|little man takes it upon himself to keep the garlic watered|
It looked like tonight was going to be the first big roof-shaker of a rainstorm. The big puffy cumulonimbus were coming in from the west and the sky was unnaturally yellow- then orange. We waited a little bit to put the kids to bed, wondering if we'd have to head for the basement instead of the second floor.
But it passed quickly and quietly- now there's just a little rumbling off in the distance and the occassional pitter-pat on the window. A good storm as storms go.
Our new oak rain barrel is now catching the rain off of one fourth of our roof, so I went out after the storm passed to see how much it filled. Not quite half- not a lot of rain for what the sky had looked like.
I have been wanting to get a rain barrel for many years now, and hoping for an oak one, not the blue plastic kind I see every here and there. I know the blue plastic ones are recycled, but they were never intended to be a garden ornament. There is no paint that can make one of those things look good. At least in my mind.
Luckily, our neighborhood, Union Park, sponsored a rain barrel workshop last weekend and I was able to get an oak wine barrel for only $79! About half of what I've seen them advertised for elsewhere. A real wine barrel- complete with burgundy and black mottled crystals on the inside and the strong smell of red wine wafting out. The barrels were truly beautiful- much more so than I had expected. Some were from France, others from California. Mine ended up being a Californian, although I lingered for a while by a beautiful French barrel with a gorgeous art-nouveau label burned into the header. Ultimately, it was the spacing of the metal bands and not the label which was the deciding factor. My Californian barrel had more space at the top and bottom for a spigot and an overflow than the French one. Au revoir, sexy label.
|our new oak rain barrel|
Apparently the oak barrels have a capacity of 59 gallons- which seems like a lot to me. As soon as it arrived (the people running the workshop were kind enough to deliver it, as I couldn't get it in the trunk of the Corolla) I built a platform for it out of Chilton limestone in order to create a bit more water pressure, then filled it with water from the hose. It leaked a bit, as they said it would, while the staves wetted and expanded in order to hold water. Then I turned on the tap, and voila- our own little water tower!
There wasn't really that much pressure- but it still was enough to impress me. Less than our garden hose, but more than a trickle. I found out that it takes a long time to empty 59 gallons of water at that level of water pressure. I filled a few watering cans to water the new strawberries and blueberry shrub, but that didn't make much of a dent. Then we had to go somewhere, and it rained the next morning, and the barrel was up to the top again.
So today was hot- 86F at about 5:30 when I checked. The kids were outside and my daughter (as always) wanted to play in the pool. I've had to say no for something like 8 months now, so I was happy to finally be able to say yes. Knowing that it was going to rain tonight and fill the barrel anyway, I turned the tap on and let her do whatever she liked with the garden hose- something she rarely gets to do. She filled the pool, jumping around and flailing the hose back and forth singing 'it's raining, it's raining'. So cute.
The little guy wasn't feeling so well- just having been at the ER for a case of strep last night, so he took it easy and just sort of poked around the yard. He was really in to watering the garlic on Sunday, and filled up a few times from the barrel (with some help) to water. But he was really intent on it. Nobody told him to, but he went around to each plant, giving it a little water, then moving on, not looking up, just focused on the garlic.
|punkin' watering everything in sight with the rain barrel hose|
|'so- what do i do now?'|
If nothing else, I love that cycling and co-ops and farmers' markets are the new indicator of hipness. I love that I have been around long enough to become hip by default. And that Minnesota is the epicenter of it.
Also unrelated to rain barrels- check out the difference two months makes. I took the first picture today- May 10th, then one below it was taken from the same point two months earlier.
I love this sort of thing. In two more months, the yard will be completely lush and overgrown. I'll have to take another photo then. Somebody remind me.