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e_moon60

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Wildlife Rescue (mirrored from Universes blog) [Aug. 4th, 2016|12:01 am]
e_moon60
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I was walking back to the house today when I heard a sort of scuffling noise that seemed to be coming from the carport.   It didn’t sound like an ordinary cat-noise, but I thought one of the idiot younglings might have gotten up in the engine compartment and then stuck there.  Or even (not a happy thought) in the interior of the car.   No cat, adult or middler,  was in the car, under the car, or responded when I thumped the roof.  But something scuffled somewhere.   I followed the noise and began to hear watery noises.  Water?  It hasn’t rained for weeks (and weeks.)  Little splashes and scuffles….and then I realized something alive was in the washout pipe of the rainwater collection system.

Wildlife-in-the-pipe-08-03-2016


We collect rainwater from the roofs (house, barn, carport…and out on the land, from the roofs of the three purpose-built rain barns) and use it in wildlife waterers, also purpose-built.  And (the barn tanks) to water the horse.  The black monster is a 2500 gallon storage tank–water comes down the roof to the gutter, down the gutter to that pipe slanting away to the left, and thence into the tank through a protected opening (heavy mesh, then thinner mesh to keep out mosquitoes, with rocks on top to hold the mesh down.)  The pipe that slants steeply to the right is the washout pipe.  The first water off the roof is very dirty (dust, ashes, bird poop, leaves, twigs, feathers…) and at least some of the mess goes into the washout pipe, which can be emptied later.

But something ran along the gutter and then into the pipe.  So the pipe was lowered, slowly and carefully, so the water would run out of the washout pipe, and when most of it was out, out came a beslimed and soaking wet squirrel-sized animal, its fur plastered to it, and very, very glad to get out of a hot pipe with dirty water in it.  We were prepared to help…but no.   Ears flat, it fled across the drive into the bushes.

To the writer mind–in addition to the interesting details of getting a (probable) squirrel out of a pipe without getting bitten (there’s a story behind that thought)–this presents new possibilities for characters in difficulty.  How would you get out of a much larger version of a smooth PVC-or-something-similar pipe?   What if it was this big?  What big?  (As in calculus books, I leave this as an exercise for the reader…and just barely refrain from saying the solution is intuitively obvious.)   A cascade of questions–of research ideas–went racing through my head…but they’re not pertinent to the book presently being written.  At least not yet.  It’s not half done yet.

I’m really glad I heard that critter scrabbling away in the pipe.   I wish I’d been smart enough to grab the camera and take pictures as the water was pouring out.  Then again–would’ve been unfair to the squirrel (or whatever) to show it as it looked.



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Comments:
[User Picture]From: thewayne
2016-08-04 03:27 pm (UTC)
In Colorado, apparently it was illegal to collect rainwater like that, you hoarder you! ;-)

Something about Colorado River water allocation contracts or similar weirdness. They had a voter referendum to take the law off the books recently.

I'm glad the critter escaped to hopefully live another day.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2016-08-04 04:11 pm (UTC)
Colorado's law is stupid. First off, only water west of the Continental Divide gets to the Colorado River. Second, water that is stored and then used gets either into the groundwater/acquifers, or runs off *then*. Water always runs downhill in the end. In the meantime, it's available for emergency use or use for which treated water is both expensive and potentially harmful. Why should cities treat water that will then end up on a lawn, garden, or tree when rain barrels could keep desired plantings alive? And why have street and small stream flooding from all the rooftop runoff (water off a roof can increase the "rainfall" on a city lot to double the actual rainfall, but it increases intensity which decreases transport to groundwater.)

Texas Water Quality Board encourages rainwater capture for gardens, livestock, wildlife, etc. So we do it. And in the present dire state of this town's water supply (1 of 4 wells actually working, and that one is pumping into a very leaky storage tank) being able to water the horse out of our barn-roof tanks, and keep wildlife watered from stored water is good for the city and for the critters that use it.
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[User Picture]From: gifted
2016-08-05 02:59 am (UTC)
I'm glad you heard it too. Always warming to rescue an animal (even if it were some accidental human entrapment that had it hostage). And from another, less heartfelt perspective, it could have been very sickening to the water supply if s/he had died in there and noone noticed.

Are you going to think about redesigning the run-off pipe, or do you think it was a rare enough occurrence not to bother?
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2016-08-05 03:36 am (UTC)
Yes, we were happy to free it alive. As for contamination, the washout pipe doesn't drain into the main tank. Its purpose it to trap dirt and debris before they get into the tank. Some of it, anyway.

There's not really a way to redesign the system and keep it entirely safe for critters, as large amounts of water have to flow through it, from roof to tank or washout pipe. Anything a big enough stream of water can get through, a critter can get through. The tank's got filters on its intake (not visible in that photo) but we want to capture all the water we can, and that means the intake needs to be open.

This is the first time something like this has happened, and we've had that tank there for years (not even sure how many...10 maybe?) Previous times of draining the washout pipe--never found a corpse in it.

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[User Picture]From: gifted
2016-08-05 07:18 am (UTC)
Ah, true. That's good. :> I think it's great that you catch your own water. I look forward to a day where I can use my own water storage tanks (I'm currently, sadly, on town water supply).
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2016-08-05 01:13 pm (UTC)
We're also on the town water supply for house water. We don't have the storage capacity to go all-independent. (With the possibility of no rain for 100+ days at a time, and total yearly rainfall often <20 inches--even as low as ten in a drought cycle--we'd need a lot more storage capacity.)
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[User Picture]From: blueeowyn
2016-08-05 01:09 pm (UTC)
I'm glad the critter is OK. I love reading about your rain storage devices. Which horse do you have? I remember Drama Queen having issues a few years ago but Banana Face wasn't young.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2016-08-05 01:13 pm (UTC)
Drama Queen, AKA Mac.
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