Back by popular demand: oak rain barrels from Sustainable Community Solutions!

After a two-year hiatus, I’ve decided to make and sell rain barrels again this summer. (My primary motivation: the prospect of four more years of college tuition payments, including the coming overlap year with both of my kids in college. As Ludwig van Beethoven famously said, “The amount of money one needs is terrifying”…)french-oak-rain-barrel-with-overflow-hose-web

My old barrel supplier (a Kentucky bourbon distillery) is no longer willing to sell the modest quantity of barrels a small-time rain barrel maker requires, so I searched nationwide and found a new supplier: a winery on northern California’s Sonoma Coast that had high-quality, five-year-old French Oak barrels for a reasonable price…if I could pick them up myself on short notice.

A three-day weekend, 68-hour adventure ensued: a 4 a.m. Friday departure from Northfield for a flight to San Francisco ; 2 ½ hours via Penske rental truck from San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge and up the amazingly beautiful California Highway 1 to a remarkably-hard-to-get-to winery; and 53 hours of grueling driving through Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska and South Dakota back to Northfield at midnight Sunday. OMG what was I thinking?!?

I now have an ample supply of beautiful 60-gallon French Oak barrels ready for sale. These barrels were used at the winery to age several successive batches of wine from 2005 through this spring, and were full of chardonnay until earlier this May. These barrels have:

· A securely-screened 6-inch diameter water inlet on the barrel’s top

· An overflow fitting that any standard garden hose can be screwed to

· An American-made solid brass ¾” hose bib (faucet) near the base of the barrel (standard) or

· (Optional; $21.00 extra) ornamental American-made brass faucet: choose from bullfrog, turtle, chickadee or dragonfly

All you need to do to begin collecting naturally soft rain water (excellent for watering houseplants, gardens, shrubs and trees) is to set the barrel up on a secure platform of bricks, blocks, stones or anything else that will keep the barrel an adequate height off the ground underneath a downspout or rain chain, and you’re set!

NOTE: It is very important that you NOT allow your barrel to hold water over winter, as this could lead to freeze expansion and a ruptured top or bottom of your barrel. All you need to do to prepare for winter is to drain the barrel prior to the onset of the long freeze, and ensure that no meltwater can enter the barrel during the winter.

Click here for a flyer with pricing and other information.

For wood rain barrel FAQs, click here.

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