I need a drink!

My little piece of the world is very hot and very, very  dry.
Absolutely too hot to be in the garden.
I mean, I actually want to stay in the house and that is not like me at all.  “I don’t want to stay inside,” my inner gardener whines.  “Surely there is something in the shade garden you can dead head.”  Nope.  “Pull weeds?”  Nope.  It’s been so hot even the weeds aren’t growing I tell her.  “It’s so hot I saw a bird using a potholder to get a worm out of the ground,” she giggles.   How sweet.  My inner gardener is trying to cheer me up.
It is also very, very dry.  Did I say that already?
As a gardener, I’m always thinking about water.  I have several flower beds and a vegetable garden that I worked very hard to establish.  I spent hours planting, fertilizing, and mulching in the spring so, needless to say, I want my stuff to grow!   After a horrendous summer of melting heat last year and a water hose permanently attached to my hand , I decided I would set up my own irrigation system this year.  Now, keep in mind, I am not a technical person so this means I  bought a bunch of soaker hoses and laid them in the beds.  I did get a little technical though, and bought a timer for each hydrant.
I wish there was a way to water the fields.  I’m sure the cows would appreciate it.

Dry, crunchy grass is depressing
I debated whether to set up hoses around my trees.  But, since I didn’t have any more hoses, I opted for this version of irrigation instead.
The bucket brigade
I have access to a lot of plastic 5 gallon buckets, so my hubby drilled 3 small holes in the bottom and we put them by each tree.  The smaller trees got 1 bucket and the larger ones 2.  Just fill with water and let gravity do the work.  This gives the trees a slow, deep drink of water and me time to do something else.   So far all the trees are still alive and my peach trees are beginning to leaf out again after being devoured by the grasshoppers.  Yippee!
Even the cows get in on the action………

I am also very conscious about saving water.  A few years ago, I bought a 75 gallon rain barrel to catch water from my gutter.  The first rain we had filled the barrel.  I decided this was a good thing and purchased another one.  Since I had space,  I set it up next to the first barrel and linked the two with a piece of hose.
150 gallons of free water
Ideally these should be sitting a little higher off the ground, but that is the best I could do so I made it work.  You will also notice I do not have a downspout.  This is due to an extremely overactive dog that decided to tear it off and use it as a chew toy.   So, to get the water to the barrel, I found a really fun rain chain that guides the water inside.
One fishy
Two fishy
Three fishy, four
These barrels are a bit smaller holding 50 gallons each.
100 gallons of free water
As the larger ones are completely round, these have a flat back so they can sit flush against the house.  Rain barrels are getting easier to find and I found these at a local Tractor Supply. I  have also seen them at various hardware and feed stores.  There are also directions online to make your own if you have an extra barrel hanging around.
Since the crazy dog didn’t destroy this downspout, my hubby had to cut some of it off and attach a flexible downspout.  I secured the downspout to the rain barrel with some fishing line and placed a rock on top to keep in place. (I’m sure there is a better way to secure it but that is what I had available.) Once again, these should be a little higher to get better gravity pull.
Ok.  So how much rain does it take to fill a rain barrel?  Just a half inch of rain falling on a 1,000-square-foot roof will give me 300 gallons of water!  Why don’t I have more of these??
And last, but not least, let’s not forget about our pets and feathered friends.  They love and need fresh water.  Daily.  Don’t forget!
And now I will leave you with baby bluebirds playing in water.  This is why I love to be outside.
phote courtesy of my friend MaryAnn
Well, I hope my inner gardener is happy.  And I hope my plants stay alive.
And I hope we get rain soon or my inner dancing queen will have to be released to do her rain dance.
And trust me, you do not want this to happen.