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Summer showers under the water tank are the Best   The big old fashioned shower head has been there so long the holes get clogged  up. The few minutes poking the old protractor point to clear them is well worth it.  Hot and sweaty washes right away under the gentle shower.  The 55 gallon drum that serves as the hot water heater is on a separate line.  In summer the  afternoon sun heats the water in the overhead enough to be comfortable. The water heater comes in handy for early morning and late night.

Hard to beat showering under the tank on a late July night under the panorama of West Texas country stars, a warm breeze to air dry and a friendly companion.  Ahh

With the increase in temp and later fall weather, a November shower is becoming  less an adventure. A good terry cloth robe to wear back to the house allows me to put off winter bathing for a few weeks.

 The wind out here is what chills.  

When that same wind is howling at  30 degrees, it is time to get the big luffa and take some lessons from the Japanese.  I think that’s where the dry brushing came from.  

Two gallons of water heated on the stove, a large tub to stand in, a gallon plastic pitcher, electric heater or coals from the stove ( on a non flammable surface), and lots of rugs or such as this can make a mess

(A bathtub with a shower curtain is lots less mess.  Water heaters though,send inordinate amounts of water down the drain before any hot water comes out.  Upstairs showers with downstairs water heaters are teeth grinding.)

Strip everything if you are warm enough.  If not, start at the bottom.  By the time you brush your feet and legs vigorously you will begin to be warmer and taking off your shirt won’t be so bad.  Always brush toward your heart.  Across your shoulders ,up the belly.  With luck, that same friendly companion will help with the back.  When throughly raw and glowing, prepare your first gallon of water to pour over yourself.  If you are warm enough, now is the time to shampoo you’re hair.  Washing your hair in the sink after the bath with your robe on might be more comfortable.  

One gallon wets you down.  Now soap up, something good smelling, then wet down again.  One more if you washed your hair or just want the luxury of feeling the warm water running down your back.  Lovely.  

Two gallons cooled works into 4-5 gallons.  A luxurious bath by lots of standards.  Depending  on the length of your hair, this can be cut way down.  Just depends on what you have available.  The so-called whore’s bath will get you through without offending anyone. Grateful that has not been the case for me, yet.

If we as a species are divine in any sense of the word,it is our ability to do the best we cn with what we’ve got to work with.  The last 7 years challenges that viewpoint.  

One household at a time

The coming water shortage will call for conservation and low tech methods of collection.  I have learned a lot about how to do pretty well without “city” or well water.  We have relied on rain water collection for over twenty years.

Here are a few suggestions:

Gutter buildings to collect in a cistern.  Cisterns are sold at irrigation supplies and Tractor Supply Company.  We use the 1600 gallon by the house. City and home owner association regulations may have to be challenged to allow for this and other changes like rooftop wind chargers.

Cistern water should be filtered for drinking and cooking.

It is great garden water.  As food becomes more expensive and then less available, gardening, always a pleasant hobby, will be a valuable skill. Still playing in the dirt.

Always use a watering can.  It is too easy to lay down a hose and walk off. i speak from experience. A watering can is good for your muscles and gives you an accurate measure of how much water each plant requires to thrive and produce. This will be our first year to try the Chapin Bucket irrigation method, designed for use in third world countries, it will probably work well here in dry west Texas. Look for drought tolerant varities and explore which natives are edible for growing or collection.

Growing in the furrow will save more water than the raised bed method, but I’ve had good luck with winter greens in a bed.

Don’t use chemical fertilizers as they deplete the soil.  Compost everything from the kitchen.  I give the meat scraps to the chickens and the cat.

Where you can, chickens will give you eggs, meat, and manure to grow vegetables. They eat grasshoppers and some other vegie eating bugs. Not much eats a squash bug, just have to plant early and beat them to the draw.

Use dishpans and wash your dishes with one pan of wash water and one pan of rinse water. Do not rinse under the faucet.  Use a tablespoon of chlorine bleach in the rinse water.  Throw the used water on the garden or a favored outside plant. Spread it around to avoid a build up of phosphates.  I use leftover rinse water to rinse the food from pans and dishes from the next meal and throw it on the compost.  The wash water stays bubbly longer without all the trash in it.  My husband put a switch on the water heater. We turn it on an hour before we will need it.  I find it quicker and more efficient to heat the water on the stove for dishes.  

I would like to write a book about all the ways we can help ourselves that I have learned.I welcome any suggestions if this information seems valuable to any of you.