Every Drop Counts - How We Harvest the Rain

I've been big into rain barrels for over 10 years now, and being out here on the farm, it's grown into a full fledged part of our green lifestyle. Ever since making my first rain barrel out of an old soy sauce container back in the city in 2009, then quickly realizing I needed to go big or go home - and upgraded to a 300 gallon cistern - I was hooked!

When we came out to the farm, we knew we had some huge opportunities for rainwater collection, so adding tanks were high on our priority lists. While our 300 gallon tank in the city was included with the sale of our home, we'd brought two of our smaller barrels out to the farm with us to get started. However, my plans for a DIY composting tumbler using the smaller one quickly turned that to one, so I ordered a monster sized one for the back, and this fall we installed a li'l monster near the house for the flower garden we've created by slowly but surely de-grassing the front.

After all, we get twice the rain so might as well get twice the water at least, right...?

Here's what we've got...

The 'li'l monster' as mentioned above. It came in black and a nice 550 gallons, so I did a quick hand-sand and then painted it with our house-paint. I had grand design ideas then just went 'meh!' to that effort and painted some quickie flowers on it. The bonus was it fit in the back of our neighbor's pickup truck so we didn't have to pay for delivery! Installation was an interesting process as the only inlet was not terribly user friendly for your traditional downspout, so we put our own hole in it as well as created our own overflow pipe (in black - these are essential y'all) and built the 'faucet' as well. It's now working like a charm and will be SO rad next spring and summer!!

This 70 gallon one we'd brought with us, which I'd colorfully painted and loved too much to leave with the buyers (thank goodness I didn't because turns out they ultimately turned our home into a rental, bleah!), and so last year we had it temporarily set up in the front which was never going to cut it for the amount of flowers we were planting. So when we got the li'l monster, I moved this to the herb garden off our back door since it was the only area we were still using old fashioned city water to feed our herbs and nearby blueberry bushes. There are no gutters on the actual hothouse, but one off the back porch overhang, so that's why it's placed where it is. We bungee-corded it to the frame as well to protect from the insane winter winds we get. And yep, we keep the rear faucet with the hose attached open all winter, as just a couple rains fills her up - and these little ones don't come with overflows!

Last but not least, we have the 1,000 gallon monster that I adore! I've not decorated it like I want to but spring might finally allow for that since the huge projects from the past 2 years are complete. We had a gutter installed the week we moved in and ordered this. There's a base with pea gravel that's since filled in with camouflaging weeds (kewl...) and a very necessary overflow up top (yeah, it overflows in winter, pretty nuts!). It's also served as an extra windbreak for our two hives on the right...absolutely necessary in our winters where they need protection. We have a hose attached to it which we use to water everything in our garden, as well as provide sips to our chooks and ducks...and yes, the girls' swimming pool as well...

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