Those of you who know me know I love to play outside in the rain … barefoot, preferably.
But there’s another reason rain draws me outside.
Beyond just irrigation, rainstorms serve another incredibly valuable purpose on the homestead: They show you where the water flows on your property—and where you might be having some problems.
In this new edition of Homesteading Basics, watch as I walk my property during a storm (after making sure all the hatches were battened down first, of course!) and glean some really valuable information—from clogged gutters to the best natural location for a new pond.
You’ll also see a little part of my property that’s almost magical. When my kids were young, we built a gabion with rocks and chicken wire to help slow the flow of water in an eroded spot. We never did anything else to that area, but we still had something pretty cool happen there. You’ll see what I’m talking about when you watch the video.
Then, I’d love to know: What’s your favorite way to slow the flow of water on your property? Share your tips in the comments!
We have 4 rainwater tanks for the main house (Linstock), the main house garden & the main house outside laundry. The same 5000 gallon tank that feeds the outside laundry also feeds Elm Cottage via a 12 volt pump under the cottage. Both houses are solar powered. The lower cement 5000 gallon water tank is fed from the roof of the main house via down pipes from both the front & the rear of the house. The water from this lower tank is then pumped up to the higher tank which gravity feeds the main house.
This pump is also a fire pump, it draws water from the stop cock on the side of the lower tank & pumps it up to the higher tank via a pipe that runs underground.
This image shows the two “first flush” pipes on the lower tank. Any dirt on the roof or in the gutters is washed into these two pipes. When full, a ball float in the pipe rises to the top closing off these tow pipes & allows the rest of the water to flow into the tank. Over time, the water in these pipes is supposed to slowly run out via the hoses at the bottom, but invariably the small hole blocks with dirt, so every now & then I remove the bottom of the pipes, drain & wash out the filters.
The garden tank was placed on higher ground to the level of the garden so it would gravity feed better, but this meant that it was too far away from the house to use an overhead down pipe to fill it from the roof at the end of the house. So I run the down pipe underground then back up into the top of the tank.
This is the new 5000 gallon poly tank that feeds the outside laundry, & Elm Cottage. This tank is fed from the roof of Elm Cottage, but the ground close to the cottage was too soft to provide a firm base for the tank, so we placed it on higher ground. Again this meant that the tank was too far away to use overhead down pipes, so again the pipe to the tank from the cottage roof was placed underground then back up & into the top of the tank. The other pipe you can see is an overflow pipe which I have run into a water butt.
Cattail Pond is actually a dam we had put in to collect & store more water from the header stream in Butterfly Valley. It also enables us to keep fish for food. Cattail Pond feeds the gardens at both houses via another fire pump at the side of the dam. Keith.
At this point, there are literally hundreds–maybe even thousands–of articles about finding and purifying water, but every now and then I come across one that stands head and shoulders above the rest. This one, in particular, is my personal favorite and anyone who is interested in wilderness survival–or really any kind of survival–should bookmark it. […]
Finding water in the wilderness is actually pretty straightforward. Walk downhill, look for animal tracks that are all heading in the same direction, watch for areas with lots of insects such as mosquitoes, and listen carefully. There are many other ways to gather water in the wilderness, but those are the basics. Gathering water in […]
Every drop of water you’ve ever drunk, swam in, bathed in, or watered your plants with was once a drop of rain falling from a cloud. Of course, those drops of water were probably purified at your local water treatment plant. But what if the treatment plant shuts down due to a major disaster? Is […]
Creating A Simple, Inexpensive Way To Collect Rainwater When we first started our little “farm” back in 2010, we had little to work with. No house, no electricity, and no on-site well for water. So when it came to planting our
Everyone knows the importance of water in a survival situation. You can only survive without it for three days, but you’ll feel severely dehydrated after just one. This is why water needs to be one of your biggest priorities. You should stock up on two gallons per day per person, but you should also know […]
When it comes to survival, water is the most important part in the holy trinity (water, food, and shelter). You can survive more than 30 days without food, but only 3 or 4 days without water, even if you’re physically fit. Other than oxygen, water is the most important thing for human survival, which is […]
Unless you live near a reliable source of water such as a stream or lake, you should consider harvesting rain water when the SHTF. As with stream or lake water, you will have to filter it. But if you have a good system, you can acquire all the water you need without ever having to […]