Rain Barrel – The still of morning as musty scents of red wine seep over the rim

Between my trip to the Writers Union AGM in Ottawa, and Vancouver to read, we visited a local cooperage and bought an old wine barrel to catch water. There are predictions of a dry summer and we are on a well, so it doesn’t make sense drenching the garden. A big barrel-maker of a guy delivered the barrel and asked me where I wanted it… In the following days I drilled a hole in the top and then sawed enough to then smash the top in with my prized pick-axe. The inside smelled strongly of red wine and the insides were a deep red colour.

In the following days I bought a faucet and a drill bit the size of the faucet screw, and the following morning was up early to drill a hole in the lower section. “Apply goo,” said the barrel maker, which I did. The brass faucet is now intact. I was afraid with all of the sawing, hacking, and drilling that I would unlock some crucial point of tension and the whole thing would explode. (The barrel maker had explained how he makes new barrels, with all the gear and the rings etc, and shaping the wood. It seemed like a large uncomplicated bomb waiting to explode.)

Now, by the edge of our house, where I sawed the drainpipe and guided it towards the barrel, it seems happy enough. However, I am now wondering how to get the water in the barrel–fill it with the hose? We still haven’t had a big downpour.

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