Posted in Progress

Time to get the rain barrel out.

I checked the weather a bit ago, and night time temps will be roughly 10°F +/- above freezing the rest of the week.  We have rain on the way starting tonight, but gentle winds, so today I’ll haul out our rain barrel from the cellar, and get it in place so it can take in some water before the winds pick up a wee bit tomorrow.

Last year, when we first bought our rain barrel (from the city with a resident discount) I put it together soon after to try catch the next rain.  I’m pretty certain I had bought the dollar store citronella candle buckets I was going to use to make a rain chain close to that time,  If I had, I don’t think I even froze the buckets to get the citronella candles that came in them to pop them right out easy peasy by that point.  (A neat candle removal trick I learned online, I forget where.  If I recall, I’ll add that link later.)

I cleared the weeds in that area, and leveled all around the spot where it would go.  Since the downspout had been missing since who know when, we had a deep erosion area from gutter splash down there on the slope down to the driveway.  I also placed some a bit bigger than fist sized rocks as well as two twice that size in a manner to try to break up any run off path that could come out of the overflow hose, forcing it to weave its wave down between the rocks so it wouldn’t just erode right back down again in one storm.  (I had not the forethought at the time to regrade and plant a ground cover before we found the time to get our barrel.)

Then I put down the cardboard to help prevent splash erosion since I had just disturbed the base soil it would directly rest upon.  I did use one brick you can see peeking out on the left due to the erosion slope I had just built up that I knew might not stay in place despite my precautions.

I finished the setting by twisting it down level a bit as well as I could in some spare aggregate I had found a bag of that hadn’t been touched in what looked like ages.  I  knew at some point the cardboard would disintegrate, and I wanted something with a bit more bite to the ground for stability.  I did use a spirit level to make sure I wasn’t setting it so that it would easily lean towards the slope and want to tip over, if you get my meaning.  The side that was on the newly rebuilt up eroded side I made sure was a bit higher than the one safer on the already more stable soil side with the level.

Since it was predicted to be a very windy storm, and though I knew it wouldn’t look too spiffy,  I took out some junk rope I had and fixed it in place using porch points.

I first looped it around the porch column, then made a stop knot.  I did it this way so I would have a double strand run down, which I hoped would add at least a bit of strength should the barrel get really hit with wind.

Then I ran it down towards the front of the barrel, making a few stop knots to keep the center twin to the upper porch post from whipping around freely per line in case one might catch an edge during a gust before it took even enough rain to start to weigh it down, and thus possibly pull it downwards towards the drive.

I then stop knotted to fit snug under the screwed on lid edge.  I at first wanted to bring the two the two individually around the barrel and then back to the front, but due to lack of length, undid that and ran it down the front, knotting around the faucet, then wrapping there.

Then I stop knotted behind the can, and then made stops near the lower post support wrap to help it stay in place, again, if the wind really picked up and wiggled the barrel.

I love an excuse to practice knot work.
Last year, this was my initial set up for our rain barrel awaiting the gusty storm.
I had not yet started working on the rain chain.

It worked–our rain barrel did not blow away before it filled enough to stand firm on its own.

I took the rope off the next day after giving it a rocking test, and checking to make sure if my soil build up had been washed away and I would need to redo it.  The larger rocks did their job, but I still pulled some soil back up between the rocks.  Everything was good to go from there for the rest of the rain barrel season (meaning the time to dump out what’s in there before the water could freeze and damage the barrel.)

None of our neighbors did ever complain about it if it did seem unsightly to them, so I think they understood my intent even if they didn’t like it.  Yet I still made a point to take the rope off as soon as I felt the danger of it being blown away had passed because we are trying to not be too kooky of neighbors when we can manage.

After that storm, we never used the single exterior spigot piped from the house the rest of the year.  In fact, I almost forgot to use the shut off valve and drain it in the fall, but fortunately my Fall ToDo list had it on there.  I don’t think we’ll even bother turning the cut off to the on position this year. [Later Note on this point: we didn’t use it at all last year.]  It will depend on how much we manage to plant in the kitchen garden, and how much rain we get overall, I think.

We can buy two of these from the town’s program at that discount, but we only bought one last year as only the front porch edge had any guttering, and we had far too much going on to worry about what would be needed to set up a second.

This year we hope to get the second, after we install some guttering by the cellar exterior stair exit and across the south office roof edge.  That is a terrible spot for water intrusion in the cellar, not helped by the fact that the grading is all wrong in that area.  But it is also the safety glass bed, and thick with thornies and creepers, so we did what we could last year because we were focused on getting all the glass out that we could.  We will finish the regrade there this year.

Care to share thoughts on this?