One of the reasons I love my rain barrels is that I know what’s in the water I collect. I don’t have to worry about any chemicals or minerals that may be added at a water treatment facility, or from treated lawns. I am pouring just clean, Mother Nature-supplied rain water on my plants, as they are awakening from their long winter’s nap. I swear I can hear them yawning, stretching, and taking in a good, long healthy sip of fresh, clean water!
When I unwrap my rain barrels after the winter, I give them a quick inspection before putting them back in service. How did they fare this winter? Could they use a refresher sealcoat before they’re filled? Are they water-tight? Are the hoses in good shape? Best to take the time now to make sure they’re ready, than to have to unhook them for repair in mid-Summer. “A stitch in time saves nine,” my mom used to say. It still holds true today.
Another winter is quickly coming to a close. I’ve seen some robins feeding in the yard, which always starts me thinking about getting outside and gardening. I’m watching the temperatures closely, so I know when they're warm enough that the water won't freeze solid inside my rain barrels. Once we reach that on a consistent basis, it’s time to unwrap them and prepare them for the warm Spring rains. I don't know about you, but I'm getting eager.
Can it be that spring is coming? My rain barrels were filling up from that last little rain and we're having more this weekend so I can start collecting water for my indoor plants again. There will be enough to go around. I just hope I'm not getting too over-eager...I'll give the outdoor beds what they need and save some for my indoor plants--they like it sooo much! Nothing like our gifts from Mother Nature!!
Here are some residential tips on savings for both you and the environment from Focus on Energy. https://focusonenergy.com/residential (you'll have to copy & paste this onto your browser).
Don't you just love the sound of the melting snow. I'm eager to get out there and uncover my barrels to let them fill. It won't freeze hard enough anymore to freeze the water solid inside so you're safe to start that harvest. Ahhhhhh, Mother Nature's bounty.
With our Wisconsin winter being colder than normal, I know that I want to think about saving on heating costs yet I'm also being concerned about my impact on the environment.
About half of our energy costs go toward heating and cooling. Here are a few simple ways to reduce your energy footprint, thus improving our Earth's health, as well as to improve your air quality, thus your health...also $ave on those energy cost$!
Change your furnace filter every 3 months
Have your HVAC system tuned up every year
Check your roof insulation and seal your heating and cooling ducts
Install a programmable thermostat
Only 3 months until spring! Hooray??
It's not easy to post about rainbarrels right now in sub-zero weather, but as long as the environment is something we can think about and do something about year-round, here's a tip for this month...If purchasing electronic items such as TV's, DVD players, game systems or computers for Christmas, look for the "Energy Star" label. These will use up to 50% less phantom energy than other models when turned off. Better yet, plug those devices into a power strip and turn it off after you're done using the item--save even more! Save on your pocketbook and save on energy.
Oh yes, have a very merry Christmas and a wonderful and safe New Year!!
I'm not excited about posting this information. We didn't have a spring, summer was too short, and I'm not even sure we had an autumn...I'm NOT ready for winter (yeh, bad attitude).
But there's still plenty of time to prep those rain barrels. I drained 4 of mine but left one filled and am pulling water for my indoor plants yet. Saved those milk and vinegar jugs and am filling 'em up with great rain water!
WINTER CARE SUGGESTIONS: These quality-built wine barrels were not intended for outdoor exposure and have been sheltered from harsh weather in wineries of California. Although they are built to last a lifetime, at the end of the season it is recommended that you cover your rain barrel to protect the beautiful wood from the elements of our drying winter winds and weather, regardless if you have had it water or weather sealed.
To prepare for the winter months, drain the barrel of as much water as possible so it doesn't freeze and expand, disconnect the downspout and open the spigot. Cover all openings to keep as much moisture inside as possible to prevent the barrels from drying out due to the dry winter air. Plastic packing tape will work for this purpose. Then, just cover your barrel with plastic or a tarp to help protect it from the harsher winter elements.
Warning: Do you see the hose peeking out at the bottom of this picture? DO NOT hook up a hose to carry the winter thaw farther from the house...it will only freeze up on you and keep the water inside the barrel to collect and freeze!
Happy winter (brrrrr).
PS...Visit the What's In Store tab to see what can be done with the gorgeous wood that these wine barrels are made from. Come to Banbury Place on Thursdays from 4pm-7pm for some shopping, too!
Long story short: I met Andy and his wife when they came to look at rain barrels. We got to talking and he had a large rain barrel at the family farm that he wondered about the possibility of restoring it to a working rain barrel.
I love antiques. I love interesting challenges and this sounded like something fun to help them with.
Take a look at this Rain Barrel! Homemade? Andy has had this in his family for generations. He borrowed my trailer and brought it over, we looked at it and, by golly, it looked to be in pretty good shape.
The wood was dry, but solid (oak, of course!) and we figure it will need minor work before we start to soak up that wood for holding water. We cleaned out the dirt and debris that it collected over the years and rolled it into the barn where it will rest until spring, when we start our work.
We'll keep you posted.
How can you not love the creativity of these Packer fans?
This might not be an orthodox way of having a rain barrel collect rain for the benefit of their garden, but using dead trees to portray the Packers touchdown and an opposing team going, "I dunno?" has got to be an original!
A fun garden for sure! (soooo, how much rain you collecting?)
Jim & Mary, you rock!! Thanks for sending the picture!
I'm just someone who sees a need, cares about the environment and hopes to leave this world a little better.