Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Heavenly Water


At the encouragement of a friend, last year we started collecting rain from a downspout on the pool house to use when watering container plants or anytime we need to water with the can. Originally, we were trying to find a good way to water my pelargoniums without subjecting them to the high sulfur content in our well water. Word from our friend, who is a hybridizer for a large company in California, is that pelargoniums don't like sulfur.

Romie brought an empty 55-gallon barrel home from his work and the next time we got a rain, he directed the downspout right over the top of the barrel. Now, I couldn't figure out how that was going to get enough rain water in there to do enough good. I mean, it takes the clouds a long time to pour down an inch or two of rain into the rain gauge, so how on earth was that barrel going to get full enough, often enough, to provide us with water for our plants?


I didn't take physics in high school or college. Maybe I should have, but I got a lesson in it at age 48 anyway. It happens like this - the rain falls on the roof, runs down the roof into the gutter, and from there it runs through the downspout into the barrel. The bigger the roof, the more water we get.


And it was an amazing thing to behold. If we get an inch of rain, that's enough to fill that barrel almost to the top. I understand how it works now, but I'm still astounded by it. I think it's that little rain gauge that's messing with my brain on this. Maybe it's more amazing that only an inch gets into that little glass tube.

Whatever.


The pelargoniums did do better once we started watering them with rain water --- fewer yellow leaves.

I like the idea of using water directly from the source, too, without it being filtered through our soil and who knows what's in that, deep down. We live in farm country and I'm sure there are all kinds of chemical residues that have made their way into the water table.
We have our own well, but we have an extensive filtering system on the water that comes into the house. I actually like the unfiltered water for drinking, but the filtered tastes even better and I feel more comfortable drinking it. It smells better, too.

We hadn't had rain for quite some time until a few days ago, and the rain barrel was getting very low. So low that I could no longer dip my watering can into it for filling. But now it looks like this:


6 comments:

Kelly said...

Our rain barrels are still at our old house out in the country, but we intend to bring them back and set them up to collect off the shed roof. The shed isn't built yet, so we haven't hurried. Eventually, I hope to have a system of five or six barrels linked together.

We're in town (Kent) now and pay for our water use. Would be nice to have rainwater to supplement garden watering with. We'll rig the barrel system up with a hose nozzle.

Bob said...

Kylee, your barrel story reminded me of another barrel story. That of a widow woman with a young son, who only had a handful of meal and a little oil in a cruse. She had only enough to make one more meal for the two of them, and then they would surely die.

Elijah, a prophet of God, came to her house and asked her to let him eat first for he was hungry. As she took him in and fed him she was putting God first before her own needs and those of her son. She knew that they would face certain death when the last of her provisions had been used, yet she still put God first. In so doing, she gave God the opportunity to bless her. She and her son survived the famine in the land for three years on the small amount of meal at the bottom of the barrel and oil. She used from it every day yet it never seemed to run out.

And to calculate the water coming from the pool house: my blog post from Saturday morning might help...

Kylee said...

What an awesome post, Bob!!! And I'm so happy that you got rain. We'd been hearing on the news about the drought down there. :-(

Stacey Renee said...

Mrs. Kylee (I'd use your last name, but I don't know it.. I'm from the South and try to be proper... sometimes..)

My name is Stacey Wilhite. I live in Southeast Kentucky... probably about a little over 3 hours south of you. I stumbled upon your website yesterday. I read about Elvis, and was really touched. My husband and I lost LiLa (lee-lah) last week. She was hit by a car. It's a long story... but, Mareth our new adoptee turned up on the exact day that LiLa went missing. Mareth, a scrawny, scraggly blue Persian mix with haunting orange eyes, in her emaciated, dehydrated state insisted on following us every step of the way down the road to look for LiLa.. and Mareth was there when we found LiLa. God winked. Mareth has helped us deal with our grief. (We do not have children, and our cats.. Tilly, our other baby, have been just that.. our babies.)Your story of Elvis and your grandmother really hit home. We have decided to have a stone artist friend of our make a memorial stone for LiLa. Although we buried her at my folks' farm, planting a rose bush at the head of her grave, we plan to take the stone with us and once we have buid our home (in three or four years..) we can create a garden memory walk of our precious companions...

I enjoy your photos and your journal entries very much. You have a fan in Kentucky! I have a blog as well, and hope to go crazy with pictures once we get a digital camera...

Be blessed today! Thank you for your words. Keep them coming...

Stacey

Kate said...

It is incredible how fast the rain barrel fills up ... I love being able to water my patio plants this way.

That was a good lessons in physics and saved you from having to take the class in high school!!!

Blackswamp_Girl said...

I'm with you on the water... I used to like to drink the water out of our well when I was a kid, but later I switched to bottled stuff (bought in milkjug size) because of the chemical residues that I was probably ingesting. Too many of my schoolmates had family members who farmed and died way too young of various cancers... and way too many women from Ottawa have developed breast cancer (they're investigating this as a cluster) for my comfort level.

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