The lawn at the Dave from Albury Compound is one of the many things that had suffered from neglect over the years, but has been receiving plenty of attention of late. Last weekend I unboxed lawn seed, bought home a trailer load of sandy loam, and set about repairing the extensive bare patches in the front and back yard.
The problem that immediately sprang up was how to keep the seed damp while it germinated, seeing as how Albury is still on anti-lawn water restrictions. The obvious solution was to invest in a grey water setup, one of the myriad things that have been ‘on the list’ to do forever, but never materialised. Mrsdave sent me to Bunnings with the idea of one of those wheelie bin style tanks in mind, but things didn’t turn out quite as she’d expected.
The plan was to grab a small tank from Bunnings, drop it home and then head to The Rock Yard to get the loam, what Mrsdave hadn’t considered in the plan was my ability to sniff out a bargain. The glorified wheelie bins, holding a meagre 100 litres cost $80, while a 500 litre tank was available for a mere $99. There was no question about what to do, the value equation was inescapable, I had to have the 500 litre beauty.
The first problem that this exposed was the fact that I hadn’t packed any ropes or tie downs for the trailer, expecting to be carrying a wheelie bin home. Still, I was only a few blocks from home, what could go wrong? I sat the tank in the trailer and slowly proceeded home. The trip was uneventful until I drove over the freeway overpass that connects East Albury to the rest of town. The freeway, with sound barriers down each side, caught the wind much like a long valley would and as I drove onto the bridge a gust of wind blew my newly acquired water tank across two lanes of traffic. It’s moments like these that you appreciate the comically large hazard lights button that European cars have, I hit it, pulled up and jumped out of the car to retrieve my wayward tank. Thankfully my fellow motorists enjoyed the sight of me running around after a plastic tank enough to avoid the onset of road rage, I put the tank back in the trailer and creeped back to the Dave from Albury Compound.
The second problem that I encountered was that Mrsdave was expecting me to return with an upright rectangular thing on wheels, not a big, squat, round thing. Mercifully the presence of our children restrained Mrsdave from fully verbalising her feelings. However, once placed in situ with the benefit of an attractive looking tank stand, Mrsdave agreed that the larger tank was indeed a good choice.
It turned out that it was actually a very lucky choice, as our first attempt at capturing the water from our washing machine revealed that it uses close to 100 litres of water when we do a medium wash and rinse. That was actually quite a shock as it’s not something we’ve ever given a great deal of thought to. So by the end of the day we had close to 400 litres of water in the tank, ready to water the new lawn.
Watering the lawn wasn’t as easy as I’d imagined either. I didn’t expect much in the way of water pressure, but I did hope it would be enough to seep out of a soaker hose. That was right for about 10% of the soaker hose, but for the most part it was a no go so I had to find another solution. Another trip to Bunnings, a pair of watering cans and a short piece of hose later and we have ‘a system’ now. Fill one, empty one; fill one, empty one; there’s a lovely zen quality to it.
So now we wait for 5-12 days see how successful this latest gardening effort goes. Hopefully the lawn will be established enough to survive whatever summer throws at it. In the mean time I’m going to pipe the drain from our evaporative cooler to the tank, perhaps even add a second one as an overflow and continue to enjoy the new found sense of achievement that our home is bringing me.