The rainwater collection system hit a milestone this weekend. All of the pipes connecting the gutters to the cistern are connected, so the next rain will (finally!) collect in the cistern.
I'm happy with how the downspouts turned out. I had tried to use 3" pipe, transitioning to the 4" lines underground, but I couldn't find the right pieces in anything but the very heavy, unwieldy Schedule 40 (we're using the thinner, lighter SDR-35), so eventually I decided to go with 4" pipe. Although the downspouts are more conspicuous than they would be in 3" pipe, I like them fine. Plus we plan to train a climbing rose along the middle one of these three, so it will pretty much disappear as the rose grows up around it.
We're still a long way from finished, though. Now that the system is set up to get water into the cistern, we are turning our attention to getting water back out of the cistern -- an equally complicated pipefitting process that I've been working on bit by bit along with the intake pipes.
I'd like to think we're 75% of the way finished. But we're 100% finished working in the summer heat, so hopefully that last 25% will go a lot more quickly.