Rain Barrels

Rain Barrel

Over the past few years rain barrels have become popular with both home gardeners and folks who are interested in water conservation. The south-including my area has experienced severe drought over the past few years too.

A month or so ago The Deer Hunter and I were cleaning up around the house-trying to get rid of stuff we no longer need or truthfully stuff we never needed in the first place.

The Deer Hunter used the blue barrel for water storage back in the day when he camped at a location with no water supply. After his camping situation improved-the blue barrel came to live under our front porch and became a favorite mud pie making station for the girls-it’s almost the same height of a counter top. As we were loading the barrel on to the truck-one of us had an epiphany-why not make a rain barrel from the old storage container!

Top of Rain Barrel

So we did. We’ve been having monsoon weather here-it’s rained more days than not in the last 2 weeks. During one of the breaks The Deer Hunter installed the barrel. He diverted the gutter pipe into the top of the barrel;

Side of Rain Barrel

made an over flow pipe-which connects back to the gutter system;

Spiqot on Rain Barrel

inserted a spigot in the bottom of the barrel; and  we have a rain barrel!

We were totally amazed how quickly the barrel filled with water. Our new raised beds are in the back of the house near the rain barrel so the water will be perfect for watering those plants.

When Granny was growing up they didn’t live close to a suitable source of water for washing clothes so her mother saved rain water to do her washing with (there were 9 children-can you imagine the washing?). I recall David Templeton writing about his mother and sister’s using rain water for washing clothes and for washing their hair.

Have you ever saved rain water? What did you use it for?


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  • Reply
    Gutters Augusta
    June 24, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    You know what, I love this idea. It really helps to conserve water.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 11, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Tipper, I believe between you and the Deerhunter you can do anything!
    A rain barrel is a great idea for your plants. Do you think you could get Chitter and Chatter to wash their hair in it? Makes hair soft—so I hear.

  • Reply
    Carolyn A.
    May 10, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    Loved the makeshift water barrel. Never would have thought of that myself. I am happy that we’ve gotten so much rain as Spring has never been prettier here in the ‘big harsh.’ I’ve only once washed my hair in rain water and it was such a treat. My hair was softer than it’s ever been in my lifetime and smelled even better. Thanks for bringing back that memory. xxoo

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    May 10, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Tipper: What a great idea to save the water. Tell hubby he did a great job of making the rain barrel. You should do well with the rain water as a spring of life to your plants.

  • Reply
    May 10, 2009 at 8:32 am

    Your plants are going to love you this summer! We have no gutters so no way to collect rain other than buckets at the drip line. We should put them out more often. My mother grew up with a cistern in the cellar and they used the water for washing.

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    May 9, 2009 at 10:06 am

    That’s a good idea. Gal, you got you a right smart feller.

  • Reply
    May 9, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Here, it’s been so long since it rained…we’ve had a burn ban forever. Last week the fire-departments were helping to wash down the transformers and electrical lines because the dust collects and starts fires. About 2 weeks ago our transformer caught on fire.
    When I was little grandma gathered the rain-water in buckets where it rain off the tin-roof. There was also a gutter that carried the water to a gravel filter that filtered the water into the cistren. All our washing was done from the cistren. All our drinking water was hauled from town in metal milk-cans. We had no running water and had an out-house. Our washer was an old “ding-bat” that sat on the porch by the cistren and we would draw the water straight up and up in the washer (except what was heated on the stove for the whites). Our barbed-wire fence was our clothes line.
    Strangely, I miss those days.

  • Reply
    May 9, 2009 at 8:55 am

    I need a rain barrel like yours. Here in Florida, the rain has been scarce for the past couple weeks. We used to catch rain water in buckets by the back door to wash our hair. You know, back years ago, we were real “Green”.

  • Reply
    May 9, 2009 at 8:32 am

    We do save rain water in a huge barrel type device. It is in our barn and we use it for animals. But, since the animals can use a lot of water, it comes in quite handy. Your system looks excellent.

  • Reply
    Farm Chick Paula
    May 8, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    That is a really neat barrel!
    As much rain as we’ve had the last week, we could have filled several of those up!

  • Reply
    Old Red Barn Co.
    May 8, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    How funny . . . we’ve been on the look out for some barrels for the exact same purpose!!

  • Reply
    May 8, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    What a great thing to do. You guys are brilliant.

  • Reply
    Brenda Kay Ledford
    May 8, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    I enjoyed this post very much about rain barrels. I recall as a child my grandparents put buckets under the edge of the roof to catch rain water and Grandma used it to wash her clothes and water her garden.
    I hope you have a Happy Mother’s Day!

  • Reply
    May 8, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    This is such a great idea – we live in what you’d probably call a desert…but it would be interesting to see what we could rainwater we could collect if we worked at it!

  • Reply
    May 8, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    We use to save rain water for Mom’s steam iron. She always said it was best.

  • Reply
    May 8, 2009 at 11:13 am

    No, I haven’t. But you have inspired me to. And I have a blue barrel just waiting to be used for something.
    The Captain ain’t gonna be happy that I’ve found another project for him. But he’ll do it anyway, cause he loves me. tee hee

  • Reply
    May 8, 2009 at 10:13 am

    I remember when I was a child that my grandmother always saved rainwater to rinse her hair in. She never cut her hair. It was black as coal since she was part Comanchee and it hung past her waist. She waited for a sunny day and sat in the yar combing it to get it dry. blessings, marlene

  • Reply
    May 8, 2009 at 9:43 am

    What a great idea!
    I don’t think it rains enough in Wyoming to collect rain water, but I do remember washing my hair with rain water in Oregon.

  • Reply
    May 8, 2009 at 7:53 am

    Deep Ellum Blues – what a great song to start my day – Thanks!
    If you’ve never heard a band called The Asylum Street Spankers, you need to check them out, they also sing Deep Ellum Blues – Have a great day!

  • Reply
    May 7, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    We had rain barrels when I was young and lived at home. They sure didn’t look like that, though. They sat at the corners of the house and the rain came down into them from the gutter. Rain water is great to wash your hair with. I wish we had a couple at the ends of our building, we’ve just about floated away lately, we’ve had so much rain.

  • Reply
    May 7, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    I love my rain barrel, and I wish I had one at each down spout. Mostly because now the garden area where our one is isn’t so stinking soggy at this time of the year! We keep the hose connected during our severe rainy season and run it way out on the lawn. And yes I do use it then when I can manage to empty it faster than it fills.

  • Reply
    Coach Daley
    May 7, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    I have never used a rain barrel but may start real soon. Now that I have covered the deck there is 48 feet of roof to gather it from. The gutters gush out when it rains.
    But as a kid in the MS Delta I remember taking advantage of a hard rain. As you know it is absolutely flat there so water drainage is critical on the streets in the little town in which I lived. The pavement curved up from the gutter so much that the center of the street was about a foot and a half higher than on the edges if not more. The yards were somewhat higher too, and that made the low spot right at the end of the driveways.
    When it rained hard enough, and so much debris made its way to the drains they would stop up, the ends of the driveways became little concrete swimming pools.
    So there has been no saving of the rain water but definitely swimming in it. And the heat from from the asphalt and concrete made the water feel as warm as a nice bath.
    It’s hard to image this as an adult, especially if you don’t have much curvature to your street. But to a 4 or 5 year old, 1 foot of warm rain water at the end of the driveway is as good as waste deep sea.
    John D.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    May 7, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    Tipper, you have such great friends and followers. That Susan must be a special person.
    I can’t tell you often enough how much I enjoy and appreciate you and your site.
    Narcissist that I am, I often think first about seeing my comments among the others; but my continuing urge is always to get to your site and enjoy your writings, your photo essays, the music, and the visits from your friends.
    God bless you.

  • Reply
    Greta Koehl
    May 7, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    I remember my Mom talking about rain barrels. Of course, it could sometimes be a long time between rains in our part of Texas. (BTW, you have been nominated for a One Lovely Blog Award –

  • Reply
    May 7, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    We have two 55 gallon rain barrels, that are being improved upon. They were bought from a guy who said they were used in the seafood industry. I’m going to put a second faucet on each barrel-higher up than the first ones, and working on connecting the barrel to the downspout via flexible downspout. One is very near the new veggie garden.

  • Reply
    May 7, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    I have saved rain water for doing the laundry and lots of other things, had 6 children, no water well, had to carry water for cooking and drinking from the neighbors well.(up a hill)

  • Reply
    May 7, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Tipper! Congrats on your rain barrel! Your setup looks great – thumbs up to you and the Deer Hunter – great job.
    All this rain we’ve been having, I swear I think we should be building an ark or something.
    I hope your veggie patch is coming along and that you’ll soon be enjoying the fruits of your labor.
    Congrats again,
    Leia (TennZen)

  • Reply
    May 7, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    We installed a 100 gallon rain barrel last spring at the corner of the barn which is next to the veg. garden. They certainly do fill up fast! I want to install one at the house to water the flowers this year.
    I don’t save rain water, but when it’s dry I do save gray water from dishwashing and rinsing. I also keep buckets near the showers for when you’re waiting on the water to get warm. I also keep a wash basin in the sink to catch water that normally just goes to waste. Like rinsing a vegetable, plate, etc.

  • Reply
    May 7, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Nifty idea Miz Tipper!
    I’m sure it will come in handy…I for one hope we have more rain this year…so far so good in that department here in my neck of the woods!

  • Reply
    Amy @ parkcitygirl
    May 7, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Great plan Tipper! Hope you guys dry out a bit soon.

  • Reply
    May 7, 2009 at 10:44 am

    We have several and I talk about them here:
    We use them a lot in the summer to water containers and really, about any flowers, plants, stray cats…

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