Waste not, water not

Hi everyone. It’s hot out there. Really hot. And with experts saying drought is likely to be our new summertime way of life, 2012 might be just a sample of what’s to come. 

Let’s talk water. It’s August. It’s hot. And dry. Think about it. Do you really need a green lawn? It’s not natural right now to have green grass. In fact, I scowl suspiciously at the lush green lawns in town when we’re in the middle of a drought. (That’s me in the red Ford giving your grass the drive-by stink-eye.)

Your yard is not a golf course, so why water it like one? Don’t do this! It’s a big waste of water.

First of all, green grass looks freakishly out of place these days. Secondly, what’s the point? You want it to grow, why?** To mow? Seriously! It’s too hot to mow. Besides, it’s just a waste of gasoline, not to mention your time. Why fritter away hours mowing when you could be inside watching the Olympics.

Use drip lines to water your perennials and bushes at their roots. Keep the garden and the herbs happy by watering their feet. No need to use a sprinkler. It’ll just evaporate in the heat, wasting water.

If you’re spraying your yard with a sprinkler––particularly in mid-day––don’t be surprised to hear a knock on your door. That’ll be me. Hi. Just wanted to let you know you’re evaporating more than you’re using. And, ahem, were you aware of the voluntary water restrictions? We’ve been asked to curtail watering before 9 p.m. and to please stop by 9 a.m. It’ll save you money, honest. Besides, water conservation is important, and it’s looking like drought may be our new way of life.

Why not think about rain containment? We use repurposed olive barrels at Hilltop House.

Bought ‘em from Atwoods Ranch & Home. They’re 58-gallon olive barrels shipped from Greece to the U.S. Some enterprising barrel dealer drills a hole near the bottom and inserts a spigot. With the screw-off lids, they’re perfect for catching rain.

They’re cheap. Less than $40 each, with a teensy smell of brine from the olives. We just take off the lids and let ’em air out––making sure to drain any remaining olive juices from the bottom. Not only are they a bargain, but how cool is it to have rain barrels from Greece?

Mr. Hilltop says it takes only one-tenth inch of rain to fill all ten of our barrels, if they’re lined up right under the gutter downspouts (this is important). We’ve had a couple of small rains in July and August––not enough to repair the drought damage but enough to keep us limping along with targeted watering. 

Our barrels are less than half full now, but we’ve been able to keep the perennials, herbs and garden watered.

Fingers crossed that when the barrel status reaches bone-dry another rain will come and refill. If not, we’ll have to switch to hose water … but not sprinklers! Drip hoses and hand watering only. Would hate to have you come knock on my door and tell me I’m ruining the planet by sprinkler-watering my gardens.

** Fescue grass people, we understand it will die if you don’t water it. But bermuda grassers have no excuses. Let it die. It’ll come back. You fescuers may consider different types of ground covers for the coming years. Heat and drought are not friends of the fescue, so you’re fighting a losing battle.

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5 Responses to Waste not, water not

  1. gourdphile says:

    As usual, great post. Are you telling me that gorgeous raspberry red urn-like thing is your water catcher? What a freakin’ fine find! Is it any wonder we love Atwoods?

    Mr. Hilltop’s math skills are wicked.

    My washing machine drains anywhere my hose end winds up. I have, I dunno, 20′ feet of hose that I keep wrapped up in my washing machine between washing. Did I need to put in that last part?
    I’m goddess of my garden: water is given to those I like or think have a chance. There’s the quick and the dessicated.


    • Great to hear from you Gourdo! The urn-like plastic things ARE our rain barrels. We have ten of ’em, so yay for us. They are not, however, raspberry — my camera is a bit of a liar. Think more orange. Not OSU orange, but more of a 100-year-old terra cotta roof tile color. So they’re purdy and cheap thanks to Atwoods buying repurposed olive barrels.

      Next time I’m down Atwoods’ way, I’ll see if they have more (they tend to sell out pretty early in the summer). Seems to me that the Holler needs at least one. 😉

  2. Rich says:

    Excellent points and I agree. It’s still strange, though, when I think that we still have the same amount of water on the earth now as we did eons ago.. just in a different form, and moving around in different locations. So that water in your rain barrel, just might have been the same water that Thomas Jefferson drank 200 years ago!

    • Hi Rich! So you’re saying that Thomas Jefferson has peed in our rain barrels?! Definitely need to set up security cameras. I’ve heard that guy is a troublemaker-revolutionary type.

  3. Lisbeth & Constantino says:

    Mrs. Hilltop, greetings from the Badras.

    I found this website and thought it might interest you. WATTPAD. It’s a place for readers and writers. Hope you like it. If so and decide to publish there, I am ready to be your fan – would love to read what you write.

    I thought of you today, because I became fan of this writer, “GenXblogger”. Her prose reminds me so much of your style: Expanded vocabulary, excellent use of imagery, use of simple and complex structures, etc. I thought, I wonder if this is Shanley. Anyway, hope you visit the site and like it. I write under my name.


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