Going with the Flow
Creating a this rainwater catchment system was an awesome experience. I think the main lesson that this has taught me is that in appropriate technology, as well as in life, one must always remain flexible. Using recycled materials for this project made the planning process impossible to work out in detail. Everything had to be able to be changed each step of the way as the pieces were fit together, sometimes reluctantly. I would recommend that someone embarking on a recycle project that includes a lot of materials start collecting early, and don't be afraid to bring home things even if your not sure that they'll fit. And if your plans don't work out quite the way you envisioned them, don't worry. Treat your project as an evolving creation.
Working with ferrocement was a really educational experience. I learned a great deal more from hands on experience with it than I could have from a book. It is an amazing medium that can be used for anything, from sculptures, to houses to water cisterns and septic tanks and I can't wail to use it again. One tip I can pass on is when filling a vertical wall of a ferrocement frame start with a heap of mortar at the bottom and press it inward and upward with the trowel. It was a trial and error process that was frustrating at times but definitely worth while. I would advise anyone who takes on a ferrocement project to allot about triple the amount of time they think it will take them to complete it.
I am looking forward to growing food in the gardens watered by the system this spring. Check out the photo gallery to see pictures of the prepared beds ect.