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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rain Barrel

This past weekend we installed our rain barrel. For those who don't know, a rain barrel is a large tank that collects rain water runoff from your roof. Many places in the world use this water for drinking, bathing, or other household use, but you usually need special filters for that. We will be using our rain barrel water for watering the garden and the yard. This helps us reduce water usage, as well as deal with water runnoff.

We purchased our rain barrel from B. Lime Green - an eco-store in downtown Champaign. They get their rain barrels from Prairie Rain Harvester, Inc. Our barrel is made from a recycled 55 gallon vegetable oil drum. We pretty much followed the instructions for setting it all up, and here are the results!

Here is the before. Just a regular gutter downspout.

To begin, Bill digs a flat space right next to the gutter to place the barrel.

Next, he added a little sand to make things level.

You have to elevate the rain barrel a bit in order to get any pressure from the spout, so we placed the barrel on cinder blocks we had.

Next, cut the gutter.

Then, install the adjustable gutter extension to aim into the barrel opening.

We then filled in a little dirt around the cinder blocks.

Then, aim the overflow hose away from the foundation of the house.

And then you have a finished product!!

Already, after one day of light, but constant rain, the barrel is completely full!

Millions and millions of people live with out clean water to drink every day, yet we water our lawns with perfectly good water. Now is the time to conserve!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Yard Day

Today was an extremely productive day! It was a lovely 80 degrees with a good breeze to keep us cool. We spent the day our back yard, with the help of Jon's parents, working on projects.

Here is a list of what we accomplished:
-- started more vegetable seeds
-- potted some flowers
-- tilled the garden
-- put up a new garden fence
-- installed our rain barrel
-- dug out a doggy waste composter
-- put up a bat house

Here are some photos from our day.

Our pretty tulip.

Jon digging the hole for the dog waste composter.

Cutting the old garbage can to line the dog waste composter.



Adding rocks at the bottom for drainage.

To finish it off we added dog poo, septic tank starter, and some water. Cover with garbage can lid, and there you have it! Hopefully it will work out well and be a more natural way to deal with dog waste.

On to the garden...

Jon tilling things up!

Brand new (hopefully bunny-proof) fence!

And the bat house! Hopefully some bats move in and eat some bugs.

And lastly, Sue and I goofing around.

As mentioned above, we also installed a rain barrel, but I'll make a dedicated rain barrel post later.

Thanks so much to Bill and Sue for all their help today! We're so lucky!

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Once again, Jon and I have pet rats! We adopted three of them from the Piatt County Animal Shelter. 2 gray and 1 siamese. They're so cute! A bit timid, but we're gaining their trust each day. We still need names for them though!

FYI, young, squirmy rats are REALLY hard to photograph! This is the best I could get of all three of them!

Monday, April 20, 2009


Holy moley it's been a week since I've posted! This week was one of the busiest weeks I've had in a looooong time. In the last week or so, I have:

-- Celebrated Easter with family and friends
-- Been to Decatur and back
-- Worked three 12 hour days
-- Adopted 3 new rats
-- Successfully held our annual Dinner at CCHCC. Its like planning a wedding!
-- Scheduled my next tattoo
-- Spent a relaxing day with my BFFs

Phew. I'm tired just reading about it. Anyway, life will be much more under control for a while now (I hope!), and I can get to some more blogging.

And because no post is complete with out a photo, here is Jon and I at the zoo from our trip to Florida last month. Things are starting to warm up here, so I'm not too upset we don't live there! :)

Monday, April 13, 2009


My favortie couple of pics from Easter this past weekend...

My Dad's Easter cake... no less than 10 chocolate bunnies, and a million chocolate eggs!

My cutie-pie nephew Shea. I love him!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Circle of life!

I work part time at the Anita Purves Nature Center of the Urbana Park District. Part of my job there is to help take care of the resident animals, of which there are 3 screech owls, turtles, and 4 different kinds of snakes. One of the snakes is a common garter snake. Apparently, garter snakes eat fish! I did not know this, until I had to feed our snake dinner. The first time I saw the garter snake eat fish I was completely in awe! It was so crazy cool!! The second time, I had the mind to record it.

Monday, April 06, 2009

In like a lion...

An Illinois Mountain.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Blue Heron

As mentioned in my previous post, Jon and I encountered a blue heron while camping on the beach in Florida. Here are some more detailed photos of the whole thing.

Here he was walking towards us.

As the sun sets...

Quite close.

Staring contest!

So pretty!

I love his feathers blowing in the wind!

Foot prints left in the sand.

Very cool experience!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Here are some more pics from our trip to Florida. We stayed in a hotel for most of the trip, but for kicks Jon and I hiked out onto a beach and went camping! It was really great! I'd never been camping right on the beach before. We camped at Johnson Beach on Perdido Key, which is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. It was primitive camping with no services, so you just had to hike all your gear in, walk a mile or so down the beach in the sand, and set up shop! My Dad dropped us off and picked us up the next morning.

Jon walking on some washed up logs.

Some sea art - already there when we walked by.

Tent and the ocean.

While we were hanging out on the beach, a great blue heron came up to us! He was begging for food and got really close! I took a bunch of great pictures, and I will save most of them for their own post.

Sun setting behind the sea oats.

Dead crab!

Got up early to watch the sun rise.

Walking back to be picked up, we were the first ones on the beach. I didn't pose this photo, but there are no less than 6 sand dollars here!

Over all it was really awesome to camp on the beach, and depsite the less-than-perfect night sleep, I'd do it again in a heart beat!