Oh cistern, where art thou?

by Rheasq

The next really great battle won’t be over budgets or oil. It will be water. Who owns it. Who controls it.  The Great Lakes Consortium is already locking down water rights so that others, even home owners, cannot impinge on sovereign rights. Even on their own properties.  Scary, huh?

Where will we be if there is no water to drink?

So, I’ve become a water hoarder.  Okay a water hoarder wanna be.  Don’t look for me on Hoarders. At least not for water.

I am enamored of rain barrels, especially of the recycled-food industry type.  I have four barrels in operation, roughly 70 – 90 gallons each.  There are two open downspouts on the house, one impossible to adapt to a rain barrel, the other awaiting a trip for a REALLY BIG rain barrel, in the soon to be future.  Still figuring out how to capture the last one, in a bad spot for foot traffic, but give me time.

Had a gutter installed on the back of the potting shed to add more. Another REALLY BIG rain barrel planned for that spot.  Maybe even serial rainbarrels!!

I am jealous of free run off or when the rain barrels overflow due to debris.  All that wasted water. Given the droughts we’ve experienced over the last couple of years, water will be much needed in a few weeks time.  I don’t water my lawn.  When it gets hot and dry, grasses are way ahead of us on the evolutionary scale, they go dormant.  Constantly poking them with moisture screws up the cycle and weakens the plants.  I water the planting beds, but generally only those with new additions or particularly water sensitive inhabitants, like hydrangeas.  Rain barrels extend my watering capability.  Yes, it means hauling buckets, but it’s FREE and it’s soft and even slightly composted as it has picked up detritus in the gutters on the way to the downspout.

Yes it smells.  Especially the barrels  on those gutters near trees.  Trees that pile the roof and gutter covers with all the little down pourings of their active sex lives.  Maple helicopters, acorn, locust blossoms.  Breaking down through the gutter covers, washed into the filter on the top of the barrel, making a slight compost tea.

Those who like soldierly rows of flowers and everything in its place probably won’t like my watering scheme.  I use buckets.  Lots of them.  Always keeping at least a couple full for a  quick watering task on the fly.  Who’s in distress….grab a bucket.  It’s been called my mosquito farm.  I just think the larvae calling my buckets home become protein for the recipients.  A little more organic fertilizer please.

The absolute worst was the chipmunk.  Aren’t they cute?  Yes, destructive in a rodent kinda way.  Toys for the farm cats, targets for the hawks.  But cute.  And one day, one poor unfortunate fellow slipped into a water bucket, unable to free himself.  A horrible day.  I stopped filling buckets for a while.  Couldn’t stand the thought of finding another one.  But the pragmatism of having a quick douse ready to hand overrode my remorse and soon the bucket brigade was back.

What I really want Santa to bring is a cistern.  I mean a really gigantic underground cistern with an electric pump.  I’ve dreamed of it for years.  Even have a spot picked out.  When I’ve looked at houses to buy in the near past nothing has been sexier to me than a house with a cistern, (okay or a house with a double concrete utility sink but that’s a completely different jones).  Forget granite, and hardwood and decks.  Give me a cistern.  Oh, the things I could do with a cistern.

Is it funny, someone who grew up in a suburb of the second city and has never lived in the country is such a farm girl.  A farm girl with a city veneer.  I value quiet and good air and a chemical free environment.  Don’t talk to me about sprinkler systems and leaf blowers.  Let’s talk about soft free water I don’t have to let the chlorine dissipate before using on my leafy buddies.  Now that, my friends, is a turn on.  In a hippie, tree hugging sort of way.  Free love — of free water……..