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    Drought Be Gone

    We can now burn the pile of limbs and yard debris that is gracing our backyard.  And has been for several months.  We call it, The Burn Pile.  Our corner of northwest Arkansas, dry and dry, has been under a burn ban for quite a while.  The recent round of high and constant winds has not helped.  Arkansans are not the only ones afflicted with dry weather and roaring winds.  And now, we are not the only ones canoeing our way to work.  Those mighty drafts brought spring storms and days (and days and days) of rain.  With and without thunder and lightning.

    So, water.  I am very happy that my two water barrels are full, with several buckets and one tub extra.  If you garden, even a little bit, if you grow even one container of flowers, it must be watered.  Maybe not anytime soon, but in the hot, dry days of summer, you will be filling your watering cans for sure.  Where will you get your water?  From your kitchen faucet or outdoor spigot?  Will you pay for that water?  Again?

    Think about this…every time you turn on said faucet, you pay for it.  Even if you are rinsing off an apple, and the water just swirls right on down the drain.  Say you are waiting for the water to get hot, and it just runs and runs and runs.  You are paying for it.  How wonderful it would be to capture that water and use it.  Again.  What about all this lovely rainwater?  It is most definitely soaking into the ground, or rather pooling on top right now.  Free, fresh, and yours for the saving.

    Let me encourage you to consider water conservation.  Nothing large scale and nothing that will take over your limited space.  Use one of your garbage cans, or buy an inexpensive one at the dollar store.  You do want a lid to keep out the mosquito larvae, and to keep it scum free.  Utilize one of your large plastic containers, of a size that will fit into your sink, and let it fill with your daily water.  Not foody water or soapy water.  When you rinse your hands, rinse your food, drain your pasta, wait for hot water…you get the idea.  Pour your daily (or several times daily) water into your water barrel and you are ready to go.

    Set buckets or bowls out when it rains; or set them under a downspout.  Add that to your water rations.  Or better yet, construct a rain barrel that stays in a permanent place attached to your guttering.  There are several online instruction sites, or check out a book from the library.  Your County Extension Office will also be able to help you.

    Begin in a small way (pouring leftover tea on your houseplant), and you will soon become addicted.  One of our sons asked me one time why I saved our sink water.  The first thing that came out of my mouth, even before I really thought about the answer, was, “It makes me happy.”  In the winter, when we really don’t need all that water, it is hard for me to watch it just running down the drain, or pooling up outside.  Sounds a little obsessive and compulsive, huh?  I’m working through it and thanking God for the rain.

    Here are some additional tips to get you started:

    Buy large quantity items in buckets:  laundry soap, cat litter, etc
    Re-purpose your plastic ware and old garbage cans
    Locate a source for used plastic barrels - food-grade, non-chemical
    Check out the stand-bys - yard sales, thrift shops, etc
    Make sure everything has a lid
    Clean out and refit your gutters and downspouts for rain barrels