A barrel of wet monkeys

The old rain gauge says 7.4 inches have fallen on the wee homestead in the last three days, which explains why our Bibb lettuce has suddenly turned yellow and is considering harakiri.

While I’m grateful for the rain and any relief from this horrible drought, I have to agree with my friend Bob, who pointed out we’re 100 inches below average for the last ten years, and much of this water is wasted if it’s not contained.

The good news is there are lots of ways to hold on to that liquid gold instead of letting it fly down the storm drain. Rain gardens are not only useful for capturing rainwater, they look pretty darn good too. And permeable driveways make a big difference, filtering out nasties before the rain works its way back down to the groundwater table.
That brings us to Door #3: rain barrels. These suckers collect and store rainwater from your roof, and you can easily make one with a 55-gallon drum and a few simple parts from the hardware store. The EPA estimates a rain barrel will provide most homeowners with 1,300 gallons of free water in the summer — saving you cash money while lowering your energy usage.
If you’re intrigued, the Alabama Cooperative Extension has a handy video on putting one together, and UGA’s Cooperative Extension has even more detailed instructions ready for printing. (Pay special attention to the first-flush diverter if you plan to use the rainwater on veggies.) 
Now if I could just find someone to paint this wondrous barrel for us, my life would be complete.
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