Now that gardening season is upon us, I’ve placed a bucket in the shower to catch the water that would normally go down the drain while the hot water makes its rather slow journey from the water heater to the bathroom. I have a smaller bucket that I use while waiting for water to wash my face. When you multiply these bits of water by four people, it adds up to a lot.
In this blog I tend to complain loud and long that I live in a place with precipitation on an average of 154.5 days a year. So it might seem ridiculous to you that I would try to conserve water. But there’s no point in wasting something just because you have a lot of it and, believe it or not, even here in the temperate rainforest we do have dry spells and summer watering restrictions.
Plus I grew up in California where, it seems, I was permanently affected by the drought of 1976–1977. And lately, as we’ve been watching Frontier House on DVD and I’ve been reading Little House on the Prairie to Child Two, I have apparently been infected with that pioneer waste-not-want-not mentality.
I’m sure that my neighbors must wonder what the heck I’m doing sloshing around the already wet yard (sometimes in the rain even!) with my big red bucket of water. Several spots in our yard don’t get watered by the rain because they’re protected by the eaves or by the branches of the ginormous trees that surround us, so I use my bucket water on them.
A bonus of this scheme is that my haphazard watering habits have improved tremendously. In the typical scenario, I say to myself, “It looks like today will be one of those 154.5 days with precipitation, so why bother watering?” but it doesn’t actually rain and the poor bean plants shrivel. Or I forget about the umbrella effect of the trees. Or I put “water the garden” on my mental to-do list again and again and again while the Shasta daisies topple over with heat exhaustion.
While it appears that I’m normally incapable of getting off my butt to go fill up the watering can or turn on the sprinkler, hauling a bucket of water out of the bathroom and into the yard doesn’t seem to be any trouble at all. And, if it happens to be one of the 210.5 days without precipitation, my red bucket reminds me to water the rest of the yard while I’m out there.