Thursday, September 17, 2015

FOR THE LOVE OF BUCKETS

Mindy’s been talking about water and water got me to thinking about carrying water and carrying water has me thinking of buckets, and what if water didn’t flow out of my faucet or into my tub with a twist of a handle, and I had to carry it from here to there; how would I do it?

Buckets.

Or build a Roman aqueduct.

But buckets seem a more reasonable solution.

One of the truly delightful consequences of writing a novel like Beyond the Strandline is the opportunity to play the “what if” game. It’s eye opening.

What if the water stopped? Tess Lane and her sisters carry water from their deep water well in buckets, catch water in rain barrels, and are constantly boiling water to keep it and their surroundings clean. Water from a safe well would be safe as long as the containers used to transport it were clean.  

Three days without water and it’s a done deal and not just any water, clean water, water that would need to be boiled to be drinkable if it were from an open water source: creek, pond, river, lake. According to Livestrong.com, open waterways contain: “The hardy giardia and other disease-causing bacteria, known generally as coliform bacteria, can survive outside the body for months, spreading water-borne disease from animals or humans. Several common culprits cause symptoms that may range from mild indigestion to diarrhea, dehydration and death.”

Yucky. And that's an official prepping term.
 
The closest place I can think of to get water in an emergency would be the swampy area at the back of our property. A little digging and we would have a mucky pond, but that’s not next to my kitchen sink. Believe me. I’d need a bucket and not just any bucket but a bucket that could be kept clean, really clean: germ resistant, heat resistant, drop-on-the-ground resistant.

Plastic. Galvanized. Ancient. Battered. I took a good look at the buckets we use around the farm and realized that I wouldn’t trust them to put mud in, let alone my water.

Plastic buckets are inexpensive, but they don’t hold up. They crack and aren’t very sturdy.

And galvanized buckets corrode, good for feed, seed, and eggs. I’m not sure a corroded bucket would be my first pick for carrying my family’s water.

I’m thinking that a seamless, stainless steel bucket would be best, the kind of buckets recommended for milk, the kind you could sterilize, food grade. Milk buckets are made without seams so that there’s no place for the germs to grow. They’re designed to stand up to heat. Could I boil the water in the bucket? 

It’s settled. I’m going to do some more research and find out more about buckets.

It’s what happens when you write books; you start to think about things you might not have thought about before. Like buckets. How handy they can be. How much you’d miss them if you didn’t have one when you needed it.

And if you did have a big enough bucket to drag water back to the house then what would you boil the water in? Tea kettles. Too small. Wash tubs. Too big. Cast iron . . . hmmmm . . .  

And so it goes. Before you know it, you have a novel . . . or some new buckets.

Linda (Bucket Brigade) Zern