Rain Barrel

My wife has always wanted a rain barrel and she finally got around to putting the effort in to purchase one.

She purchased the rain barrel from The Conservation Foundation:

http://www.theconservationfoundation.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=247&Itemid=200106

It was about $60 and from what I was told, it had been used originally to import olives.

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So this is where the rain barrel is going to be located.  There are two downspouts on the garage. (the other is in the backyard.)  Every decorative rock in my yard was brought there by me.  The picture does not show it very well but most of the rocks shown are blueish in color.  That’s my favorite rock color.  I do not know what kind of rocks they are because I really did not pay attention in Geology class in college !!  I also make things out of concrete and the bowl there is one that I made.  It is there for a birdbath and we get plenty of birds in our yards using the plethora of bird baths I made.

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Step 1:  Remove the rocks.  I have other spots in the yard where they can be used.

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Step 2:  Excavation and forming.  Not too much to it, dig a hole !

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Step 3:  CONCRETE DAY !!!  When I worked construction years ago, concrete days were the best days.  I forget how many bags of Quickcrete I mixed up but mixing and finishing only took about an hour.

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Step 4:  Strip the forms and a little landscaping.  I let the concrete cure for a couple of days and had the finished concrete covered with a small piece of plywood so the rain wouldn’t erode the newly finished concrete.

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Step 5:  Place the rain barrel.  It is placed on a platform about 12 inches high to get the watering can underneath it easily.

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I had to do a little work on the downspout.  There is a nice screen on the ingress of the rain barrel to keep out debris and insects.  We shouldn’t have any concern about stagnant water and mosquito larvae !!

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I had a piece of old damaged 5/8 inch garden hose that I cut for the overflow.

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This is the “Rain barrel” that I’ve had in the backyard for a number of years.  The yellow bucket is normally next to the black one to hold the overflow.

 

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Compost Day

The recent Memorial Day weekend was fantastic weather !!

After a very cold winter and a cool wet spring, this was the first real set of consecutive great days of weather.

So, I took advantage of this weather and used it to clean out my compost pile. (WOOOOOOOOOOOO, I’m a wild man !!)

 

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There she is !

This pile has been there probably since the end of last summer.  I put my household food waste into the blue garbage can and let it cook in there for a time.  I drilled some holes in the garbage can for drainage and ventilation.

I mow and bag a lot of my garden waste, and that gets tossed in the can for cooking as well.  I try not to put too many stems and stalks from plants as they don’t breakdown well enough.   In the fall, I mow/mulch my tree leaves really fine and that gets tossed on the pile and cooks there over the winter.

The pile that was there last spring was GREAT for digging huge worms out for fishing. (Mental note.. buy new fishing license)

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If you have a yard, you need to have a wheelbarrow.

About ten years ago I made the homemade sifter.  Just galvanized screen with 1/2 X 1/2 openings.

 

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Two good sized shovels full of the compost at a time.

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Give the screen a good shake, toss out the chunks and repeat until the wheelbarrow is full.

 

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All gone !!

I got over two full wheelbarrows of the sifted compost.

I can either use it straight up in planters or mix it with store bought potting soil or just mix it into the garden area.

 

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This is how much didn’t go through the screen.

 

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The current compost in the cooker gets dumped into the cleaned area.

 

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Getting it ready to go again.

 

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I put the chunks in a bucket and chopped it with a shovel, and after re-sifting, this is all that was left that will get tossed.

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Composting is really pretty simple, but it does require a little bit of work if you want it to come out the best it can.

Here, I took the extra time to chop/slice/dice our watermelon rind.

Also helps quite a bit if you turn it with a shovel every couple of days.

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And the process begins again !!!

Arctic Exploration 1884

From the Aurora Beacon, 05/14/1884, reprinted from the New York Sun:

The North Pole

It is a misapprehension to suppose the chief purpose of Arctic exploration is to reach the north pole.  The north pole has lingered in the schemes of scientific explorers only as a desirable incident in the carrying out of their work.  Geographers talk of the north pole quest pure and simple as an unscientific and puerile idea.  What explorers are really expected to do is to advance as far as practicable into the unknown region, to study its geography and make important scientific observations.  Captain Nares, nine years ago, had to halt 400 miles this side of the pole.  But his expedition was called a brilliant success, because he entered the great frozen sea north of this continent, explored the coast line for a distance of thirty-five degrees of longitude, and brought home a great mass of interesting scientific data.

The leading geographers assert that Arctic exploration is of immense value to the world, both in its scientific and its commercial aspects.  They say that winds, tides, terrestrial magnetism, meteorology and other important phenomena cannot be thoroughly investigated except under many different conditions of temperature and locality.  Among many triumphs of Arctic research they mention the fixing of the position of the true magnetic pole by Ross, the finding of a simple means of keeping the needle pointing to the true North in high latitudes, the discovery of the commercial mineral cryolite, and of the great whaling and sealing grounds in the Spitzhergen and North Greenland seas.  They assert also that, in spite of the frightful disasters that have befallen some exploring parties, the loss of life has been small.  About three per cent of the Arctic explorers have died in the course of their work – not a large proportion when compared with the mortality among African explorers. 

Maldives,Kiribati and now Carti Sugdub

For a few years the Republic of Maldives was used by the global alarmists as a poster child for proof that the ice caps were melting and the sea level rise was “accelerating”. It was mostly great PR for the Republic including a silly photo op of an underwater cabinet meeting:

But even in 2009, there was clear proof that the Maldives were NOT going to be flooded over:

Despite popular opinion and calls to action, the Maldives are not being overrun by sea level rise

The study by done by Nils-Axel Mörner is clearly evidence that the Maldives are not going to be overrun by the Indian Ocean in the very near future.

The Republic of Kiribati was in a similar situation/event.
Kiribati mulls Fiji land purchase in battle against sea

And not only that:

Way back in September 2011, Kiribati’s President Anote Tong and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a joint statement [emphasis mine]:-

“[they]….. today stressed that climate change posed the most serious threat to the livelihoods, security and survival of the island nation’s residents and the inhabitants of the wider Pacific region, saying the phenomenon was undermining efforts to achieve sustainable development.

Both leaders reaffirmed the need for urgent international action to reduce emissions of the harmful greenhouse gases and underlined the need [to] make climate change adaptation funding available to finance the implementation of critical programmes to tackle the impact of climate change on communities there….

Tada !!!!
climate change adaptation funding
climate change adaptation funding
climate change adaptation funding
climate change adaptation funding

It’s all about the money !!!

So now we move on to the latest:

Rising sea forces Panamanian islanders to move to mainland

Rising ocean levels caused by global warming and decades of coral reef destruction have combined with seasonal rains to submerge the Caribbean islands for days on end.

Once rare, flooding is now so menacing that the Guna have agreed to abandon ancestral lands for an area within their semi-autonomous territory on the east coast of the mainland.

“The people know this isn’t normal,” said Francisco Gonzalez, 38, the school principal on Carti Sugdub. “When the water comes in, they can’t do anything but wait.”

It is the largest of the Guna’s 45 inhabited islands, and its planned evacuation is among the first blamed largely on climate change. Scientists say worldwide sea levels have risen about 3 millimeters (0.12 inch) a year since 1993. Recent research suggests they could rise as much as 2 meters (6.5 feet) by 2100.

A curious part of the article:

The Guna have accelerated change by mining surrounding coral reefs to build up the islands. From 1970-2001, nearly 80 percent of the peripheral coral disappeared as the Guna population more than doubled, Guzman and other Smithsonian researchers found.

They say the dilemma faced by the Guna is a harbinger of what might happen to other low-lying lands protected by reefs. The greenhouse gas carbon dioxide makes oceans more acidic, killing off coral.

So, the flooding is due to the fact that CO2 is killing the coral, but here it was the islanders that destroyed the coral but they can still blame the flooding on CO2 because that “could” happen?? (I won’t go in to it here, but the claim that the oceans are getting more acidic and killing the coral is a a most dubious assertion)

Now, reading down into the story a bit more, we see this:

The overpopulated island is also running out of space. Families squeeze up to 15 people into huts measuring barely 5 square metres (54 square feet), sleeping side by side in narrow hammocks.

Ahhhhh, they are are running out of liveable space too !!!!

Just for fun, here is a 2010 article about the same issue:
Rising sea drives Panama islanders to mainland

Now, if you do not know anything about Carti Sugdub, it is part of the Archipiélago de San Blas off the coast of Panama on the Caribbean side.

I learned two things about Carti Sugdub while looking into this:

1. I want to go there !!! The Archipiélago de San Blas loks like one of the most incredible places on the planet !!!

2. I can’t find Carti Sugdub any where on a map !! I dare you, please find me a map with Carti Sugdub on it !!

Carti Sugdub is apparently an incredibly small island. Islands and coastlines in general are subject to great changes based on NATURAL conditions, and adding in that Carti Sugdub is very small, it is not at all surprising that there may be erosion that is impacting the island.

Now, for all you people that think a “Carbon Footprint” has any real meaning, here is how we would all live if you had your way:

http://www.galenfrysinger.com/san_blas_kuna.htm

Pay special attention to:

“Toilet over the water”

“Office of Planetary Protection”

“Planetary Protection Officer”

The first thing I thought when I heard that was:

But there really is an “Office of Planetary Protection” and a “Planetary Protection Officer”.

http://planetaryprotection.nasa.gov/

 

“The mission of the Planetary Protection Office is to minimize the biological cross-contamination resulting from the exploration of the solar system.”

“Planetary protection is the term given to the practice of protecting solar system bodies (i.e., planets, moons, comets, and asteroids) from contamination by Earth life, and protecting Earth from possible life forms that may be returned from other solar system bodies. Planetary protection is essential for several important reasons: to preserve our ability to study other worlds as they exist in their natural states; to avoid contamination that would obscure our ability to find life elsewhere — if it exists; and to ensure that we take prudent precautions to protect Earth’s biosphere in case it does.”

 

I want that job just so I could put that on my business card.

But seriously, apparently there is some “concern” that some drill bits on the Mars Curiosity rover may not be sterile.
Is the Sierra Club aware of this?????

Another “eco” Fail !!

http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-green-cars-20120531,0,5326867.story

Consumer Reports: Special ‘eco’ car models don’t pay

The special “eco” versions of small cars such as the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus and Honda Civic don’t improve fuel economy enough to be worth the extra money, according to an analysis by Consumer Reports.

The magazine said it could take as long as 38 years for the extra cost to be worthwhile, depending on the vehicle.  The cars, which come equipped with special low rolling resistance tires and aerodynamic features, generally cost $500 to $800 more than fuel-efficient siblings that don’t carry the “eco” label.

Consumer Reports looked at the Ford Focus SFE, Chevrolet Cruze Eco and Honda Civic HF.

The results: Consumer Reports found that the Cruze Eco saves drivers only $20 a year in gas purchases while the Focus SFE and Civic HF save consumers $145 and $135 a year, respectively.

Well Known Meteorologist Gets It Wrong

From the Chicago Tribune 05/06/2102

http://blog.chicagoweathercenter.com/2012/05/ask-tom-why-1.html

Dear Tom,
I have heard that sea levels are rising. How much has occurred, and what are the forecasts for the future?

–William Levy, Chicago

Dear William,
The level of the “world ocean” is rising— an issue that will post flooding problems in the future. Studies conducted by the National Ocean Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration yield these statistics: Sea levels changed little until 1900, then rose 7.3 inches from 1900-2000. But the rate of increase has accelerated dramatically since about 1990.

An additional sea-level rise of 1-3 feet is projected by 2100, the combined result of thermal expansion of ocean water as the seas warm due to a warming climate; melting of mountain glaciers; and loss of ice from Greenland and Antarctica through melting and calving of ice into the ocean.

Tom Skilling as a meteorologist is a living legend in Chicago weather news/forecasting.  It was only about a year ago that I recall him being soundly on the “lukewarm” side of AGW.  I listen to him almost daily on a local radio show  (WGN 720 AM) and unfortunately it seems that he is buying into the AGW nonsense.

Almost all of the answer can be debunked here:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/14/sea-level-still-not-cooperating-with-predictions/

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/07/18/simulation-says-doom-real-world-data-says-no-worry/

I can only hope that in this case, the answer was done by an intern who just “googled” sea level.