Rain Barrel Anxiety

Updated: Feb 12, 2020



I installed a rain barrel today. I got it from my son for my birthday. It holds 50 gallons! I cut my leg while doing it. It didn't take long and when the job was done, I stood there for a while and waited for rain. The sun was relentless. I went inside and had a beer.


A day or two later it did rain. It was a very light shower so I figured it wouldn't fill up, but I was wrong. It was completely and utterly full of sweet, sweet rainwater. I pushed the barrel several times. It didn't budge. After all, 50 gallons of water weighs over 400 pounds. I didn't want to be seen hugging the big-brown-beauty so I patted it instead; fifty freaking gallons of water - Wow! I bounded up the steps to tell Judy all about it.


"So what are you going to do with it?" She asked.

"What do mean!" I was shocked at her blase reaction. "Water the flowers and... stuff." I stammered (slightly).

"Well, dear, it just rained. They don't need any water."

"So what about the indoor plants?" I was incredulous!

She cocked her head and looked around the room. "Right, that should take a couple of cups or so."

"Well, it isn't going to rain every day so we'll need it sooner or later!" I think I was actually pouting.

"True." She went back to her book.


She wasn't going to rain on my parade. I charged outside to look at the barrel again. I have to admit, it looked pretty much the same. A cool breeze caught my attention. I stared at a darkening sky. It was going to rain again. THEN IT STRUCK ME! Hell, if it rains I won't have anywhere to put the water. I checked the sky again. The forecast had called for more rain later and already the clouds were rolling in. Damn!


For a while I paced around the driveway trying to conjure up a solution. The amount of roof area feeding the barrel was substantial. I could probably fill a dozen barrels in a heavy rainfall. Maybe I could fill a few buckets and put them in the garage. That would leave room for rain in the barrel.


I scoured the house for buckets. I found three. I filled them and placed them in the garage next to the trash bins. "What are you doing?" Judy asked. I explained. "Won't that provide a breeding area for mosquitoes?" I ignored her. I thought for a moment. What else could hold water. THE 50 GALLON RUBBER TRASH BARREL IN THE BASEMENT!


I hauled into the garage dumping its contents into the city's trash pick up cart. I wondered if this thing could hold 400 lbs without splitting. The internet didn't help. The jury was out on that one. Some said yes, some no. I'd fill it half full!

I had only poured one bucket in the barrel when the rain began to fall. It was a gusher! It fell straight down. It was the type of rain every farmer prays for. I got my umbrella and continued the process. I couldn't keep up! The barrel is designed to carry overflow water around to the front and out a weep-hole. It wasn't weeping though, it was vomiting water and drilling a hole in the grass. Shit! It was hopeless.