We’ve had an unusually cold, but also rainy, winter here. Dan and I have been kicking ourselves for not having set up a rainwater catchment system earlier. The main thing that held us back — apart from the fact that we didn’t know how long we’d be staying in this rental house — is that the house has no gutters. Looking around, I see that that’s the case for at least every other house here.┬áIs that a Southern thing?

Now that we’ve committed to at least another year in this house, and have planted a fairly sizable garden all around the house (more about that later), we decided it was time to get some water self-sufficiency going. Instead of the main house, we’re using the roof of our backyard shed for collecting the rainwater. It has a simple, rectangular shape, which makes installing gutters easy. We used the 55 gallon barrels we had brought with us from Oregon, where we had an identical setup. The barrel that is higher up gravity feeds into the lower one when it gets full. This is where we hope to get most of our garden irrigation water this spring and summer.rainbarrelsFor this project, my husband gets all the credit — these days, it’s not really a good idea for me to be climbing ladders with power tools in hand, so I was more than happy to let him do the work. I got to just come outside for afternoon tea and scones and admire the finished work, and those splashes of color — blue as in water, yellow as in daffodils, green as in a new spring.