Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rain Barrels

For the third entry of the Ghetto Green Project. I'll be fabricating
rain collection barrels. I haven't done this before. I'm freestyling
this shit. The ghetto green way.

My frustration began last summer when I started seeking out rain
barrels before rain came. I figured how expensive could food
grade plastic barrels be? Since most advertisements for barrels
are claiming to be "repurposed" barrels, which have been
modified with a bib and maybe a over flow valve.

To my shocking surprise. They are stupid expensive! Expensive
as in $150-200 plus dollars. That's outa control. The ideal is to
off set cost and being efficient. If a rain barrel holds lets say 55
gallons. You might be paying somewhere in the neighborhood of
7 to 10 cents a gallon of water (depending on your water
company and geographical location) that comes from your faucet
or a water spigot. Math time. I'll give benefit of the doubt. If your
paying 10 cents a gallon. Times 55 gallons (water barrel). That's
$5.50 worth of water that barrel is holding. How many years will
it take to fill and use that water collected to pay off a $150 barrel?
And that doesn't include shipping. Grab your calculator. That's
damn near 28 years. See my point yet? It's not cost efficient. So
source the materials yourself. Ya it's harder work and it takes
effort. Chances are you have a Smart phone. Use it!

I sourced the two barrels I picked up for $40 each. I still think
that's too high. But I was dealing with a fella I judged to be a dick.
I didn't dig his vibe and he wasn't friendly or helpful much at all.
In spite of the use of vulgar words. I'm all about spreading the
word of conservation and being frugal like hookers spreading
herpes. This guy. Not so much. I know a hustler has to get his
money on. But this dude is a teacher. Hope he doesn't treat his
students like that.

So cost of barrels. $40. 1 bib $8. Make your own gaskets
$1.47. Plumbers caulking $4.00. Traveling expenses $10. For
a total of $63.47. Supplies were picked up down the street from
my house at Globe. Their URL is Great
helpful people here. Talk to the guy with grey hair. While your at
it. Take the time to get to know people around you. Business
owners and the such. Pay in cash when you can. I've been doing
this and in return I have great resources and I save money by
paying in cash. *wink wink* The bibs I got are made of brass and
made in U.S.A and I got from a indie plumbing supply store.
Quick side note: I'm not a fan of corporate box stores with
employees of little to no help or knowledge. Sorry Home Depot
you can kiss my ass. But thank you for employing people.

Now I know I only mentioned 2 barrels. Lets keep our
experiments to a low cost. If I manage to mess up one barrel. I'm
okay with swallowing the cost of that. Once I've dialed in a bomb
proof setup. I'll invest in more barrels. I'd like to have 10 or more
barrels. Buy more and save on the price of each barrel. Less fuel
used to fetch them. And more free rain water for me.

More math kids. Some environmental engineer came up with this
algorithm. Here it is in short. For every 1000 sq ft of roof space,
during 1 inch of rain fall. Will yield you about 600 gallons of water.
Lets say we have some not so efficient gutters and other stuff
happening. Being conservative and lets bank on 400 gallons during
1inch of rain fall. You'll be astonished how fast 400 gallons fills up.
Hell after a summers day of Smoking briskets and ribs and drinking
beer. I can piss 400 gallons.So hopefully you see the need for as
many barrels as possible.

Some of you might be thinking. What's this hillbilly's house look like,
Sanford and Son? Insert theme song

I'm going for Ghetto Green Chic here. Clean cut lines. Clean up the
rain barrels of scuff marks and whatever else. Find a nice place for
them so they aren't a eye sore. Be creative. If everyone was doing
this. It wouldn't be a eye sore. It would be the norm. No one would
think twice about it. You can geek out and think about this on a
larger scale.

What if every home, farm, ranch, commercial building was doing this?
And what if we did this to areas that are prone to flooding, freeways,
and overpasses? We would be cutting down on erosion. Being less
dependent on government and water agency's  and less demanding on
our environment.

There is some questions to be asked. Questions like. How are you
going to filter the water so it's not toxic for future use? What will it do
to wet lands, bays, rivers, and lakes? Will wild life be negatively
effected by this ideological approach? Oh. You wanted answers. I'm
not afraid to admit it. I don't have all the answers. But on a small scale
such as your home or even apartment complex. You can use a reverse
osmosis system. This is what I'm doing.

A great resource is a hydro store. They can be had almost any where.
I like 3rd St Hydro in Oakland. They are now on 4th st downtown. I
have personally spent alot of time in this shop and they are good folks
and work on prices to help with a budget. On a larger scale. I'm sure
there are way more intelligent and skilled people to address the
answers for these questions raised. 

You don't want white or clear barrels. That is how you'll create
unwanted bacteria and algae. Go for dark colors such as, Blues,
Blacks, Grey, etc. Nor should you drink this water!!! I can't stress
this enough. If you do and you die or get horribly ill. All I can say is,
"natural selection!" I have found collecting rain water is by far the
easiest thing to do. Least amount of effort, least amount of money,
least amount of maintenance. And I notice a immediate savings.
Which to me is important.

People don't want to change their current habits because they don't
see the benefits now. That's what I like about collecting rain. You see
the savings. Where as something like Solar or wind power. It takes
time to pay off. So get off your ass and collect rain water.

Rain Barrel

Rain Barrel by zero7negative
Rain Barrel a photo by zero7negative on Flickr.
This is a food grade barrel. I know these to be used for pickled foods and
olives are common to have been shipped in these.

We're going to re-purpose this barrel into a rain barrel. You want to make
sure you scrub both inside and outside thoroughly. Since food was used in
this at one time. We don't want that mixed in with our rain water.

I used a old sponge and Mrs. Meyers all purpose cleaner. I let em soak for a
while. Fill it a quarter of the way up with water and a 2 cups of cleaner.
Scrub away!


Supplies by zero7negative
Supplies a photo by zero7negative on Flickr.

A pick of all supplies needed. Clear silicon. A bib. 1" hole saw bit. And make your gaskets.


Supplies by zero7negative
Supplies a photo by zero7negative on Flickr.
The only tool I used for this project.

Pictured with the 1" hole saw bit. The 1" bit was perfect.

I was able to screw the bib into the hole that was created
by this bit. Not too small not too big. The bib created
threads in the rain barrel.

Inside barrel

Inside barrel by zero7negative
Inside barrel a photo by zero7negative on Flickr.

A inside shot of the barrel.

rain barrel

rain barrel  by zero7negative
rain barrel a photo by zero7negative on Flickr.
This is what a food grade barrel would look
like after being repurposed into a rain barrel.

Picture time

So I have a few images that I finally got around to importing onto my computer. These are of the beginnings of my destruction.  The last few are complete destruction.

Tree's ripped up. Holes as deep as a volcano. Disorder before repairing order. I found things buried in the ground ranging from: steak knives, cat poop scooper, what I can assume were family pet remainings. I dug up more plastic then I could ever imagine. This is why I fucking hate plastic! The stuff does not break down. So if your reading this. Stop using plastic bags. Matter of fact. Don't use a bags unless you ultimately need it. And if you think your going to need one. Bring one with you to the market or liquor store

Saturday, March 12, 2011

First Post

Ya! First post. I've been lazy/non interested in blogging/busy. So this blog is 9 months late. To get you all up to speed. I'll fill ya in on what's been going on. Some of my own ideals and thoughts. But first a disclaimer.

I can't spell for shit. Nor am I very good at structuring a sentence. I use a lot of foul mouth language. How eloquent I know. I'm sure I will offend someone if not everyone along the way at some point or another. It's bound to happen, that after I smoke a joint. I'll make a entry. Hang tight. Relax. Stay a while. My overall objective is to educate people of all demographics and to share what nonsense I'm up to. Maybe. Just maybe what I have to say from what I've read or experimented with. You'll learn a thing or two. I couldn't give a shit about what color, religious bias, gender, sexual orientation, bullshit politics, or how rich or poor you are. We all bleed red.

Now that that is outa the way. I bought my Ghetto Chateau May 2010. Right smack dab in the middle of East Oakland. While reading up on the area. My street was dubbed as Oaklands most dangerous street in 2008. That didn't bother me so much though. I bought this house because of the now vacant lot across the street from my house. Which I would like to acquire to start a Out Reach Program through Urban farming for the youth of Oakland (More on that later). My house was remodeled by a horribly skilled contractor. So the place looked decent enough to live in. New everything, but from Home Depot.

When I first moved in. Two of my friends moved in with me. Not that I couldn't afford a $932 a month mortgage on my own (Not including taxes/insurance). But living cheap is always a good thing. Shortly after moving in. One friend decided to cut rug and move back to the city. A few months later. Another friend moved into the spare bedroom. And a few months later then that. The awesome girlfriend of my buddy moves in as well. So the place is kinda like a hostel.

I settled in by getting a new bed. Since my ex took everything. I had to start from scratch. The place didn't come with a fridge. So I bought one. Only having to return b/c it didn't fit. Pissed off that the knuckle head that did the remodel only left 24" (that's inches for you people that don't know what " means after a number) of depth. Try finding one. I looked for months. Half assed, but I looked. Of course a Viking fridge would fit at the sum of $6,000. Which KitchenAid makes. Same fridge by KitchenAid $3500. Ya still no way I'm payin that. Sandwich better come out the damn door already made for that kinda coin. So I used a college size fridge for about 6 months. I lost about 12 pounds in that time. Only weighting 165lbs. I couldn't afford to lose more weight. I randomly came across a photo of Jamie Oliver while doing his Food Revolution. Which in the back ground was a Smeg  fridge. I immediately reach for my browser Google to find the nearest dealer. Up came Reeds Supply Co. on Fruitvale in East Oakland. To my surprise. I couldn't have been luckier. Reeds is awesome! They educated me. Gave me pro's and con's on the Smeg and then said here. Look at this instead. A Fagor. Read up on it. Talked to a sales rep at this shop in Berkeley, Ca. I was sold. Got a killer fridge that is 100% recyclable. All but the compressor is built by Fagor themselves. And the factory is a low emissions factory. A $2000 fridge well worth the money and I got it from a independently own shop. I was a wicked happy. From what I've read. This is the most energy efficient fridge you can buy of it's size.

I still didn't own any furniture. No joke! Sitting on the floor for dinner. Using the filing box as a make shift table. I was adamant on not going to Ikea for landfill furniture. Sure I could furnish a house for $1500 and the box store is only 12 miles away. But I'd rather eat on the floor. My friend Fergi's mom and dad come to a rescue. They donated to sorry ass a stupid comfortable love couch. It reclines. Lay back feet up. It's the ultimate in stoner comfort. I can see myself getting fat in this thing its so comfortable.

So Thanksgiving is coming around and guess what? No dinner table. I was ambitious too. I invited everyone over for a Orphans Danksgiving. I know quite a few people without family that are local. I don't have much of a family. And I love to feed people. So I temporarily stole a folding table from work. Which I still have. Rented chairs. Threw some pretty crap on the plastic table. Voila! Baller on a budget. But it all worked. Sure, it wasn't like going to grandma's house. But I didn't cook a boring ass Thanksgiving meal either. Fuck store bought turkey and stuffing. I've had that shit for 30 years. I made braised short ribs, parsnip puree, roasted veggies, a roux, butternut squash soup, green bean salad and a insane amount of wine. You might be stuck on why I called it Danksgiving. Everything was cooked with hash oil or weed butter. Of course there was a beautiful dessert that Raf's girlfriend slaved over for 6 hours. I can't remember what the hell it was called. But it was fantastic!

For Christmas and new years. The house was rather empty. Raf took off to Arizona and Oregon for new years with Adrienne (she's the g/f). I worked a lot through the season and frankly don't care for stupid drunk people.

We had this on and off again rainy winter. I was getting cabin fever like no other. Mr. Contractor guy I bought house from. Thought it would be a splendid ideal to throw lava rocks every where. Those things remind me of a trailer park for 60 and over folks. I started shoveling them all into one location to rid of them. The sounds of lava rocks while being walked over makes me want to kick babies. Turns out the lava rocks were covering up some ugly landscaping. So instead of putting in the effort, he covered them up with lava rocks. What a bitch of a task. I had nightmares of lava rocks for the first 6 months of living here. I wasn't concerned about the gun shots ringing from 5 blocks away. It was those lava rocks I would have rub Mr. Contractors face in as if your dog just shat on the floor.

Well. I discovered about 300 square feet of very valuable space just outside my bedroom window.
Just so happens I hang out in libraries like crack heads do in the Tenderloin. I read a book about how a average family of 4 could cultivate on roughly 200-250sq ft year round if they developed a efficient garden and honed their skill as a gardener. I'm insanely excited at this point. Mind you. My balls just drop to become a man when I bought my first hammer and tape measure shortly after buying the house. In my head I'm planning and planning. Then I got greedy. 300 sq ft turns into 400. Then turns into 500. Now I'm thinking I can get 700 sq ft. of gardening space. Hell. I've only got a 800 sq ft house. A 400 sq ft garage and a 4200 sq ft lot. Might as well create a surplus. Fuck spending a copious amount of money at the super market (here that's Whole Foods). And farmers markets aren't what they use to be. With Monsanto Seed company genetically modifying everything they can. I'll just grow it my self with non GMO seeds.
So far. I've started a worm farm for my composting. I finally got the electrical upgraded to the house (220) so now my Asko washer and dryer work.

I've had to uproot 3 trees in the garden space. All of which I did by hand. What a dumbass I am. Apparently your suppose to use a landscapers bar to this. I used a shovel and a weeding tool. My neighbors asked if I was hiding dead bodies. My friend Mike thought I was crazy for breaking up as much concrete as I did with a sledge hammer. All and all I ended up towing 7,000 lbs of waste to this recycling center here in East Oakland. I rented a 4x7 utility trailer from UHaul and towed with my Jeep.

Now I'm sifting through the soil to separate roots, gravel, and what dead family pets are left. And yes I built the sifter myself. So far it's been alotta work. I've done everything manually and mostly by myself.
For all you tree huggin Berkeley hippies. I am replacing the trees with the ever so sexy Olive tree. Two of them. Besides. I need something to cover up the taco truck that is next door. I'll also be putting in blueberry bushes and I'm also thinking boysenberry. Regardless. It should be pretty badass.

So I think that's it for now. I'll be filling everyone in the quarks of my hood. I'll be smashing on all the bullshit and propaganda that the media likes to point out about Oakland. Life is good here.