Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The rains of winter

Winter officially began just a few days ago. Growing up in Central Illinois, I have memories of some winters with sub-zero temperatures, lots of snow, and incredible ice storms. This is our sixth winter in Kentucky, and they have all been mild in comparison to the winters I remember on the plains of Illinois. Usually, the ground doesn't freeze except temporarily and only a few inches deep. The major form of precipitation we receive is rain. Lots of rain, usually. At least, it seems that way. Slogging around in mud is a usual thing, because until later in Spring, the ground stays wet.

Last week brought cloudy skies and rain. It also brought wind. All week. I was going to spend several days in the woods hunting deer as it was our late muzzleloader season. The weather was less than ideal for it all week except for two days. So, no deer. I'll try not to complain about the wind we've been having. Generally, we don't have too much, at least not like in the flatlands where there are few trees and no hills to stop or slow down the wind.

After our coldest temps yet this year (5 degrees Monday morning), we had more rain yesterday, last night, and today. Dad said his gauge measured over two inches of rain today. At times it came down quite heavily. The temperatures have been up, though. We were in the 60s today. A chance for more rain is forecast for Friday and Saturday with more 60 degree temperatures.

When the rain comes down hard, the creeks rise and really flow. All that water has to go somewhere. Rain on hilly land is a different experience than it is on flat land. It's amazing how much power water possesses when it flows downhill. I've had to fix my driveway after storms several times. The water will move the gravel quite a ways if given a chance.



Do you have plans for harnessing that power?


The main way in which I plan on harvesting that power is using gravity to pressurize our water system in the new house. We'll have a cistern in the garage at the top of the hill for storing rainwater harvested off of the garage roof. I'll run a 1.5" pipe down the hill to our house in order to ensure sufficient flow. I've guessed that the static pressure will be between 20 and 30 psi. We'll also be able to pump water up this line into the cistern from our well and/or other cisterns that collect off of the house roof. If the creek flowed all of the time, we would definitely harness that power.

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