Grit Blogs > Adventures of Old Nebraska Dave

Food Storage area and improvements on rain barrel.

A photo of Nebraska DaveHey it's me again.  The Tulips and Daffodils are peeking up from the dark dreary depths of the under world to see what kind of year they will be beautifying.  So far they like it.  What's not to like.  The weather has been gorgeous.  Temperatures in the 40s and above with middle 30s at night.  I checked the backyard garden beds and they are thawed out but not quite dry enough to start working the soil.  I am so close to starting the fence building at Terra Nova Gardens.  I would imagine it's still a little greasy there.  That type of soil gets real sticky when wet.  I mean the kind that sticks to your boots until each foot weighs 10 pounds.  It's the kind that really grows things well but can't be rushed when it wet.  It needs a lot of compost mixed into the soil.  Of course with the size of the property, I can not only expand the garden but the composting as well.  I have a 168 foot bank that's covered with 11 years of accumulation of leaf drop from all different types of trees.  I should have enough material for garden compost for years to come.

  Storage Area Clean 

Now some of you will remember about this time last year I began to build a storage area in my basement.  News leaked out that old neighbor Dave was becoming an end of times prepper when actually all I was doing is providing a place to store a little reserve and a place to put some super bargains.  I thought it quite amusing that I would be thought of in that way but then again some weird things have happened and still happen in old Neighbor Dave's backyard.  It's all in fun and really everyone in the neighborhood gets along great.  Anyway here it is all cleaned up before construction began.

Basement Storage Area 

I have had some time to work on the area.  The insulation and drywall are installed.  The ceiling drywall was a bit of a challenge for sure.  The shelves are in there final resting place and you can see that some things are already being stored.  The top shelf has been designated for paper products.  I would like to get the ceiling light wired before the work stops except for rainy days.  This year will be a busy spring with all the garden expansion going on.

 Storage Area Light 

As you recall .... well maybe you don't, I purchased two shop lights to install as ceiling lights.  What's the difference?  The ceiling light is made to attach to a ceiling electrical box and has a fancy frosted cover over the lights.  The shop light has an electrical cord that's plugged into an outlet, hangs by chains from the ceiling, and has no fancy cover over the lights.  The shop light is about $15 to $20 cheaper than the regular ceiling light.  Well, those that have been reading my blog know that I am not into spending more money than necessary even if it involves more labor.  Such is the case with converting a shop light into a ceiling light.,  The manufacturers of the shop lights must have anticipated guys like me and designed the light with the ballast off center.  The ballast is an electrical gizmo that makes the lights work.  Since the electrical cord was removed a hole had to be cut through the fixture to allow the electrical wires into the light.

Storage light fixture and box cover 

This is the ceiling electrical box cover that will be attached to the light fixture and then mounted to the ceiling light.  Sorry for being too technical for those that could care less.  It shouldn't take more than an hour or so to get the light mounted and wired up.  Then the real work begins.  I am going to put a wall up to block off this area from the rest of the basement.  It will be insulated and drywalled as well.  The most exciting part of this project will be installing a door.  That should be a real trip.  I will try to build the door casing and actually hang the door.  Doors come in the casing with the hinges installed and the knob hole already cut.  Yeah, you're getting the idea that I just like to do things the hard way.Rain catch barrel 

Friday and Saturday's project was to improve the rain catch collection barrel.  A five gallon bucket become the stage 1 part of the catch system.  The bucket is cut off about three inches below the rim.  The top of the barrel lid is cut to match the five gallon bucket.  A piece of screen is placed over the opening in the barrel lid and the now bottomless bucket is pushed into the lid opening.Rain catch bucket and barrel lid 

This is the under side of the barrel lid.  Several screws hold the bucket, screen, and lid firmly in place.  The screen will act as a debris filter that can be cleaned after each round of rain.  The disassembly takes about one minute to get access to cleaning the screen.  Even changing the screen would not be too time consuming. 

Rain catch barrel and downspout 

The down spout sits through a shaped hole in the lid of the bucket and a clamp is screwed to the down spout flush against the bucket lid to keep the spout from slipping off the gutter.  Now we're all set for some rain.  The gutter was cleaned and another barrel was attached through the spigot on the bottom of the barrel.  I still have some things to do to the main tank and will be working on that on Monday.  There was some minor leaking to fix while the tank is empty.  So hopefully the rain will hold off until I get the main tank sealed up.  I just had a couple drippers last year which can eat into the water supply over time.  Once the barrel is hooked up to the main tank then it can rain two and a half inches before the tank is full.  Two supplementary barrels will cover another 110 gallons which will be a good start for the summer watering.

Well, that's about it from the Urban Ranch for this time.  May your seeds all sprout and your rain fall gently at just the right times in the right amounts all season long.  May harvest be so abundant that your pantry overflows and may good fortune follow you through the entire growing season.  Until next time, keep the coffee on and your shadow in the garden.

anabell jones
12/17/2013 2:38:13 AM

You did some excellent arrangements while living at a distant location. Using the rain water in home is an excellent idea, and while you did it to create a better space for food storage, I appreciate you twice. Cleaning of the before winter and rains not only saves money, but also drops the troubles caused by roof leakages.

shannon saia
3/20/2012 8:07:59 PM

Nebraska Dave! Thanks for visiting me today. I started trying to catch up on my blog reading this past weekend but I was having technical trouble posting comments. Your rain barrel looks great, and I remember the shelves. That ought to give you a lot of extra space. I look forward to hearing how your gardening beds do this year!

nebraska dave
3/18/2012 2:22:51 AM

Hey Arch, I'm glad you stopped by. I keep searching the Internet and stumbled across a Website in my city that was for properties that had been foreclosed upon that were for sale. It was a long three month process to have a clear deed in my hands but well worth it. The property had been neglected for at least 11 years probably longer so it was covered with wild grape vines and nettle weeds. The land has now been cleared, plowed, and smoothed out with a disc. It's all ready to plant but first I want to get the fences started as I won't be planting until May. It gives me a little time to build the fence and get the beds inside the fence ready for planting. It's all very exciting for sure. Have a great day with all your raised beds. I have five in my back yard that will now become fresh to the table produce for myself and the neighbors.

arch guptill
3/14/2012 9:30:28 PM

Hey Dave! It's been fun reading about your gardening doings. How did you find your new garden property? Terra Nova Farms is what your calling it right? I Just got started with a community garden group. It's our first year and were working real hard to get things ready. It's looking like we will have 19 or 20 raised beds measuring 4'x8' to start things off. I'm eager to get some plants in the dirt and see how they do! I'm working on getting some seeds started now even though i'm probably a little later than I should be on that effort.

nebraska dave
3/10/2012 2:58:00 PM

Mary, Ha, so far I haven't hit the pencil sharpener. All the work is completed inside the storage area so I made it through the construction without breaking it off the shelves. When my grandson started having homework from school this year, we didn't have a pencil in the house. They were all ink pens. We had to buy some pencils for him to do his homework. I found that rather fascinating. I didn't even know that there weren't any pencils in the house and don't know how long it was that we didn't have pencils in the house. Our culture is so Internet and computer driven that we don't even miss pencils anymore. Of course I have my flat carpenter pencils but that was a bit difficult to write with. I'm just fortunate that I still kept that sharpener to sharpen the pencils. I can't remember if I mounted it there or the previous owners of the house mounted it there. Either way it was unused for decades until Bradley and his homework came along. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Have a great day on the farm.

mary carton
3/10/2012 1:54:59 PM

I'd have to move the pencil sharpener to the end of the shelf. I would run into it every time I walk by. Making rain barrels is on my to do list. The power company has brought me 3 loads of wood chips and lumber yard 2 loads of sawdust, so my tractor will be busy today mulching & making garden paths. I also need to get the middle buster out & get hooligan dog fence wire buried. .

nebraska dave
3/9/2012 2:45:44 AM

Allan, don't under estimate your storage capacity. Just from this one section of roof 12 X 20 feet the potential rain would be about 150 gallons for one inch of rain. The barrel that I have ready for catching rain is connected via a hose not shown in the picture to a main supply tank that will hold about 400 gallons. You really need to plan for the deluge of water that comes with a good rain. Either have an overflow for the barrel or gang them together for added storage other wise it will back up into your gutters and overflow from them. Been there done that. Good luck with your rain catch system. Have a great day in the garden.

allan douglas
3/8/2012 10:16:34 PM

That rain barrel looks great, Dave! We've been thinking about setting up a couple of rain barrels to collect water for the garden, not sure what type and all that yet - of course we'll need to unstall guttering and downspouts first :-)

nebraska dave
3/7/2012 4:34:47 PM

Cindy, the local nursery about three miles away from where I live has classes all during February and March. They are all about different aspects of gardening. I think they are taught mostly by those that are getting their Master Gardener certification. The requirements are to teach classes (don't know how many), do community garden work, and man the gardening hotline for the county extension service for a number of hours. It's a great program and I thought about doing it but just haven't made the determination to do it. Gardening here in Nebraska is really starting to ramp up. I expect it's already in the pre stages there in Michigan as well. The soil is now thawed out and dried enough to be workable. I've been out at Terra Nova Gardens building a fence. I just about have the gate finished. If the rain hold off today, the gate will be done. Well, the gate opening at least. May your nursery days be filled with pleasure all during this garden season. Have a great speaker finding day.

cindy murphy
3/7/2012 1:33:45 PM

Hi, Dave. Your rain barrel system sounds impressive. I've been busy these last few weeks arranging for speakers to come in and give classes to our customers during the upcoming season at the nursery, (we love to educate our customers by providing seminars, but during the busy seasons, most often we don't have time to present the classes ourselves during business hours. Speakers work out great - our customers get educated, and we are able to carry on helping those who aren't attending the class). of the speakers is a woman from the county conservation district who will be giving a rain barrel demonstration - talking about how they benefit the environment, can save money, and how to build one, etc. I'm sure she'd be impressed with your whole set-up!

nebraska dave
3/6/2012 5:04:28 AM

Lori, I had to chuckle at your ToDo list for your husband. My wife always had a list for me as well. My daughter, Lydia, got into a conversation about what would she do in a disaster situation. She just laughed and said, "I'd just hang out with my Dad. He has food in the basement, grows a garden, and knows how to live without electricity." Simple but true answer. They have a show on National Geographic TV channel, which I don't have, that I keep hearing about. It's called "End Time Preppers". It's about how different folks prepare for when times go bad. Some stock up piles of food, some stock up on guns and ammunition, some stock pile heirloom seeds, and some have learned how to run their vehicles on alternative fuels. Me, I just want to grow a garden, store a little food for myself and give the rest away. I plan on planting the anchor post for the Terra Nova Gardens gate tomorrow. This post will be the reference for all the rest of the garden layout. Everything will be measured from this point. The gate will be made from two 10 foot 4X4s for the uprights and one 8 foot 4X4 for across the top. A Terra Nova Gardens sign will be mounted on the eight foot cross piece anchored on top of the upright 4X4s. Have a great time enjoying your warm days.

lori dunn
3/5/2012 9:53:23 PM

Nebraska Dave, There is nothin wrong with stocking up on "stuff". I would buy a year's supply ahead if I had the space to store it all! I hate shopping, and we live out in the boonies, so the nearest stores aren't just 1 or 2 miles down the road. The local grocery and hardware is about 12 miles for us, and the nearest large store like Walmart is even further. I know some people drive even longer than that to get to their local store. That takes a bite out of gas which just keeps goin up, so I prefer to make every trip count as much as possible. We are forcast to have beautiful weather this week. Upper 60's by Thursday! I'm lovin every minute of it. You remind me of my husband Jim, the way you put things together and do it yourself. That is sooo my hubby! My daughter Ashten has asked him to build her a solar dehydrater, and i've now given him another project of an essential oil distiller. He always seems to have a long list of things to make, and I'm partially responsible, but he always comes up with what we ask!