It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring!!
It is pissing down buckets, and it looks like it started in the middle of the night. I am so happy! I run outside and make sure there are buckets under all of the rain gutters. Two buckets are already overflowing, but a third was knocked over. I carry one in the house.
I stoke the stove and fill it with wood. I want a really hot fire today- partly because I'm now soaked through and cold, but mostly because I'll be boiling water all day. I start straining some of the water through my filter, then fill a big pot with straight rain water and put it on the stove.
I yell upstairs for the boys to get up. It's been weeks since I yelled up the stairs in the morning and the Bigs come running down thinking the house is on fire or something. I send them back upstairs to get dressed, and hurry. It's raining! They probably think I've lost my mind.
When they return I send them out to make sure all of the rain barrels around the barn and chicken coop are upright in their proper places. The critters tend to knock them over when they get low. I tell them to bring in the full buckets from around the house when they're done.
I start a pot of coffee and tea just as Husband stumbles into the kitchen wondering what all the fuss is about. I am so happy I am dancing around. I clean out the kitchen sink, take the pot off the stove and fill it. It's not boiling yet, but hot enough for dishes.
I strain the water off the cattail starch, which seems to have settled fairly well, then dump the pot into a big bowl. I want this pot boiling water on the stove! I get it washed and ready just as the Bigs come in with buckets of water. They fill it and top up the first pot. My other big pot is full of bear fat so I grab my canner, wash and fill it too. I strain more water, then take the little bit that's left and pour it in the bathtub. The Bigs take the buckets outside and switch them with the other two under the gutters. This also goes in the bathtub and the buckets go back outside.
I wash out all of the pop bottles and juice jugs that are sitting empty, then start on the dishes. Once the first pot boils #1 pours it in the tub, and #3 gets the first bath. He's the cleanest of the filthy. The water is pretty dirty when he's done, but #4 has to share.
I wash out the empty pot, fill it with filtered water, and put it on the stove. The Bigs go out and switch the buckets again. The rain is slowing down, but the barrel is nearly full, so they top off the buckets from the barrel. They strain more water through the filter. I wash out the cattail and meat buckets from yesterday, then drain the sink. #1 refills it for me with unfiltered boiled water, then tops up the pot on the stove.
#4 gets out of the tub and the water is disgusting. After it's drained #2 gives the tub a quick wash, then starts refilling it. The Bigs bring in more water from outside and start filling the tub again. #2 gets to bathe next. We wash dishes, filter water, fill buckets to cool, and take turns bathing over the next few hours. Everyone looks and feels so much better than they have in weeks.
The Bigs go outside to do chores, and fill the chicken coop with all the buckets and dishes they can find. They fill them with water from the rain barrels, then cover them with feed bags to keep dirt out. The Littles take all of the heavy blankets outside and hang them on the clothesline for a rinse.
I go last in the tub, and take my time just soaking. It's such a luxury now!
The rain has picked up again when I get out of the tub. I tell the Bigs to go see if Brother, Sil and the girls would like to borrow the tub. I keep filtering, boiling, and cleaning. It's so hard to keep things clean while trying to use minimal water. Even the floors get mopped for the first time in weeks.
The Bigs come back with the girls. Brother and Sil will be over in a while. They're trying to store as much water as possible too, and of course cleaning everything they can. The Bigs fill the tub for the girls, and Niece1 goes for a bath.
The boiled, filtered water in buckets has cooled sufficiently to start filling the pop and juice bottles. We keep the cycle going, taking out buckets, bringing in buckets, filtering, boiling, cooling, filling bottles.
Niece2 gets her turn in the tub. Brother and Sil arrive. They need more buckets- and a bath tub. They take their turns in the tub as well. Who knew we'd ever be so happy for a downpour? The snow is long gone, the yard is filled with puddles, the critters are drenched, and we hope the rain continues!
Late in the afternoon we finally clear enough space on the stove to make brunch. Brother, Sil, and the Bigs go over to Mom and Dads to see if they need help gathering and carrying water. The girls go back to their camp to keep filling and boiling water there.
I've filled every pop bottle and juice bottle I could find with clean, filtered, boiled water. The Littles even dug through all of the recycling bags looking for extras. I start filling canning jars, my wine carboy, refilling the tub, even the mop bucket. Anything that will hold water.
Finally the rain stops after supper- cabbage rolls cooked in a pot on the stove. They aren't great, but I didn't want to put the oven on and lose the boiling space while it was raining.
It's been a great, though exhausting day, racing against the weather. I look at my stinky sheets and decide to change them before crawling into bed. Laundry day at the creek tomorrow.