Well, we’re entering the Rainy Season here in Iowa. Have you thought about collecting rainwater for use in your yard (or even your home)?
Our family’s owned two rain barrels since we bought our house in 1999. One of them split open this last winter, and I’m waiting for a warm enough day to try patching it with some caulking before just buying a new one. We’ve enjoyed the barrels, and use the water collected for watering the garden and trees, handwashing while outside, and the kids use it for play. I will say, the water pressure is certainly nothing to write home about, and even though our barrels have threaded spigots for garden hoses, the water pressure is simply not high enough to actually propel the water through the hose, so we’ve just emptied water into a bucket and hauled it wherever we need it.
If you’re thinking about collecting rainwater, in barrels or simply in a water garden, here are some good local resources:
Backyard Abundance (mainly an Iowa City resource, but good info for all)
Gutterworks in Barnes City carries the exact brand of water barrel our family has.
If you don’t want or need fancy-pants barrels, you can use 55 gallon drums. Mygrandparents used to have a giant wooden barrel under a downspout. We used a dipper or bucket to get the water out.
Caution: any standing water provides a great place for mosquitos to breed. Cover your rain barrels if possible. I’ll post on nontoxic mosquito deterrants in a bit.