Clean the gutters

Clean the gutters or you will end up with smelly drinking water; it's a chore all homeowners should do whether they are harvesting the rain or not.

It’s now several months since we have had rain, and most likely your tanks and reservoirs too are low. It is time to roll up your sleeves and clean them out. It is not a pleasant chore, but must be done if we want clean, potable water when the Spring drizzle begins.

The place to start is with the gutters; it’s definitely my least favourite Saturday afternoon job, but they will be filled with autumn leaves that will soon give your water a greenish tinge and an unpleasant smell.

Make sure the ladder is on stable ground, and preferably have someone hold it or lash it to a purloin. Take up a bucket, various paddles and a cut-off two litre milk jug to scoop up any sludge; it makes great humus for the garden.

Finally drain the sump that catches the dirt from the roof and then hose down your gutters; the detritus will be washed into the emptied area from which you can then scoop it out. It's unpleasant but takes just one afternoon every year.

Clean the gutters

There are various leaf-traps that will protect your gutters; I must look into them.

One of the joys of a fibreglass tank is that they come with a plug at the base that you can unscrew and most of the gunge will pour out without any effort; plastic may be more difficult. Slosh it out with a hosepipe to get it clean; obviously you save as much as possible for the garden.

The most difficult is the reservoir, if you are privileged to have one. A hired pump with a large throat that will suck up all the debris makes life a lot simpler. Then you simply have to use various squeegees and buckets to clean out any decomposed leaves and other fine material that has settled at the bottom.

A five-litre icecream container is useful for scraping up the sludge. It takes me a couple hours; once a year, so one can’t complain considering the abundant rainwater harvest that makes us independent of municipal vagaries.

Actually they are no longer unexpected; they have become the norm. At the time of writing in 2022 there are proposals on the table to increase the price of water by an unfathomable 75% 

This is also the time to open the compost heaps, and get all that wonderful humus into the garden in readiness for spring; we let the hens mull it over, pecking out the cutworms and other larvae.

Compost heaps in late winter is a subject all its own; leave one small part for the butternut and pumpkin seeds.

We do our best to save the earthworms which are returned to the compost heap. A bakkie-load of manure does wonders too.

If you are planning to raise chicks this is the time to get the nesting box in readiness; you’ll soon have a broody hen or two. It needs to be placed close to the rest of the flock, but separate so the mother isn’t disturbed by the other birds; it needs to be secure at night so that the uchakide will not attack them; I like that Zulu word but not the creature.  

We could go on about pruning the hydrangeas and roses, but I will leave that for the gardening columns; it’s a busy time around the green home.

Hopefully you are reaping baskets of fresh peas and carrots; radish and even the peppadews are still thriving. Your lettuce, kale and spinach are at their best.

Many of human health problems are associated with our increasingly sedentary lifestyles; you have the choice of pumping iron at the gym, or lifting buckets of gunge, and turning compost heaps. For my part, I would choose the latter; I like to see something visible achieved after all that effort.

I hope you noticed the small solar panel in the photo above; it powers the gate motor.

A solar gate motor gives you a lot of protection against lightning and mains surges; our builtin charger was blown and a dedicated PV turned out to be a much cheaper and more satisfactory option than having the device repaired.

Another great depression?

The Great Depression occurred nearly a century ago after a great war followed by the Spanish flu pandemic. As I write in 2022 senior financial advisors like Jim O-Neill are talking about the third economic recession[3] in three years. Could that be the harbinger of things to come?

The future is uncertain and I believe it's time to makes sure we are resilient should great hardship lie ahead. That means doing our own chores like cleaning the gutters and contemplating what we would do if retrenched; does pristine, free water without contaminants not seem attractive in any event?

Clean the gutters

Clean the gutters or your water will be tainted with organic matter. First it will start to smell and then stink; your showers will no longer be relaxing and very pleasant.

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Our newsletter is entitled "create a cyan zone" at your home, preserving both yourself, the family and friends, and Mother Earth for future generations. We promise not to spam you with daily emails promoting various products. You may get an occasional nudge to buy one of my books!

Here are the back issues.

  • Mill your own flour
  • Bake your own sourdough bread
  • Microplastics from our water
  • Alternative types of water storage
  • Wear your clothes out
  • Comfort foods
  • Create a bee-friendly environment
  • Go to bed slightly hungry
  • Keep bees
  • Blue zone folk are religious
  • Reduce plastic waste
  • Family is important
  • What can go in compost?
  • Grow broad beans for longevity
  • Harvest and store sunshine
  • Blue zone exercise
  • Harvest and store your rainwater
  • Create a cyan zone at your home

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56 Groenekloof Rd,

Hilton, KZN

South Africa