Posts Tagged Rain Barrel
Why fearless? Because we are on a path of creative self-reliance and we overcome floods and adversity of all magnitudes with our heads up, so a mere number is not about to get in the way of personal progress, thank you very much.
Secondly, New Year resolutions often fail not because they are too difficult to keep, but rather because they are boring. Unless I am mistaken, if you are reading this you are already someone who likes a good challenge and someone who is not afraid to put on your boots and gloves and make your own life by your own hands at some level… heck, you don’t even need gloves.
Thus, I am not calling these resolutions; I am calling them goals. Because worker bees like us are on a journey and journeys are made of goals. How we get there is entirely up to individual creativity and inspiration.
Here, then, are 13 very reachable goals for the 12 months ahead. These are intended as a little inspirational nudge, in case your actual resolutions don’t quite capture your interest. Often, resolutions miss the mark, also, because they are not in line with our true nature. Speaking of nature, we begin in the garden.
1 – Get a piggy bank for the garden - Drop money in it every time you receive payment for work or from sales (depending on your source of income) – This little piggy will help you treat yourself to the tools you need once in a while.
2 – Cook once and eat twice, or more – Canning is one way to put food away to use over time. Cooking with a pressure cooker is, in my opinion, one of the most economical ways of cooking. In addition to this, the time spent on preparing a large batch meal for the pressure cooker, using fresh ingredients, cutting everything by hand, perhaps with music in the background, is utterly relaxing and fulfilling. And you get to savor the fruit of your labor many times over, each time being reminded of a true sense of abundance and freedom.
3 – Give something away, randomly and often – Making bread? Bring some to a neighbor. Canning? Bring a jar to a co-worker. Gardening? Bring a basket of fresh produce to your mechanic. There does not have to be a special occasion. In fact, avoid special occasions; go for the no-reason-at-all approach instead.
4 – Start a sprout garden or patio garden – Begin and end each day tending your little corner of nature. If you happen to be less mobile than you used to be, a small square-foot garden can be raised so you do not have to bend and reach down so far. I am certain someone in your surroundings will be glad to help set this up; a neighbor’s young, strong teen perhaps. This could be the beginning of a mutually beneficial friendship. It’s amazing how much a little piece of garden can change lives.
5 – Get a rain barrel - Start collecting rain to water your plants. If you live in a community where you pay for water usage, add the money you save to your garden piggy… remember, from #1 above?
6 – Learn food canning and preserving – from a book, from a friend, from a neighbor, from the internet. You may be overwhelmed by notions of hundreds of canning jars lined up in a pantry (although this is quite exciting for some of us). Start small and smart with a water bath or steam canner and 6 jars. Expand your projects when you feel so inspired, or keep it down to small batches. Do not let the fact that you do not presently have access to a personal harvest get in the way. There is no rule that says you cannot can produce acquired from the market.
7 – Meet your neighbors – This is a great way to learn a new skill. Perhaps you could place an add in your local paper (or online forum) inviting a few neighbors who wish to start gardening to a monthly get-together. Inspire each other. Some of you may already have skills and knowledge. Learn from each other.
8 – Start a community garden while you’re at it.
9 – Pool resources – share gardening tools, kitchen appliances, knowledge, trips to the store, errands… This is another opportunity to expand your circle of acquaintances and friends.
10 – Get a piggy bank for the kitchen – You guessed it. It works like the garden piggy. They could live side by side on your kitchen counter, smiling at you every time you walk by. Do not be surprised if, once upon a blue day, these little guys manage to make you smile in spite of your grumps!
11 – Take a free online course to learn about a new skill that can inspire your journey of sustainability. Then take another one.
12 – Find online documentaries about gardening, cooking or about people who are living the lifestyle to which you aspire. Make tea and a tray of cookies or snack of choice. Take one hour to watch and think of nothing else. Do this several times a month.
13 – Cut out ads and pictures – Keep a scrapbook or make a collage of dishes, gardens, recipes, home decor ideas that inspire you. Once in a while, leaf through your collage with no particular goal in mind. Just offer yourself a moment of immersion in the images that speak to you, quietly but surely.
Still not confident that 13 goals is a good number? No problem… add some of your own!
Sure, ultimately, water from the spigot on the house comes from the ground. That is clear. In many municipalities, however, the way we have designed our living environment, water run-off from structures goes directly into drains, or it seeps into the ground in very localized, often arbitrary spots.
Now, consider the average 1,000 square foot roof. A rainfall of one inch on this roof yields over 500 gallons of water. Often, this just goes down the drain, literally.
70% of the world is water. Only 2.5% of this is fresh water, as opposed to salt water. Most of the fresh water exists in the form of glaciers and ice caps (currently melting down and releasing this fresh water into the ocean). In the end, only 3/10th of 1% of fresh water exists in the form of lakes, streams and rivers. Fresh water also exists in the form of clouds and moisture in the soil.
Enter the rain barrel and the hose. Connect. Watch a miracle. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a rain barrel will collect about 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months. Ha! If your flowers and vegetables had eyes and ears, they would have their heads cocked at an inquisitive angle and their eyes as large as frisbees right now. This, it turns out, is more than enough for basic garden irrigation needs.
We are used to downpours here in the United States. This, of course, was not the case in ancient Rome. Of course you knew I would mention the Romans at some point. Take it up with Caesar if you will, after his bath that is. Rain danced to a different beat in ancient Rome and so water was collected thanks to a system of atrium-fed, in-ground, cisterns. Early American settlers continued practices learned in Europe long after the Roman Empire had fallen (assuming it actually did fall, which is a discussion for another place and time). They collected rain water which they used for irrigation, bathing, cooking and washing their clothes. In fact, rain barrels provided a fairly reliable and constant water supply in the days before we developed and mastered the art of well digging.
For city dwellers, a rain barrel can save bundles in addition to providing chlorine and fluoride free water for your garden or house plants. And during dry spells, you can have some water on hand so you do not have to watch your beautiful plants shrivel away. A rain barrel or two will suffice. Some people actually turn off the garden tap altogether simply by adding multiple rain barrels up-hill from the garden or around the house. Rain water is soft and can actually improve the health of a garden.
Rain water that runs down the driveway or into the storm sewer travels fast and fills rivers and streams much faster than water drainage from the ground. This is a relatively new issue in our history and it is directly linked to the surfaces and structures that commonly shape our surroundings. The less natural structures, the more run off. This, of course, is linked to increased flooding. Something as simple as a rain barrel can greatly alleviate stress on nearby rivers and streams. Collecting rain water and redistributing it over a surface such as a garden allows it to return to the ground at a peaceful, even pace that does not gorge the rivers.
Imagine one of those water filter commercials where you see a hand holding a clear glass and filling it with crystalline water under the spout. Just the sight of this feels refreshing. The rain barrel is a giant glass of refreshing water for the earth.
As you know by now, I have moved the Frugal Tips segments to the front page of this Blog. Today, we take a wee stroll in the garden to review two gardening tips I posted a while back, but that you might have missed since they were on a separate page.
Gardeners have a unique appreciation for functionality and for taking optimal advantage of the tools at hand. The idea of waste is simply not compatible with a lifestyle that brings one so close to the process of life and growth. We preserve food, we feed the compost bin instead of feeding the garbage pail and we recycle everything. Gardeners also tend to take good care of the tools and objects around them.
It is a state of mind, isn’t it? Once we make up our minds, “I will use and do everything to the fullest,” this decision guides every action. In fact, this decision sparks creativity that flows effortlessly, as a matter of fact, like the plant that emerges from the seed, as a matter of fact. Here are three of my favorite gardening creative sparks.
Get a Handle on Handles
When storing garden tools that have wooden handles, first sand these wooden areas and wax them lightly. This will extend the usage of your equipment. If you break a fork or spade handle, do not throw away to broken shaft. Sharpen and sand the end to turn it into a perfect bulb dibber and seed planter. If it is a spade that you broke, remove any remaining part of the wooden handle and your spade becomes a seed tray.
Spade in a Bucket
Get a large, sturdy box or bucket. Fill it with sharp builder’s sand. Mix in a little oil. No, this is not a recipe for some gardener’s art soufflé; it is a recipe for an easy way to clean your tools. Before storing your hedger, spade or fork when you come in from the garden, plunge them in the bucket several times. Not only will this keep them clean without taking up much of your time, but it will also prevent rust, especially during the winter months.
I cannot say enough about rain barrels. If your main source of water is through a public system, a rain barrel can reduce your water bill considerably. If your system uses a pump, you will save much on electricity every time you water your plants or garden. In addition to this, if you are able to position your rain barrel up hill from your garden, you can use a hose connected directly to the barrel when watering.