...sometimes even a single feather is enough to fly. (Robert Maclean)


rain barrels

It's been a big time drought this summer.

The ground is cracking, opening itself up
for any trickle of water that could possibly seep in.

Our pond is down more than two feet.
The sweet little meandering stream in the chicken yard dried up ages ago
like it was only a dream.

Even well established trees are looking like they're struggling not to wilt away.

Short of rain dances and prayers,
there is one other thing you can do...

You can set up a rain catchment system!
A rain catchment system is a way to harvest rainwater from surfaces -- generally roofs.
Basically, hook up some barrels to your gutter downspouts and you'll be in business!

In about a minute of a good downpour, your barrels will fill right up!

Full speed ahead...
Catch that rain!

During a really good downpour we wish we had dozens of barrels...!
This one is already overflowing after only 90 seconds!

It's really a lot of fun!

Over the years we've managed to hook up 6 rain barrels, each holding 55 gallons.
So during any given burst of rain
we can quickly fill up 330 gallons of rainwater for future rationing out.


There are ways to hook up an empty barrel
(drill the right size hole, outfit it with a spigot and whatnot,
install some sort of screen on top to keep debris from clogging up, etc.)

Even if you get your rain barrels all ready to go, as we have,
you'll still need to deal with those downspouts.

Things you'll need: 
- a saw for metal and/or tin snips (to cut the gutter)
- a shovel (to level the ground where you want to place it)
- some bricks or stones if you want it to be raised off the ground
 (to be able to put a bucket under the spigot on the bottom)
And depending on how/where you're setting up, you might need
-  a diverter of some sort to aim the water into the rain barrel

Do this:
 Find your spot. 
Level it as best you can.
Raise it up with your material of choice if you want bucket access at the base.
Saw off your downspout higher than your rain barrel, but not too high. 
Insert a diverter to aim into your barrel's screened opening. 


You're ready to catch yourself some rain
to save for a non-rainy day
to give to your thirsty plants.

Here are some of our rain barrels...

I can see now that I need to level this one out better!

These flexible accordion diverters allow you to get multiple types
of configurations going on depending on what works best for your spot.
I think they're about $10 and they're easy to find at local hardware stores.

This one above was our most complicated set-up
because we needed to put our barrel on the other side of the house
at a 90 degree angle from our downspout.
It looks a little wacky, but it has worked out fine.

Down the hatch!
This one is a bit more straight forward...

FYI: hoses hook up easily.

Have fun trying to catch yourself some rain
for a non-rainy day...!


We have found that the hose on the bottom doesn't work very well in the long-run.  
Sediment ends up in the bottom of the barrel, despite the filtering screen on top.
We remedied the problem by cutting the lids so that they lift back.  
It was easy enough with a multi-tool.

Now, we simply lift the lid and scoop 1-gallon buckets down in and pull up the water. 
It's much easier and faster that way.

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