesting boxes came from my great Grandpa’s chicken coop!
While my husband was handling the carpentry details inside. The kids and I nailed up the siding on the outside allowing us to do more than one thing at a time. The boards came from our local sawmill. They still cut wood with a huge old fashioned circular saw.
The roof and the tin were installed along with the vents. BetterHensAndGardens.com explains why chicken coop venting is important in the article, Keep Coops Ventilated.
Next, window installation. We used recycled windows we found in our family’s barn and hinged them to swing out. The last step was to build the run on the back. We used cedar posts as the frame for the run since cedar holds up better to the weather. We closed in the run with chicken wire, added a door and created a ramp for the chickens to enter/exit the coop.
How to Build a Chicken Coop Like a Boss – The ExtrasI added flower boxes under each window and my husband wired the house so we could have lights and electrical outlets. We also made a PVC feeder and use a water bucket with nipples.
The chickens seem right at home and immediately used the roosts in the coop. If you want more information about how to build a chicken coop like a boss email us!
You can also check out some free coop plans at “61 DIY Chicken Coop Plans & Ideas that are Easy to Build and 100% Free”!
Update 5/28/17 – After having a week of rain, my husband decided to add a small awning to the front door of the coop. This would keep the rain off the door and keep us out of the rain.
I always love learning about things from days gone by. I am fascinated by the old wives tales and rituals because they were used by my Grandparents. One ritual they followed was using the moon calendar to plant their garden. They also wrote the high and the low temperatures for each day on the calendar hanging in their kitchen.
But this wasn’t just any ordinary calendar. It was Ramon’s Calendar. The calendars were given out to customers who frequented the local country stores and they were a hot commodity. The Brownie Ramon calendar has been published since 1876 and has a plethora of information. It tells the best time to go fishing, signs of the Zodiac, seasons of the year, moon calendar and sunrise/sunset.
My Grandpa lived and died by the moon calendar for his gardening because this was what he had been taught. He followed the age-old belief that phases of the moon affected plant growth thus always relying on the Ramon calendar for guidance.
How Gardening By Moon Calendar Works
Gardening by the Moon Calendar is a great way to plan your above and below ground crops.
The easiest way to start planting by the moon is to find your zone and find the moon cycle for that time of the year and then make a garden plan. Tomatoes are one of the easiest plants to start in your garden and could be used to trial the moon calendar theory. Bonnie Big Boy Tomato Plants are a popular tomato, are great for sandwiches, and are nice a juicy!
There are many resources on the internet for researching this information. On Timeanddate.com you can input your specific location and find the moon cycle for your area.
Meal planning has been one of the best ways to add money back into our family budget! You can save with meal planning too! Before I implemented a process for meal prep I would inevitably forget to thaw the protein for dinner or even worse, forget to plan a meal. This was a problem and created major issues due to our limited time at home.
Eating this way was unhealthy since frozen processed foods (yuck) was an easy “fix” to my lack of planning. It could also be expensive. Understand, we live in rural North Carolina. Choosing to eat “out” instead of cooking, constituted at minimum a thirty-minute drive. So, not only were we spending money on food, we were also wasting time and gas. Can you hear the money flying out of our pockets!
After analyzing our budget, I realized we were spending $500+ a month unnecessarily and decided to do something about it! More posts to come about budget analysis and money saving tips.
Our Plan to Save $500 a Month with Meal Planning My first step to meal planning was finding meals. My family cooked three square meals a day from scratch….that’s really hard to do as a working mom. The decision was made to focus on meals that had easy, quick prep and cook times and did not compromise on quality (30 minute meals). Modifying homemade recipes from my grandma also became regular recipes that would accommodate our modern needs.
I created a list of about 25 meals, which is plenty of meals to cover the month (we only go out for dinner one night a week/weekend). After creating my list I began laying them out on a monthly calendar. Although I am all about my iCalendar, this is one thing I like to see, touch and feel in person. This calendar is hanging in my kitchen and it’s where I keep our meal plan.
At the end of each month I pull out my recipe list and cross reference the day/meal based on other events on the calendar. This is very important. If I plan a meal but don’t have enough time to cook it, then I have the tendency to ditch the meal. The calendar also generates the items for my grocery list (I do my perishable item shopping once a week and buy pantry items once a month).