Well, I have a disappointing report on our rain barrel (and this is only OUR rain barrel, not a universal disappointment). It has been pouring all morning, and our rain barrel has a hole in it! Jon ran in to tell me about it on his way off to work. He tried to duct tape it, but it was so wet and he was in a hurry. So I went out to inspect. Yup. It's a leak alright. I tried to dry it and tape it some more--that helped a little. I made a duct tape spout (kind of) and tried to channel the gushing water into the watering can. When that started to fill up it slipped off the precarious perch I had it wedged on. Not cool. Then my inner MacGyver came into play, and I found one of those wide elastic belts that were popular in the 50s and the 80s. Now I'm a big gal, but I'm not rain barrel big. Luckily, elastic gets really loose as it ages, so with a lot of muscle, I was able to cinch the rain barrel with my old belt! We now win the most well-dressed rain barrel award. The rain sounds like it's letting up a bit, so I may go out there and try to dry and retape it, and then I'll put the cute little belt back on it. Now I'm thinking that an old tire inner tube would work well (although it wouldn't be so stylish). Hmmm. . . where to get one of those. . .
--12 hours later--
Well, my search for inner tubes led me to Pomp tire in McCook. They repair truck tires, and when I told them I'd take busted ones, they were more than willing to help me out. I took all the ones they had (about 5). Now I'm trying to decide what to make out of my newfound supplies. . . I only need a small part of one of them for the rain barrel. Truck tires are really big. There's a company in the UK called English Retreads, or something like that, that makes cool purses out of old tubes. I wanted them for the store, but I'm trying to keep it all relatively local. Plus the shipping would kill me price-wise, and pollution-wise.