My mother in law, who is the poster child for “going green”, is always on the lookout for ways to improve our earth. She signed up for a rain barrel workshop through her local community center and invited me to come along, and I jumped on that opportunity. I, like most of the world, really want to make good environmental choices, but just don’t know where to start. I had heard about rain barrels and rain gardens, and since I am the airhead who forgets to water the garden thus killing the tomatoes, I was more than intrigued. So at 10 am on Saturday morning, Cherie and I got our barreling on….
First off, before we actually made the barrel, the Parks and Rec people gave a little presentation with some startling facts about water for example:
- The average rain storm produces 700 gallons water that falls from your roof
- Rain water (run off water) is not treated by the wastewater system (EWWWW). Basically, anything you place in storm drains goes directly into a lake or stream.
- During the summer, the city we live in is almost always within days of having to go into water conservation mode.
Next, we got our barrels and began the construction process. Our barrels were soda drums which had been donated to the city. For a pdf of detailed instructions click here.
There are really 3 main parts to a rain barrel: the collection basket, the overflow, and the spigot. There was a station for each main part, which made the process go much faster. The actual creation was rather simple, although it required some uncommon tools. (ok, they were uncommon to me as I am not allowed to touch the tools at home.) We used a jigsaw, holesaw, drills (with multiple bits) and even a pipe tap – my grandpa would be so proud of me.
Finally, we attached all the accessories and we were ready to go! This was a very very very easy way to add a little green to our lives. While I doubt I will ever be the type to install a rainwater toilet or do my dishes with it, I am looking forward to using it to water my garden this spring.
Do you have any easy green living suggestions? Please share!