Sunday, November 7, 2010

Meet (insert fun name here)...

This is my rain barrel.  I asked Shawn for ideas on a name for her but he looked at me like I was psycho, so I don't have a name for her yet.  Poo.

I got her this summer.  She was kinda expensive, but I really wanted her so I paid the money.  Hooking it up was really easy, and she's full all the time with over 60 gallons of free water!

Now how to use it?   Since my garden is pretty much retired for the winter, I don't need to water anything outside.  Therefore, I have turned it into a kind of game to find as many uses for the water as I can.

We are not advised to drink the water, since we don't know what kind of toxins the roofing materials are leeching into it, so that's out of the question.   I've found that filling up our washing machine with it for the first wash cycle uses a good amount, (maybe 8 gallons or so?) since we still have a top loading washer.  I don't know how I would be able to do it with a front loading washer.

I also try to use it to fill the toilet tank back up after each flush.  Not a super pain in the ass, just a little extra effort remembering to do it.  The only annoying part is to always remember to have a bucket full of rainwater ready in the bathroom for when it's needed.  I think I've gotten Shawn into doing it, though sometimes he forgets, and he asks me to hide the bucket when we have guests over.  I can do that, I don't need everyone to think I'm crazy and I wouldn't want to embarrass him either.

Other than those two uses, I haven't been able to come up with much more.  It's nice to be able to use it as an outside faucet to clean the dirt off my hands and boots and gardening tools when I'm finished with my work, and the chicken waterers are rinsed and cleaned with it too.  They do get to drink fresh water, though.

All in all, every gallon of water I use out of the rain barrel makes me feel like I am a responsible citizen of this community.  It's free, (I don't think I'm going to go through the trouble calculating money savings,) and it's also nice to be able to use water that has not gone through the whole treatment process.  I heard somewhere that it is technically illegal to harvest rainwater, since it is "owned" by the city, but that's just one of those silly laws that is on paper, but no one cares about.  Does stealing rainwater count as stickin' it to the man?  I'm so hardcore.


  1. Whoa, good idea about the toilet. I hate flushing the toilet cause ours uses so much water, and we even have two bricks back there.

    About the name, I like to name things after what they look like, so I vote for Big Red. (I also have a teddy bear named Ted and a violin named Old Woody, so thats how creative I am)

  2. We also save the water that usually just goes down the drain as we wait for the shower to warm up and use that for the toilets too. That saves about 5 gallons a day. Shawn was super skeptical about that too, but after seeing how much water is usually wasted, he was sold.


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