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August 2016 Water Catch Work

Lots more early mornings and progress on the earthship water catch is coming along nicely.

To recap on the process and layers; we filled in the area between the roof and the new water tank with subsoil, compacted it as much as we could. Then created the shape of the water catch area - with a slope to direct the water from the roof to the tank entrance and an overflow into the back up tank.

This was then covered with a layer of sieved sub soil, sand in effect, to protect the 2 layers of plastic that went on next.

On top of the plastic we laid out chicken wire, our version of strengthening, for the final 2cm layer of concrete. The concrete was made using very gravely sand for strength.

Once we finish all the fiddly bits I'll paint it with a couple of layers of terrace paint - the same that we've used on the roof - to make sure it's nice and water proof and catching clean rainwater.

A wood block helps us check the depth of the concrete

I took the time to smooth the surface of the concrete as I was going. Not quite polished, but as near as I could get it with such thick gravel.

Smooth concrete ensures good water flow
Phew this is hard work!

The final section finished - yey!

The first day we started to concrete it started to rain! I know, beginning of August it's not supposed to do this. Luckily it was just a sprinkling and the clouds helped the concrete dry slowly and so not crack.

Check out this YouTube video to see the first water we caught with our new area...

Ugh, what a mess!

I can't wait until this corner is properly sorted. We're going to replace the bitumen and then on top build it out a bit and cover with another layer of bitumen so the water is well away from the corner.

Btw, the bit covered in cane, black plastic and tyres is the roof of the porch which will eventually be planked and covered in bitumen... when is anyones guess!!


Dave heat joining the new bitumen.


Unfortunately when we tried to buy the bitumen from our regular supplier we found they were on holiday for August (I should've known). So we bought a roll from a different place. It was supposed to be the same weight per sqm but when we started laying it we realised it was a bit thinner and not such good quality, hence the wrinkles. I'm hoping the sun will help it sink and soften into a nice flat finish.

A layer of terrace paint helps keep the new bitumen cool

Any water attracts insects

I was delighted and surprised to see this Orange-winged Dropwing (I think that's what it is, but I'm open to suggestions!) flitting about as we were working on the water catch. We first came across these last year on our visit to Rio de Aguas.

I think it was attracted to the water we were spraying on the drying concrete to keep it from cracking.

This is either a female or a juvenile. We also had a bright red-orange male darting about.

I love their delicate wings

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