Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Major Score!

My zombie hideout certainly ain’t much to look at but I didn’t pay much for it either, which means I have a long way to go to whip the place into shape. I have no running water at the moment so whenever I go there to hang out and do a little work around the place I have to haul a couple containers of the stuff along with me. This is no real hassle at the moment because I’m only out there a couple days a week. I plan to move out there eventually and live full time but when that happens I will need a better solution for my water needs.

A deep well is what most people would consider. But to have a professional driller come out and sink a hole in the ground is not something I can afford. I could possibly “hand dig” a well Like they did in in the old days but that’s just too much back breaking work. It’s too dangerous as well. If the thing caved in on me I’d be toast!

Luckily water falls out of the sky free of charge. In my location we have over 22 inches of precipitation a year. Not as good as some regions of the country but it’s not exactly what you would call arid either. So the answer to my water problem that seems most reasonable is to capture as much water as I possibly can whenever it rains.

After going to Home Depot and pricing sheet metal and lumber to build a good size “carport” over my trashy little trailer to use as a catchment area I nixed the idea. But still wanting a rainwater harvesting system, I started looking at alternatives. I’m a pretty thrifty fellow so I was just going to buy a large tarp, drape it over the trailer and direct it into a couple of barrels or a childs swimming pool.

I was about ready to buy the tarp when to my wonderful surprise I happened to luck upon a small junk pile of mostly old sheet metal. The owner of said “junk” just wanted it hauled off. When I first looked at it there didn’t appear to be that much there, but on closer inspection I counted over 20 sheets. They were 22 feet long and just over two feet wide. Doing the calculations I figured that would give me 880 square feet of catchment area. After doing a little research online to see how much water I could expect to harvest I figured I should get nearly ten thousand gallons of water per
year! That’s more than 25 gallons a day.

It’ll be a while before I get my system up and running but by keeping a sharp eye out for useful crap I can use around the homestead I was able to cut the cost of my setup in half! In addition to the metal sheeting I was also able to score two 55 gallon metal drums. One will be used for a cheap ass wood burning stove and the other has already been put into service as a “burn barrel”.

But wait there’s more! If you call in the next fifteen minutes you’ll also get this handy dandy crappo widget that you have absolutely no use for. Seriously though, with the pile of sheet metal and the two metal barrels I also picked up nearly 70 paving stones and a pile of unused bricks and all I had to do was haul it all off!

When you look at a pile of junk what do you see? Do you see a potential resource that you can use to better your situation in life or do you just see a pile of junk? What projects have you been able to create on the
cheap using salvaged materials? I’d love to
hear your stories.


  1. Keeping a eye open for discarded goods is a great way to save some money. I tend to buy things used good condition to save money that way.

    I had a shop a few years ago that had no water, I got a 1500 gallon water tank from a buddy, had a water truck come by and fill it, 70 bucks, it lasted me six weeks though, running my trailer for showers laundry and cooking.

    The rain catchment IDE is good, your gonna need lots of barrels to collect the rain water for storage.

    Some more pics of your property and homestead setup would be appreciated

  2. Coal, I buy used stuff whenever I can from yard sales, thrift shops, flea markets, etc. If you eliminate all of the middle men who have to have "their" cut you can find some really sweet deals. Of course the sweetest deals are free! You just have to keep your eyes open.

    I'm still working on the storage part of the rainwater system. I was thinking of buying a (used of course) childs swimming pool, building a cover on top of it, and storing the rainwater in it. I'll take plenty of pics as I go along and post em.

    I'll be posting more picks of camp 420 as time goes on so keep stopping by.


  3. Nightshift here,
    Be careful with drinking water collected off galvanized metal. Think heavy metal poisoning or something like that. You may want to tarp a portion that you keep separate for drinking. Enjoying your blog.

  4. Nightshift, All water used for Drinking, cooking, etc. will be treated. Thanks for commenting

  5. Christopher de VidalJuly 16, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    Treating water can be cheap when you take advantage of your abundant sunshine on a solar still built from scrap parts. Unlike other methods it's very good at removing toxins, and is pretty low labor once you get 'er going.