It’s a cold, rainy May day in Southern Wisconsin. We spent most of the day inside, venturing only a few blocks to get ingredients for a spontaneous pot of soup. I thought my days of hunkering down under wool blankets were done until autumn, but I am glad I didn’t pack away our scarves.
Adam installed our rain barrel. It is a little guy, our rain barrel, and it fills up very quickly on a rainy day. But that’s just fine! We don’t have a big garden to water. It is perfect. Few things are so satisfying to me as opening the lid of the barrel and filling my watering can with the precious, dark water. I carry it over to my little garden sprouts and watch them drink up their leftover rain. What a wonder!
Collecting rain makes me much more mindful of the preciousness of water. I don’t think it is something we think about much in Wisconsin, where the earth is so lush and green. Did you know that our lawns are the largest irrigated crop in America? We use three times more water on grass than on corn. It’s foolishness, really, and is hopefully something that will change in this country that puts such high value on resourcefulness and thrift.
I don’t water our lawn and rarely wash my car, but, I admit, I am a habitual water-waster. I love water! I adore lengthy showers. I like steamy baths on cold days, and the feeling of frigid hose water on my bare toes in the summer. I haven’t done much greywater recycling, aside from a little used water nipped here and there from the kitchen sink to water house plants. But I’m just learning, just beginning. And, man, when it comes to showers, I am WEAK. But hopefully, I will be able to find a balance that includes the joy of abundant water as well as prudence in its use.
For now, our rain barrel is one of those joys.