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Monday, November 12, 2012

The Bucket Wash


Water shortage was a stark reality in my childhood. When the backyard well-water was in good supply we would draw water from the well with the old-fashioned pulley-system and fill our handful of barrels and buckets for daily use - from dish-washing to laundering, bathing, drinking. Recycled/dirty dish-water was saved for flushing the toilet. And, later we had the hand-pump to pump as needed, no motorized pump, and no tap water, but still the same routine.

Although we've read books about how little fresh water we have in our world and how the water cycle works; although we use the tap water economically and have been doing community-flushing for liquid waste for the last 5 years; and although they used to take baths together in pretty shallow water, it seemed like kids could do something more, something practical to see how much they can save, how little they really need.

I set aside a large metal stock pot for this - called "the metal bucket".

First we filled the bathtub to the usual shallow level, but using the metal bucket. We noticed this took six bucketfuls.

Then, we ran the shower in a narrow spray and held the bucket for a 2 minute shower. It still was close 2 to 3 bucketfuls.

Finally, I filled half the metal bucket with toasty warm water and gave the older child a yogurt container "mug" and a loofah loaded with gentle soap. One mug of water for wetting the body; then lather, lather lather; then rinse, rinse, rinse. If no hair washing is involved, half the metal bucket was more than enough for a wonderfully clean and warm body wash.

Which is all the water I had for my daily washes when I was growing up.

They like it so much nowadays that The Bucket Wash has become the norm, and seems it is here to stay.


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