Saturday, May 28, 2011

More Practical Than a Barrel of Monkeys

This is the year that we've finally decided to "go green" in our efforts to water our lawn.  Prior to this, our efforts had always been characterized as "theoretical" or "impeded by a lack of a functional sprinkler and/or my suspicion that the coiled hose may be a home to spiders".  But "green" is the new "it's supposed to rain again in a few days I think", so there's really only one choice for watering our lawn: a rain barrel.

I learned about the existence of rain barrels a couple of months ago when Beth asked me to get one, and now--not to brag--I probably know more about rain barrels than about 70% of your friends.  Here's a few things I learned about rain barrels and their installation:

1)  rain barrels are designed to catch rain during the rainy season, which they then store for their owner to dispense through their spigots during the dry season

2)  Lowe's and Home Depot sell out of them pretty quickly, but...

3)  you can buy them online and, even though they are larger than anything I've ever bought that is not a car or a house, they can still be shipped for free

4)  how much you pay for a rain barrel is largely related to looks; pretty rain barrels are more expensive than ugly ones.

5)  this is what an installed rain barrel looks like:

"But where does the tube lead?"

To the gutter, of course!  (Tube not included.  Really.)

6)  sawing out a middle section of the downspout of your gutter with a hacksaw FEELS very weird and wrong.  Even after I was sure that the installation instructions were telling me to do this, I was incredibly self-conscious about it and found myself hoping that my neighbors weren't watching me through their window, getting ready to run out and ask me if I was crazy.  I think I would have answered, "I know this LOOKS crazy, and it FEELS crazy in my heart, but my head is pretty sure that this 8.5" x 11" printout is telling me to do this, so in answer to your question, I'm kind of torn--what do YOU think?"  Not wanting to have this exchange, I tried to saw as quickly and quietly as I could, which was difficult because...

7)  sawing out a middle section of the downspout of your gutter with a hacksaw is VERY loud and unpleasant sounding.  The weight of the downspout on the side of the sliding hacksaw makes for a nails-on-chalkboard type screech, and the hollow tubing acts like a megaphone to alert the world that some madman is sawing up his house.  Indeed, if I was a gutter and someone was trying to saw a chunk out of my middle, the sound that I would hope to make is identical in type and volume to the sound that WAS actually made by the gutter that I was sawing.  I found myself wanting to say to the gutter in a hushed but urgent voice, "Shut UP!  This isn't making it any easier for either of us!"

So now, we wait.  We wait for the barrel to fill up and for the rain to stop.  Then the timing will be perfect, and I will water the lawn--with rain water!  What will they think of next?  A root system that grows out of the bottom of your rain barrel underneath the ground all throughout the area of your lawn, so that the water from the barrel is automatically used as needed without any additional effort from its owner?  Hmm?  Maybe?


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