About two weeks ago, I wrote about setting up a rain barrel, and I related it to energy conservation for ourselves. Here is what I wrote then:
"The philosophy behind using rain barrels relates well to coping. Many of us live with fatigue, which limits how much we can do in a day/week/etc. We can't just hop in the car and go, go, go. Like a rain barrel, conserve your resources (eg- energy), plan ahead and reroute energy to where/when it is most needed. When you have extra energy, don't erode yourself by trying to do too much. When I need to water my plants, I can use the water in the rain barrels, or if they are empty, I can use the water the city supplies us. With energy, we don't have that option. Once our energy barrel is empty, it is empty until it 'rains' again. (Like our energy, that can be unpredictable.) Don't waste what it you have. Save it for a sunny day. Get plenty of rest and do what you need to do to maximize your energy. If you have something you want to do in the evening, plan your day with enough down time that there will be energy left in your barrel.
I like this 'rainbarrel theory of energy conservation'. Over the next few weeks, I am going to try to develop it further. I am open to any and all input. Send me your ideas."
No one sent ideas (I'm still waiting), but I have some new thoughts of my own. Rain barrels are usually set up on bricks or something else that raises them off of the ground., and are designed to run just from gravity pulling the water down. We had planned from the beginning that we would have ours run by a small demand pump, so my husband set them up directly on the ground. We knew that the rain barrels would not have very much pressure.
Before the pump was installed, there was a nice trickle from the hose attached to the rain barrel, which I could use to water one planter box if I held the sprayer close to the ground (not good for my body). The hose would not even work for the other planter box, because it was uphill a bit from where the rain barrels were. I watered that planter by filling up a watering can inside the apartment, taking it outside and distributing the water in the planter, and repeating 8-9 times. Needless to say, I was very happy when the pump was installed. Now the water comes out of the sprayer with just the right amount of pressure. Very useful, considering we are in the middle of a heat wave, mid 90's every day, no rain.
I see the rain barrel without the pump installed as me. I have some energy, but it is only enough to do certain things, and it doesn't reach as far as I would like. The pump represents the things I do that increase my energy, and make me more functional. I take medications. I use a CPAP machine, which helps me breathe at night, and keeps my oxygen level up where it should be. This, and going to bed earlier than I used to help me get a good night's sleep, so I wake up fairly refreshed in the morning. The rain barrel has a limited capacity, and if we don't get rain soon, it will run dry, and I will be back to using the watering can method. I have to gage how much water to use, to try to keep my plants happy, without using up the water too fast. I have to gage my own energy in a similar way, so I don't use up my energy too fast and 'run dry'. The water supplies nutrients to the plants to help them grow. I supply nutrients to me when I eat, and I try to eat mostly healthy foods, like lots of fruit and veggies, whole grains, minimal meat, and, of course, Jelly Belly Jelly Beans (they're beans, right?)