I am a faithful reader of your Letter from Birdland in the News-Gazette. I just subscribed to a magazine called Cappers, published in Topeka, KS. The first issue came this week and the lead story was Free Range Chickens. I immediately thought of you. There are other articles and many recipes.
- I thought that your readers may find this an interesting magazine. You may already know about it, but I didn't until I visited my cousin on Memorial Day and she had a copy. The Web site is: http://cappers.grit.com/
- I was especially interested in the article about heirloom animals. I'd love to be able to help preserve an heirloom species.
First of all we've enjoyed your idyllic little backyard snapshots.
- Earlier this year I purchased a couple rain barrels as part of Champaign's attempt to stem the flooding problems in the Clark Park & other areas. They offered rebates but for Champaign city residents only. I got one barrel at that "green store" near the Orpheum & one from the soil conservation dept which was also a better deal since they charged no sales tax.
- I've been experimenting with them & have a few tips. The barrels I got both have plastic faucets at the bottom. I was concerned about stripping the threads from repeated use. So I bought a couple brass "extenders" which I could attach to the barrel & connect the hose to the brass extension. The brass parts I got from Menard's also had a built in valve that would give me a backup shut-off.
- I bought a commercial soaker hose because the water came out too fast even under the low pressure & I found myself either baby-sitting the hose so I wouldn't put 5 or 10 gallons in the same place. But the soaker opening were way to small for the low pressure & they just stopped working before the barrel was drained. So I bought a 6 foot length of hose & drilled 1/8": holes every 8" or so (make sure you have a board underneath while drilling). I capped the end with the cap from the soaker hose (though you can also buy those at any hardware supply).
- So I put my homemade soaker at the end of a hose & leave it along a row in my veg garden and move it every 5 minutes or so. From my experimentation I'm putting out about a gallon per minute. I measure by putting a clean piece of wood into the barrel & put it against the "index" molded into the barrel. If the water comes out too fast, use a little duct tape. If you feel the flow is too little, drill another hole.