This summer I built an awesome water barrel: basic 20 gallon garbage can, spigot hardware and a hose. Cheap and easy. Not very pretty to look at but it sure did the job redirecting run-off from the roof. No more mud patches in the lawn or ruts in the driveway. It also let me aim the water at trees around the house and – in theory – to a garden in the future. Awesome.
Then we got hit with our first real snow storm of the season the week.
Now the water barrel is one solid mass of ice. It’s backing up the downspout. The hose is extended across the lawn and buried under the snow, likely setting up a nice brown stripe of dead grass for Spring. Not so awesome.
My confession is this: I didn’t have a Winter plan for the water barrel. In fact, I didn’t even give Winter a thought. I set up the barrel and it functioned great. Thumbs up. Move on to next project.
Of course, now I’m feeling a sense of deja vu. What was it I learned while potting – and repotting – the tomato plants this summer? Stop and ask myself if I really know what I’m doing? Yup, it’s starting to come back to me now.
The water barrel situation is by no means a major setback. But it is a gentle reminder to think through even the simplest of projects. One trick to making progress around the homestead is not having to go back and redo things you’ve already completed. Or making additional work by having to undo unforeseen outcomes.
Of course, the addendum to the stop-and-think policy is that a little “oops” is inevitable the first time you do anything. Even if I had stopped and thought through Winter plans for the water barrel, I don’t know if I would’ve foreseen the resulting ice sculpture. And ironically, seeing the barrel turn into a giant block of ice might actually be helpful to forming a better plan.
The same “oops” addendum applies to my plan for getting the chickens to lay their eggs exactly where I want them: the eggs I left overnight as encouragement were frozen solid and cracked open the next morning.
Guess I’ll collect all the eggs everyday and just give the chickens verbal encouragement.
Still thinking about what to do with the water barrel.