It's been a busy year for My Garden Essentials. In addition to updating our website, we opened our first retail location at the Hartville MarketPlace in Hartville, Ohio. Visitors can see many of the barrels we sell as well as a sampling of the composters we offer on our website. We even offer DIY food grade barrels and rain barrel kits for our 'do it yourself' customers. You can purchase the DIY Kits through our website, but the DIY barrels can only be purchased at our retail space in Hartville - 1289 Edison Street NW, Booths 261&262 on the North end of the MarketPlace.
Our retail shop features many of the items found on our website as well as a variety of statues, gazing balls and gazing ball stands, lanterns that can be used as accent pieces for your yard, porch - even indoors, and an assortment of Fairy Garden items. We also have a good selection of seasonal decorations in our retail shop and feature ornaments and dolls from Katherine's Collection including many of her popular "Kissing Fish" ornaments. We hope to have many of Katherine's Collection items added to our website in the next few weeks.
So stop back often to see whats new. And if you're visiting the Hartville MarketPlace, be sure to stop by and say hello. We're right off the food court - 2nd Street North.
This is my favorite rain barrel story. Hope you enjoy it!
THE HUMBLE RAIN BARREL
by Daniel E. Walsh Author of Our Sunday "History & Reflections"
Mary Amelia sits in the shade of a black walnut tree on a warm summer day. From a window in the house wafts the smooth, dulcet sounds of Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Kay Kyser, and the music makers of the pre-war radio era. Mary Amelia keeps a notebook on her lap and faithfully pencils the lyrics of any new song that comes on.
In the early morning, she is in the sunlight. She has washed her long chestnut brown hair. She has rinsed her hair with water from the rain barrel at the corner of the house. Now it splays behind her, drying in the sun as she listens to the music. She views the white clouds in the blue sky beyond the green leaves of the walnut tree and lazily dreams the dreams of a teenage girl. She enjoys the warmth of the day and the knowledge that she can use the rainwater. The water collected from the wooden barrel makes her hair soft and easy to brush. She will be proud of her hair and wear it like a princess' raiment.
To Mary Amelia, the rain barrel was a normal feature of any household. That the water softened hair was an accepted fact and not something someone thought to bottle to sell. Mary Amelia and her family put rainwater to many uses. Flowers and plants were tended to and the garden watered. Conservation of resources at the tail end of the Depression had no special significance; it was just the way things were done.
At the same house in the same yard a couple of generations later, two young girls, Caralin and Micaela, sit and dry their hair. They listen to music from tiny machines hooked to their ears. The music they play is hardly dulcet but is as sweet to them as were the sounds of yore to Mary Amelia. The black walnut tree is just a stump—the neighbors got tired of the black stuff that would come down on their cars. In its place is a sucker tree covered with some sort of wild vine; this provides a little shade but is a poor substitute. The girls have lathered on sun screen—same sun, different effect. Wrapped in a cocoon of comfort and security with their private sounds, they too dream with the sky.
If Carlin and Micaela enjoy rainwater softness, they got it from a bottle. Products such as Nature’s Gate Rainwater Awapuhi Shampoo market this effect. They could have dipped into the rain barrel recently placed at the corner of the house and rinsed. But that’s gross, they might protest.
Yes, the rain barrel has returned. Folks have realized the benefits of rain barrel water: zero cost, easy to collect, less chemically infused than city tap for the garden, available for washing the car during restrictions, and less runoff. Options for collecting rain water range from the simple filling of a barrel to elaborate irrigation systems that water the whole lawn.
Life allows little time for the wonder and freedom of a carefree youth. The storms that lie ahead for all of us are sure to come as they did for Mary Amelia and will for the young girls, Caralin and Micaela. Collecting rainwater is not a big deal in the larger scheme of things. A small thing the rain barrel is, but a sentimental touchstone in a life. When the yearning for comfort brings one back to a safe place in memory, these small things matter. Just as the collective small efforts of many carry a great impact on the whole, so does the creation of an island of calm affect a life.
Care and sensibility are extended beyond the time of their occurrence. Responsible stewardship becomes a habit, a part of a greater fabric. These youngsters may be called to bring comfort to others and may have to go back to a special place in their experience to find the strength to do so. Like the soft pure water that falls from the sky and collects in the humble rain barrel, their tender, graceful thoughts are gifts that come from above.
Dedicated to the memory of Mary Amelia (Lee) Walsh who would sing "Playmates" to calm anxious children. http://www.bostongreenscene.net/2009/06/the-humble-rain-barrel.html