Archive for May, 2010

Chickens – a beginning

May 29, 2010

We’ve had our chickens for a year now, so it is probably time to show them off here.

Thanks to our daughter, Grace, they all have names. Although it seems that it’s only the kids who can tell them apart. Or at least that’s what they tell me!

Say hi to Velma, Mrs Jessop, Esmay, Fred, and Hayley. They are Rhode Island Red cross with New Hampshire. Common garden variety layers, I believe.

still young here, about 20 weeks. is it Hayley or Esmay?

Ethan and a couple of the girls

They are housed in a garden shed, turned chicken coop and have several different spaces to roam around in. There is the inner sanctum of the coop, about 4 square meters, where their feed and water is left. Next, past the bush gate, is the main chook run. They have access to this area all the time. It is about 50 square meters. When the dogs are out of their dog run, the chooks are let in, another 80 or so square meters. And when the dogs are inside, later in the day, they get the full run of the yard too.

the chicken hotel

We have restricted their access to the full yard to only a few hours each day as they are capable of wreaking havoc in the garden if given the chance!

We feed them seed, grain and pellet mix from the rural shop, scraps from our kitchen and other scraps scrounged from friends and friendly market shops.

In return they have been providing lovely eggs (about 4 each day), great composing poo and straw from the coop, a weed and bug eating service in the garden, and lots of fun and activities for the family.

I know when I was starting to build their coop and enclosure I enjoyed looking at others efforts in this area, so I’ll include a few pics of the set-up.

chicken coop takes up half the garden shed

nesting boxes are used now, after some training

roosts are popular with our girls

its an organic structure!

More will follow in posts to come I’m sure…


Laundry grey water surge tank

May 16, 2010

We have been dumping the waste water from our washing machine on the back lawn for years now. It seemed like an easy thing to sort out with the back of the house being 5-6 feet higher than the ground, and the backyard sloping away more after that. I’d previously cut a hole in the floor and run a pipe through and out the back steps to a longer pipe which we move around the back lawn as we remember.

There has always been the worry that the machine may be pushing too much water for its motors capacity, despite the gravity drop of 5 feet or more. And sometimes the pipe across the lawn doesn’t drain out fully, so it can be the case of the motor having to push this collected water ahead of it, or possibly drawing it back into the machine, resulting in dirtier washing than you started with.

Laundry grey water surge tank

Hence, the latest addition, a surge tank to collect the rush of waste water from the washing machine and allow it to slowly, gravity feed out via the original pipe and a short length of agi pipe.

We used a new molded garbage bin as the tank and several joiner pieces as the entry and exit points for the pipes. I managed to make the lower hole in the tank a tight enough fit for the joiner to make it water tight without additional sealant. The end result is fairly neat and tidy. I even made a small paving stand for the tank.

We seem to be washing clothes constantly at our place so it wasn’t long before the system could be tested. All good, although the agi pipe does empty its contents fairly quickly and over a small area. Not sure how to get it spreading out more. Perhaps by running it across the slope the run off will be over a greater area?

First test – no leaks!

Agi pipe to distribute water across lawn

This project has me thinking of other ways to use waste water from the bath and shower.