Wednesday, June 22, 2011

#38 - Old Whiskey Rain Barrels...I'm in Love

Houston, we HAVE rain! All morning, into the early part of the day, it's been raining here in the Houston area and this is great because we have been in a serious drought. Hearing the sound of rolling thunder and the pitter patter of rain has been awesome. Actually, the sound of rain is a bit drowned out by the many fans we have running in the house, but it is still incredible to see rain!
After experiencing a long drought, again, I am further convinced that having a few rain barrels strategically installed around the house would be beneficial. Once we move to our acreage, we will definitely utilize rain barrels, especially around the cabin for our landscaped plantings.

I love this old barn with the improvised rain barrel and the watering
can nearby for dipping to water where needed.
However, I don't want just any old rain barrel, I want the old-fashioned style that will go with our rustic wooded land. Any rain barrels that we get for our house in the city will be taken with us when we move to our farm. So, when we sell our home in the city, the rain barrels will definitely be listed as an "exclusion" to the sale of our home. But, I'm sure every potential buyer who comes through will love the idea and want the barrels to stay. Well, I'm fairly sure...

There are some rain barrels that are made of plastics, but they aren't my preferred choice. They look very utilitarian, but I'm wanting a rain barrel for practical purposes to harvest rainfall, yet my preference is an old-fashioned whiskey barrel configured to catch rain.

Plastic style, nice, but not exactly what I want.
I checked out a great site that have some awesome barrels and they will put one together the way you want...the prices are pretty amazing, so this business is surely going to stay around because people are more likely to be able to afford their prices more than other sites. They had some beautiful pictures of half barrels being used as a water feature.

From Kentucky Barrels - Beautiful.
Another aspect to having a rain barrel that adds interest is to use a rain chain which adds beautiful sounds and is another nice water element to add to your rain barrel setup.

A Houston Man writing on his blog at "The Accidental Gardner" posted
these pictures after writing about rain barrels he installed for his fiance.
Since we are finally getting rain as I type this post, I have been thinking more about drought protection. To help provide a water solution during a drought, you can use rain barrels. You simply set up a rain barrel beneath your gutters and use a downspout diverter to send roof water through a filtering screen into the barrel. When not in use, the barrel should be covered with a secure lid to provide protection from mosquito infestation and to protect children from a drowning hazard.

"The Accidental Gardner" blog and his beautiful pictures of his
old whiskey style rain barrels with rain chains.
A rain barrel can lower your water bill and reduce damage around your home due to storm water run-off. With a good overflow system in place, you can better control the moisture level around your house and foundation. In Texas, this is a good thing.

A 3/4" attached spigot near the bottom of the barrel allows for gravity fed water to sent through an attached standard water hose for free watering of your landscaped plantings. There's no need to use tap water for this kind of watering around the house, you can save the drinking water for cooking, bathing, washing laundry and dishes, and for drinking, but use the captured water in the rain barrel for your plants or to even help wash your lawn tools. Actually, plants grow better when watered with non-chlorinated water from your rain barrel.

More Kentucky Barrels water feature pictures from their website. I am definitely
buying our rain barrels from their company. Their website is full of information, a bit
jumbled, but it is also a sign of their determination and willingness to provide
as many details as they can for the customer. They know their business.
A rain barrel is a nice, money saving feature to have at your home. For us Southerners, it is really a bonus. I never have seen myself as an overly eco-friendly type of person, but somehow, owning a rain barrel will give me an artificial feeling of being eco-forward thinking. Yes, I harvest water from Mother Nature!

Additionally, I've never seen a rain barrel in person, other than a cheap spare bucket type of "rain barrel" placed beneath a spout.

But, today, as I watch all of this long-awaited rain falling from the sky to my thirsty gardens, I feel like celebrating. Then, I had a new feeling as I watched all of that valuable rain water become wasted run-off as it flowed toward the gutters in the street of my city home, I felt bummed. This wastefulness bothers me.

This will have to change; I am more eco-aware today than I was yesterday. Even though I've been researching rain barrels for several months, this drought has sent the message home. Rain barrels aren't just a cool feature to have at the house, they are useful, valuable and practical. I can only imagine all of the plants I could've watered on a hot day with today's storm run-off. Oh well. I am taking steps toward being bit less eco-enemy as I plan for our rain barrels.


LindaG said...

When I first read that they accept bullion, I almost left the site. And they have a loong list of shipping and ordering requirements, haha.

Do you have any farm supply stores there? I know here, Agri Supply stocks half barrels, they may stock whole ones, too.
At our farm there is an old sugar cane bowl that holds water. His dad put it in for watering cattle. In the pasture they used an old claw foot tub.

You could always hide a 'new' design water barrel behind pickets...

At least at your property the water won't be running off. It only does in the city because there is not much dirt to collect it.

Glad you got a little rain at least! :)

Lana from Farm Life Lessons said...

I need to go look at a few farm supply stores in the country near our acreage, they might have some barrels there. And you are right about hiding a practical plastic rain barrel, but I am hoping to add a few of them as a nice looking feature that will also provide water through dry days for our plants. I LOVE the old tubs, etc. and unusual things set out as make-shift rain barrels...makes life more interesting! And you are right about city run-off. That's why we are more prone to flooding - because we don't have soft land for absorption and we have have all of the "retention" ponds to collect the rain run-off, but sometimes those aren't good enough. The Kentucky Barrels place seems to be a fun place to order from, but if I can stay local, near our acreage, I will do it. I'll have fun looking, that's for sure.