The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Under the drain out back

Burying pipeline

It's been nearly a month since I last posted about our partially-completed greywater wetland, but I haven't been entirely idle.  Whenever the water's low enough to cross the creek without hip waders and I don't have anything more pressing to carry in from the parking area, I've tossed a ten-foot section of pipe over my shoulder during my morning walk.  I guess that means the floodplain has been easily passable 6 days out of the last 28.

With all the pipe nearby for channeling water from the trailer to the wetland, I finally dug the last part of the trench.  I'd left two feet of buffer area right where the current pipes discharge so that the soggy mess didn't end up in the trench until I was ready for it, but now I dug on through.


What I discovered underneath our current drain out back was a fascinating system I didn't know existed.  Two feet out from the discharge spot, the clay turned grey --- clearly it had gleyed itself.  Closer in, a band of white...something...had built up right around the base of the pipes but a few inches under the soil.  And atop that white band was an astonishing number of earthworms.

True, the drain out back created a soggy mess in front of our back door, and a mild swampy smell in certain seasons.  But I'm impressed by the earth's ability to take lemons and make lemonaide.  Given how well my non-system works, I have high hopes an actual greywater wetland will work even better.

Our chicken waterer keeps water where you want it --- in your hens' mouths, not turning the coop floor into a swamp.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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So that's what that grey stuff in the ground is! I came across some when digging my test garden bed and thought it was some sort of building material or something leftover from when they built our house. Interesting.
Comment by mitsy Sat Feb 2 10:19:09 2013
Mitsy --- It could possibly be some kind of building material, but if it's in a wet area, chances are grey clay is actually gleyed soil. One of these days I'll look up the biological reasoning about why it turns grey and waterproof (maybe about the same time I teach myself to use the American spelling for the color....)
Comment by anna Sat Feb 2 10:33:35 2013

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