Tuesday, July 16, 2013

It's raining in our rain barrel

It isn't easy to water all the new plants in the front garden.The nearest spigot is in the garage below, so leaving the tap open and trusting the valve on the hose nozzle is out of the question.

Even trailing the hose under the garage door and up to the garden, so skippy little children can run down and turn on the spigot involves leaving the garage door jimmied so the hose is not crushed.

One day it came to me:  a rain barrel.  The downspout is right there.  I spent a day researching how to have a rain barrel that was not a blue tub. My heart was more than a little set on a barrel that looked like a barrel.

Charm and practicality did not come together.  I already have the finest downspouts in the universe; that pipe runs down the side of the house, under the driveway below, and out to the ravine, fail-safe for twenty-five years.  

Jan and I went shopping and found this one.  The downspout does not terminate in the barrel, the barrel ties into the downspout.  

Tom installed the barrel over the weekend, and it received his seal of approval.  There is a clever gate that closes when the barrel is full and lets the rain water continue its course out to the ravine and the creek below.

After three weeks of rain we are stuck in a week of hot and humid, with no forecast of rain until week's end. Tom couldn't wait that long; he filled the barrel from the well and Laura and I gave it a test run yesterday.

It is so hot we needed to water again tonight to keep all our transplantees happy.  But, five days of hot and humid just turned into a mighty fine thunderstorm, and it's raining in our rain barrel!

 A song of my mother's:

Playmate, come out and play with me

And bring your dollies, three

Climb up my apple tree

Holler down my rain-barrel
Slide down my cellar door
And we'll be jolly friends forever more

But she couldn't come out and play

It was a rainy day

With tearful eye she breathed a sigh
And I could hear her say

I'm sorry, playmate, I cannot play with you

My dolly's got the flu, boo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo

Ain't got no rain-barrel, ain't got no cellar door
But we'll be jolly friends forever more


  1. A rain barrel is a terrific idea.

  2. hehe goody ... the barrel has been baptised ... :)

  3. I love when it rains after a dry spell! The rain barrel will be useful to you during those dry spells ;-)

  4. Oh heck we sang that when I was a kid!! And yeah, I love your rain barrel!!!!

    1. I can remember belting those three lines to the sky--Look down my rain barrel, slide down my cellar door, and we'll be jolly friends for ever more. They had resonance and fit the timing of bicycle pedaling so nicely.

  5. We have had so much rain. I cut soggy grass today but we had drought last year so will shut up. Your barrel is far better looking than big plastic colored ones.

  6. Your mother's song was perfect for this post.. We have two manufactured rain barrels that we have on the sides of the house. One is next to my raised vegetable beds and it is a god send in this hot weather. I just lay the hose in there and let it do it's work. No fuss, no muss and no winding up that string of four long, heavy hoses. I also save money in my water bill which is a bonus. Sometimes the old ways are better.

  7. "the finest downspouts in the universe" - hmm I've never had my downspouts rated. I don't think they would measure up very that well. We have one spot where we use a plastic garage can. Not too classy.

  8. Oh my God, that song. I know all the words. And I love the rain barrel. You are having a wonderful summer.

  9. That song - I've never heard it before. Did you make it up, or have you been on the weed again?

  10. Every thing old is new again, it's a good solution.

  11. That rain barrel looks not only practical but attractive too. It seems a very ingenious design. It will come in very handy.

  12. That is a fine *all bells and whistles* rain barrel!
    Jane x

  13. That's one nice-looking rain barrel. Much nicer than any I've seen around here :-)

  14. Yay for your barrel. Very nice looking and very practical. Wouldn't do much good here. Too high and dry. But I'm jealous.

  15. Yahoo! I'm so happy for you. We put a rain barrel in last year and are really happy with it. Now we're even happier when it rains. You guys did a great job!

  16. I bought three 50 gallon trash cans and got the the parts, cut holes, installed spigots and sealed it all up. Alas, the plast trash cans were not strong enough to handle the weight of all the water and cracks appeared in the bottoms. going on the cheap didn't work, but the heavy duty rain barrels are so expensive.

  17. How wonderful to have a rain barrel, Joanne! It is so hot and humid in Montreal right now, I am seriously praying for rain.

  18. Once again I wish I could hear you say what you write ! I have two wooden water barrels & in rainy times the overflow goes into the drain. Both are nearly empty !!!

    Sweet song.

  19. Your rain barrel looks very nice. Down here in Aus. we have bigger ones and call them tanks. When I was little all houses had a rainwater tank in the backyard, even in my twenties new homes were being built with a tank in the back. Then they got phased out for some silly government reason and people had to rely on the town water system for their gardens. Now the tide has turned and tanks are once again being installed, but they're plastic. Very sturdy and come in a range of styles, sizes and colours, but they're an optional extra. In this dry country of ours (and others too) they should be a standard inclusion when building a new home.