Our Backyard Adventures are fun and easy mini-expeditions that you can do — you guessed it! — right in your own backyard. These activities are designed to help students and parents explore the world with eyes of wonder. Along the way, you might discover new areas of interest, new dreams and potential new careers.
Your adventure should you choose to accept it is…
ASSIGNMENT: Your adventure, should you choose to accept it, is to install a barrel to collect rainwater. This post is more about inspiration than it is about how to do it. A lot depends on which rainwater collecting system you use. I always prefer to ask a friend or neighbor for help if I can. And, as always, you can find lots of instructions online or at the library.
Example: This rain barrel took me about 2 hours to install and cost only $50 USD. The hard part was building the base and getting around that fence. The next day there was a huge rainstorm and it filled up in about 10 minutes. I could have gotten over 20 barrels of water that day. If it rains about once every two weeks, it is enough water that I never need to use the city water. It’s also much more healthy than city water, which may contain chlorine, whereas the rainwater contains natural fertilizers made, in part, by lightning.
Soon, I will be hooking up a soaker hose that goes downhill to my garden — plants love rainwater more than anything. Then all I have to do is open the valve and go have a cup of coffee. The barrel also saves double the money: once for the water going into the house and once for the water going out of the house into the sewer. Keeping stormwater out of the sewers also prevents the neighborhood basements from flooding and keeps all the toxic sludge from getting flushed into the Ohio River and into your drinking water.
Update: I have added another one in the backyard. (Thanks to the Sierra Club and their rain barrel workshop.) Last summer, I never even needed to use the hose to water my garden or lawn.