July 24, 2012

 It rained! It rained buckets-full in an hour! Less than an inch, says the rain gauge. But for the first time in 2 months it RAINED! My rain barrel was so near to empty I tilted it forward to fill the last bucket of water I drained from it yesterday. All my rain buckets on the deck were empty. The well was producing so poorly that the pump turned off in less than 10 minutes of watering the garden and barely ran from faucets inside. Last year we had 20 minutes to water the garden, and the well was not on empty. I started to think I’d need to ask the neighbors where they were buying water in Apex to fill a tank under their house, so they’d have water to run out of the faucets.

 During rolling thunder, lightning flashing around as I duck, I dodge back into the garage when a really loud boom blasted some poor pine tree, I pull Dirk from his computer to saw off the lower end of a drain spout that at present runs water out into the woods. Problem–it was completely filled with black mulch, years’ accumulation of old, composted, pine needles. I found a short screw driver to shove up inside while a great deal of water was pushing down, and it took only a few jabs with the tool, and banging on the drain spout to loosen it up, and we had some good rich mulch for the garden, followed by a gush of water.  We have a large, black, water tub which used to be for our larger flock of sheep. Now it’s gathering water from the roof, and today was filled many times over. A gathering of buckets surrounds it, all full to the brim. Standing in rain, I dipped one cat-litter bucket after another out of the large reservoir into other containers–a trash can, two large plastic storage bins, a large garbage barrel, and many cat litter buckets, while the gush of rain kept gurgling. At the same time I put another plastic storage bin under the rain barrel faucet, full open, since water was running over the top of the rain barrel. With some pushing, the overflow ran into the bin, but when I went to turn off the faucet, the bin prevented the faucet from turning. I had to pull, lift and shove to get the full bin moved, and shove another bucket under the faucet. 

 Maeve, our Aussie, dutifully followed me in and out of the garage as I looked for any possible water-container to put to work in the yard, using a bucket to dip water out of the large water tub and fill the next container. Maeve is as wet as we were. She’d occasionally be right in front of me, looking up as though she wondered why on earth I was going out in the rain again!  When I walked off across the yard carrying a full bucket, each, to the white pine (the next-last one died in last summer’s drought), a huge tulip poplar, and my lilac, she just went back inside and waited for me to finish my fool’s errand.

By the time the rain turned to a light shower, I couldn’t see through my glasses thanks to sweat and rain water, so I propped them on top of my head. My Birks were soaked, as were my clothing. Living as far out as we do, if the rain was still pouring down after I’d filled all those buckets and tubs, and if we weren’t in a middle of a thunderstorm, I’d have grabbed my shampoo and had a rain-water shower right outside on the back deck! 

 We now have a deck full of buckets, another cluster of full buckets beside the driveway, and another storm coming from Greensboro sometime soon. Tomorrow I’ll pull out the “mosquito donuts” that keep larvae from hatching, for the biggest water containers. We really do need another water barrel, if not two, for summer’s gardens, also for watering trees we intend to live through this drought, now in its–seventh year, is it? I feel so wealthy, and so at ease, now having water! Having the means to keep the gardens alive for another month, keep the flowers on the deck alive, and not need to worry. If we lose power, we can still flush the toilets. Now how delightful is that?!


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