Thursday, 15 October 2009

How to Build a Rain Barrel

I fitted a tap onto my rain barrel today. You can find the parts at B&Q even if their suck-ass website makes it difficult to find the parts. Here are parts you will find there:

Outside tap (£5.99):

20mm nut:

20mm wood spade bit (£7.48):

Plumber's tape(£1.93):

Drill a hole in your barrel with the spade bit at a height that makes it easy to get a watering can or bucket underneath it. If the platform your rainbarrel will rest on is high enough, you can drill a hole as low as you like.

Despite this being a non-threaded hole, you will be able to screw in the tap, forming a threaded hole on the way. You will screw it in clockwise, so wrap about 5 turns of plumber's tape anti-clockwise near the base of the screw. Screw in the tap. On the inside of the barrel, wrap more plumber's tape around the screw close to the barrel. Screw on the nut.

Keep the tap straight while you tighten the nut with a wrench. Done.

If you need to buy a 20 mm spade bit, contact me and I'll sell you mine. I bought one and drilled two holes with it and I'll never use it again.

This is how I did it and it works. If you can ask a plumber's advice, do it.

Apple Crumble


Sunday, 11 October 2009


Use this knot when you need to tighten a rope to hold something down like a tarpaulin or to secure items in the back of a truck. I used three to hitch up and tether down my rain gutter. Click on images for larger images.

This knot can also be used as a crude pulley system with a 3:1 advantage if you ignore the massive amount of friction. I did this when I hitched up the HPS light in my growroom.

There are a few versions of the trucker's hitch, all of which are concerned with how the loop in pic. #3 is formed. One version uses a figure-of-eight loop, another uses a slipknot. I prefer this version because it's easier to untie. There's no knot to jam, the twist simply untwists when you untie it.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Yellow for Rainy Days

I like to cook. I like baking and making pretty things. :) Today I decided to bake lemon poppy seed loaf with almond vanilla glaze. Care to join?

(Korgan says: If you're a metric-phile like me and the sight of U.S. cup sizes incites violence in your mind, look away now.)

For the lemon poppy seed loaf:
1 box of lemon cake mix
1 box of instant lemon pudding
4 eggs
1 c. water
1/2 c. oil
1/4 c. poppy seeds

Mix all ingredients, beat for 10 minutes with electric mixer, divide into 2 loaves, pop in the oven at 350°F for 40-45 minutes and POOF! Delicious lemon poppy seed loaf.

For the vanilla almond glaze:
1/3 c. butter
2 c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla (I used 3 vanilla bean pods)
2-4 tbsp water
Dash of almond flavor

Heat the butter until melted. Stir in powdered sugar, vanilla and almond. Stir in water 1 tbsp at a time until smooth.

Once the loaves had cooled a bit, I poked holes in the top of them with a chopstick, then slowly drizzled the warm glaze over the top.

The cake is moist and delicious and the glaze soaks into the top wonderfully.

Remember, baking is better with cute aprons. :)

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Harvesting Basil Seeds

Hallo there everyone. :)
Fall is approaching rapidly here in the southern US and it's time to start collecting seeds from this year's harvest!

Korgan and I planted 2 basil plants back in the spring and one of them decided it wanted to flower over the summer. :) So, I decided to get the seeds ready for harvesting yesterday!

It's quite simple really. You snap off the bits with the brown pods on them and lay them out to dry. After a few weeks you can just skim off the pods and poof! Free seeds for the spring!

Happy harvesting. :)

Sunday, 4 October 2009

New Gutter

The wind was pretty insane yesterday. It killed my water bottle guttering. I posted on Freecycle this morning for some guttering or a length of pipe. I got a response within 10 minutes. Someone in Northfield had a 2-metre long pipe. I went to pick it up, hitched it to my bike and cycled home. Bicycles are good.

I used a jigsaw to cut the pipe, the opening I made to 2 radians. Everything else was rope work. This new pipe works far better than the Evian bottles.

The gutter is attached to the shed with trucker's hitches. Also, I tethered the gutter to the compost heap with another trucker's hitch just in case the winds come back. I tethered the filter frame to the barrel with some hitches.