Thursday, April 12, 2007

Rain barrels some more

It's snowing today. Like really, really snowing. I’m not sure if this is the latest snowfall we’ve ever had, but last year I documented the last snowfall at the end of March.

UPDATE: It hasn't snowed in April in 27 years!

There’s a perfectly good explanation for the snow: it’s because we cleaned up the garden already. Yes, I admit it. It’s all my fault; we’re the reason for the snow. I think it has to do with that tricky law of physics, the same one, you know, where it rains after you wash your car.

On a positive note, the snow is buying me some time to plan and think (as if I didn’t have 4 mos. of that). I’m thinking now about my rain barrel.

I picked up the rain barrel last Friday. It’s just a big, coral-colored plastic barrel. I was going to get 2 of them but I could only fit 1 in the backseat of my car. I can add another one later in the season or next year if all goes well.

So because I only have 1 barrel, I’m wondering exactly where it should go? I checked out a local green landscaper and his site shows 3 rain barrels linked together at 2 different downpouts. My house has about 6 downspouts (that I can think of, at least). Here are the finalists:
  • I have 1 downspout on the northwest side that always floods in heavy rains. It pours out next to the concrete walkway into a small landscaped area of 2 japanese barberries. The previous owners dumped a bunch of small stones there to probably help with drainage; if it helps, I don’t know because it still puddles. The downside is that it’s towards the front of the house and very close to my neighbor.

  • There are 2 on the east side where our lot slopes into the lot next door. The one in the back corner would be a good location because it gets a lot of water, it doesn’t drain well (well, we attached a flexible hose to it to keep it away from our foundation, so now it runs into our neighbors empty lot.) The downside is that it’s not leveled and I would really have to make a secure spot for it.
… I think I’m leaning towards the northwest side. There’s just no real place for that water to drain to. The new neighbors will just have to live with it.

But before I can install, I have to add some accoutrements to the barrel. It came with a spigot to attach to a hose, but it needs to be cut at the top for the downspout to enter. I also need to make a mesh overlay to catch the debris, and add an overflow valve. I found 2 great sites for information (U of Arizona & Watershed Activities). The latter one has excellent pictures of various rain barrels in different set ups, plus some very good drawings of rain barrel components.

I can’t wait to get started!


Carolyn gail said...

Rain barrels are a good idea. I remember as a child that we would collect the rain water to wash our hair because it makes it soft.

Sissy said...

Good for you! I wish I could've helped you get those to your house, I have a Suburban for a few more weeks!
At 6mpg, I am trading it in for something smaller!!

Kate said...

Rosemarie, thanks for stopping by my blog! It's great you are back at the viola - so true that it doesn't matter how we sound, just playing brings so much pleasure.

I enjoyed reading about your rain barrel - you'll have to let us know where you decide to place it! I have one which needed to be repaired after a winter (I'd left some water in it and the bottom cracked... didn't realize it till the basement started leaking that the rain barrel was too!)