Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Merriwether harvests the sky.

We are on something like day infinity of a drought here in Texas which is leading to massive water bills as I try to keep the local HOA off my back. Apparently a green lawn is more important than a water shortage. Luckily the state of Texas is a bit wiser than most Home Owner's Associations because they (TX gov.) has actually passed a law making anything purchased for a rainwater harvesting system tax-free. I'd had three 55-gal drums originally used to ship Greek peppers to collect rainwater, but on Father's Day I added another three 66-gal Pepsi concentrate drums and a pre-flusher to my system. Now if it actually ever rains I'll be set to collect clean, clear water for my backyard permaculture food forest.

The main system.

The white drum held the Pepsi concentrate. The 4" PVC tubing is the preflush system. The first water coming off the roof will be loaded with dust, leaves, bird poop, and assorted other material I don't want in my barrels. This dirty water fills the PVC pipe before switching over to the barrels. This preflusher is simple but requires me to manually drain it by unscrewing the cleanout plug at the end.


Secondary barrels.

This system gives me over 350 gallons of rainwater. I wish I had steel roofing rather than asphalt shingles as with a metal roof I could easily purify this water for drinking. Asphalt shingles leach out toxins that are difficult to remove.

Adventure! Excitement! Rain!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Merriwether starts a fire.

Long-time readers may have noticed Misseswether has been appearing less and less frequently in my posts. Sadly, that was because she had been appearing less and less frequently in my life. Like so many couples married for a long time (currently 13 years for us) we'd been drifting apart into "married single's life".

In fact, we almost ended up moving into "single single's life". This was not a good thing. Neither of us wanted to separate, but we weren't really together anymore. Friends had noticed this and didn't like it, so they did what any good friends would do. They took our children away and packed us off to a Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekend!

Have I ever mentioned Misseswether and I have amazingly awesome friends? Yeah, we have amazingly awesome friends!!

It was not a vacation weekend. When you go to on of these "marriage bootcamps" they work you hard but with precision. The goal of the weekend is to teach you and your spouse how to use a very powerful communication tool/technique: dialogue. But not just any sort of talking, they teach you how to communicate and understand each other's feelings. They don't teach you how to solve problems or work out issues. All they do is teach you how to make each other understand each other's feelings.

Sounds hokey, doesn't it? Being a scientist, I thought "And this will help how?" along with also thinking, "I already know how she feels about everything". Turns out Misseswether was having the same thoughts.

We went in thinking it was going to be relationship snake oil.

We came out a changed couple, shocked by how much we still truly loved each other and how many misunderstandings had built up between us!!

We aren't suddenly a perfect, happy couple filled with infinite love...but we both think if we keep using this tool of dialogue...well, maybe we will be someday. We're certainly MUCH better off than we were three days ago.

Worldwide Marriage Encounter has been doing these classes for over forty years, so there's been a lot of refinement of the process over that time. It started out as a way to help Catholics with their marriage and does end with a Catholic mass, but it has spread to all other Christian faiths and all faiths are welcome to attend. These classes are held on very specific weekends so that all Catholic churches around the world pray during those Sunday masses for the couples going through the classes. Have you ever had MILLIONS of people praying for you at the same time? It is very humbling.

So, now what? Well for one thing, you are going to probably get fewer reports from the borderlands. I'll be spending much more time with the woman I married rather than heading off on adventures every weekend. You know, maybe you should look into attending one of these weekends, too...

Newlywed Wethers!

Adventure! Excitement! Feelings!

Sunday, June 05, 2011


Are you there readers, it's me, Merriwether... Sorry for such a drop in posting, I've been super-busy. Demand for my foraging classes have gone through the roof. That's incredibly fantastic, but it's reached the point where they've begun getting in the way of everything else. I ended up missing a daddy-daughter dance because they picked a date I'd already agreed to teach on. Miniwether was upset for days.

This weekend was another big weekend as I was one of the presenters at the Popular Mechanics Home Safety and Preparedness Show. It was the closest I've been to famous yet, and by famous I mean Cody Lundin!


I was especially excited about this presentation because Misseswether and the Wethergirls would get to watch me.

I spoke at 12:40pm. My part of the show was telling the story of how I organized our neighborhood to get us through Hurricane's Rita and Ike. The talk was a big hit!

Just like church, no one wanted to sit in the front row!!

See, there were actually people watching.

There were quite a few exceptional presentations though of course most people were there to see Cody Lundin.

Yes he was barefoot. He doesn't sugarcoat anything or shy away from rough language in his presentation, so if you do get a chance to see him think a bit before bringing younger kids...then bring the kids!! He says stuff most people really need to hear.

Along with my presentation I was interview by the Houston Chronicle, DIY-TV and a few other things. I ended up losing track. Maybe this will open some more doors for me...though I don't know where I'll find the time to walk through those doors!

Adventure! Excitement! Presentation!