Saving Water: Tips We've Learned Along the Way

| 4/2/2019 12:09:00 PM

Windy Meadows FarmSlowly, but certainly, we’re beginning to see the gentle green of spring…buds on the lilac, chives sprouting in the garden, and the sun shining brilliantly. Yes, there’s a lingering chill in the air, and even a bit of snow fell last night, but we can feel that a change is coming. The predicted warmth of this week will encourage daffodils and azaleas, and it looks like the last of the puddles are finally drying. I quickly dodge the few remaining puddles as I set out for daily chores, only to land in a spot of mud more often that not. The folks around us call this "Bootscrape Weather" and they couldn’t be more right. Funny enough, the farm wives will tell you mud on the floor is as much a sign of spring as the first flower!  An old quote from the Hoosier Farmer comes to mind…

“Love is the thing that enables a woman to sing while she mops up the floor after her husband has walked across it in his barn boots.”

A basket sits by a comfy sofa, and soon I steal a few minutes to look through the latest arrival of seed catalogs and favorite magazines. My to-do list is getting longer… I want to make an arbor from some dusty old doors I found tucked away in the back of  our barn, while a vintage screen door seems just the right thing to add a little whimsy to a flower garden. And oh yes… those broken dishes. (Who knew the bottom of that box was so flimsy?) When I lifted it up, out they came with a crash… a rainbow of colorful bits that now wait to become mosaic stepping stones around the chicken coop.

Then in the middle of all my planning and dreaming it comes to me, as it does every year, why (on what was once a cattle farm 70 years ago then in later years a horse farm) are there no working water pumps near the barns and gardens?  Each year this means hauling water from the one lonely spigot near the house to make sure our goats and chickens, barn cats and trusty guard dog have all the water they need. And when the garden is planted, several sections of hose work will wind their way over the grass, gravel, and then more grass until they meet their destination. Years ago we had someone search for water lines… there must be some, but after watching them dig up most of the yard and finding none, we gave up. (Someday I’d love to have a water pumping windmill… add one more thing to do to-do list!)

large tomato on scale

Like so many, we look forward to that first tomato, warm from the garden... is there anything better? We've also started setting up a little roadside stand to share our extra vegetables. So over the years we’ve tried to come up with clever ways to provide water for the garden by saving rainwater and using the water we do have as efficiently as possible. And so, if you should you find yourself living in a 155-year old farmhouse with only one outdoor spigot, we’re happy to share some of the ideas that have worked for us.

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