Thursday, May 14, 2015

Draining work

Late this morning I thought I’d have a quick look at Facebook before moving on to my next task, and I noticed that Civil Defence had posted a warning from MetService, NZ’s weather agency:
MetService has issued a Severe Weather Watch for a period of heavy rain expected this evening and overnight in Auckland. Local heavy falls may cause surface flooding in urban areas.
So, I shared it to my personal page, adding: “Hm… maybe I should go out any make sure our drains are clear.” This time of year, that’s always a good thing to do.

Auckland winters are usually rainy, sometimes for days on end. So, it’s a good idea to check the drains (if any) that one has. In our case, we have a drain in the front garden and to the side of the garage, both catch rainwater runoff from paved areas. We also have a slit drain along the entire front of our garage, since we’re on the downward slope of a hill (the drain catches runoff that would otherwise go into the garage, under the overhead door.

Over summer, all sorts of things make it into these drains: Silt from the runoff, leaves and twigs, and all sorts of other “outside” detritus. Most of our drains empty out, but the slit drain fills up with muck over time (and earthworms move in—I’d like to know how they get in there in the first place when there’s nowhere with dirt within worm-squirm distance).

So, today I went and cleared one drain that was covered in leaves from a nearby deciduous tree, then cleaned-up accumulated surface debris near the slit drain. I also opened up the slit drain to scoop out the gunk (my garden trowel fits in the drain perfectly). The photo up top shows the slit drain open with my garden trowel in it. I was sitting on the floor of the garage, where the door sits when it’s down.

I filled a black rubbish sack with all the stuff, and the muck made it pretty heavy, since much of it was basically mud. After letting it stew a bit, I’ll dump it out at the back of the section to benefit the bushy area there—free compost!

As it happens, the storms aren’t predicted to be bad in Auckland, though there could be some local flooding (from blocked drains, I bet!). So, I didn’t clean the drains specifically for this storm; instead, I just used it as a reminder to get the drains ready for the coming winter rains. And, now they are.

Whenever I have to do things like this—and a house and its gardens need constant maintenance—I’m reminded of the benefits of apartment living. Well, that or being rich enough to have staff to take care of such things. Then I tell myself that such chores are just part of my exercise programme. It doesn’t really help, to be honest, and I’m physically tired now.

In fact, you could say I found today’s chores really draining.

I looked up and noticed that Bella was helping me. She was keeping leaves from blowing toward me.

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