Thursday, August 5, 2010

Chapter 11 Beautiful rain fills the rain barrel

Mother Nature comes through with pure rain water

Sometimes you discover something by accident and it works out great. I had such an experience with a rain gutter this Spring. My gutter came loose from its connection in the ground. There was some erosion and it simply disconnected; so I had water running down to the patio. I had an "aha" experience and said " Gee, what if I got some kind of an flexible extension to hook onto the end of the gutter; I could divert that water to a barrel and get water direct from Mother Nature, rather than through the spigot".

I made sure I measured the gutter so I would buy a connector that would fit properly. I zipped over to my Home Depot store to buy the parts I needed. Sure enough, I found everything I needed; and it cost less than $10.00. I couldn't wait to get home to hook it up.

For once, everything worked as planned. I fastened the flexible gutter extension to the gutter and brought an extra plastic garbage barrel from the garage and placed it on the patio with the gutter positioned over the top of the barrel. I did have to prop up the gutter connector to help keep it at the proper grade so gravity could do its thing. I also had to keep it in line to dump the water over the barrel. All I needed now was a rain storm to see if it would work. I was like a little kid with eager anticipation.

Smaller water containers are a convenience and are available: free

A few days later we did get rain. It rained 'cats and dogs'; just what I was hoping for. I actually put my rain coat on during the storm to see how quickly the barrel would fill up. (Don't try this at home going out during the storm; I took a little risk with the lightening) I soon discovered that it was filling fast and I thought quick; I had an extra trash can in the garage and went to fetch it. Later, when the one container was full, I knew I could not move the barrel to make room for the empty one. So instead, I just bailed the water out of the full barrel into the empty one.

The next day I had just about two full barrels of rain water. Now I had to find containers to store the rain in; so I could use it to water my garden and flowers as needed. I started asking the neighbors to start saving their gallon milk containers. We did the same. Within a few weeks I must have had about 20 gallon containers. Since then I have about 50 containers; enough to keep the cycle going. With the two barrels I collect about 40-45 gallons of rain water.

Enough pure rain water to water my house plants and garden plants

There is a double benefit here. I save on my water bill, but perhaps more importantly I water my plants with rain water, including the vegetable plants. This means there is no chlorine in the water and it has not gone through a filtration process. Pure water strikes me as a nice alternative to tap water. A win/win that really doesn't take that much effort. The use of rain barrels is another pleasant surprise in my gardening experience. See you in the Garden.

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