It rained yesterday, finally. The weatherman had called for rain on at least six separate days lately, with no luck. Even yesterday’s shower wasn’t exactly a downpour, but enough to properly water the garden, at least.
It was also enough to have Hubby running around outside, putting various containers under drips from the eaves.
There are only so many water conservation tactics we can use in our situation. I have to shower more frequently than I might bother with if I were not dealing with the public every day, for instance. My “showers” (bucket baths, as the shower is not working, and not all that high on our priority list right now) only take 5 or 6 gallons, but I do that most every day, which makes a dent in the water supply. We re-use the bathwater for watering the freshly-planted trees, so we are getting two uses out of every gallon, at least.
My clothing also has to be presentable or better. With cats and dogs and living in the middle of nowhere where it is either dusty or muddy almost all of the time, we do a fair bit of laundry. We put off doing some things – kitchen floor mats, for instance, or the doggie beds – but it all needs washing eventually. We were holding off, waiting for the rain, since every full load ‘costs’ us 60 gallons of water. And water costs a fortune. We need a front-loading washer or some other low-use option, but for the moment, money is tight, so we have to improvise.
So with the rain, I sorted the laundry while Hubby hauled buckets of water in. To do the laundry with rainwater, we load up the washer, add the soap, and start pouring water in. When we think we have enough water in the tub, we shut the lid briefly to make sure the washer does not try to add more. We make a note of how much water we added, so that we put in enough for the rinse cycle. Then we run downstairs and turn off the water supply to the machine.
You have to pay a lot of attention when you are doing laundry this way. At the beginning of the rinse cycle, the machine makes a funny noise, which sounds like it is straining for something. We have been careful to add water right away, so as not to burn out any motors or anything. Hauling the water is quite a bit of work. However, with this rain, we managed to do five loads of laundry (two normal loads of clothing, and three loads if stuff we had been saving, like towels and dog beds and the like), and did not use any hauled water at all. The laundry smells quite nice, too. Hubby was a bit dubious about using the water off the roof for the rinse cycle, as there was some dust and pollen in it, but our laundry looks as clean as ever. Anyone with a rain barrel could do the same.
Hopefully it keeps raining at least once a week, and we can keep doing laundry cheaply until we can afford that darn front-loader…