22 May 2012

blue water

I have a rain barrel! It was a mother's day gift, but I was waiting to be able to give a performance report, before writing. It was easy enough to install; I removed the main segment of drainpipe that ran up the corner of the  house, set the barrel underneath on top of a cinder block, and used the flexible downspout extension piece to run from the gutter corner into the barrel. Screws from the bracket that held the original downspout went easily into the plastic of the extension piece to hold it in place. Then of course I had to get up on a ladder, clean out the gutter and pour some water to see if it would run down properly. It did! trickle, trickle, into the barrel.
And after just one day of steady rain, not even very heavy, the barrel is entirely full. The overflow spout is just angled over the edge of my patio and I put the five-gallon bucket under that and it's full now, too. And there's four more days of rain predicted. I'm going to have to get a segment of hose to run the overflow out onto the grass. The barrel holds a bit more than fifty gallons. I'm already thrilled at being able to just walk out, turn a spigot, and get plenty of water for all my delicate houseplants that go brown around the edges when given tapwater. I think they'll be much happier now, and there's plenty left for watering my garden on the dry days.

We'll see how much this barrel conserves my water use through the growing season; I'll probably still have to turn on the hose at some point when the barrel goes dry and no rain in sight, but really I'm already amazed at the potential it has given me. Can you imagine if I had a barrel on each downspout? this one is set under one of the smallest roof segments, too. You can always run the overflow spout into a second barrel, as well. I've seen naysayers claim that these rain barrels don't really help you much but I already beg to differ. If it cuts down on my water bill from keeping the garden green, and makes my houseplants happy with a clean drink, it's invaluable to me.

Oh, and I forgot to mention it happens to smell nice. It held food originally, and smells wonderfully of vanilla. I love the scent of vanilla, and now every time I'm around that corner of the garden I get strong whiffs of it. Nice!

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