Professor Nicky teaches Fluid Dynamics 101

We bought a rain barrel about a month ago, and my father-in-law installed it for us. There’s a short hose that comes out of the bottom of the barrel so that you can use it to water the garden, but I was never able to get the hose to work. I’d take the nozzle end out of the clamp and open it, but no water came out. I’ve done this at least four or five times over the last month before I told Gail the other day that there was something wrong with the barrel.

This morning I was talking to my father-in-law on the phone, and mentioned this hose problem to him. He suggested that maybe there was some kind of cap that should have been removed before the hose was attached, so I might have to remove the hose and see what’s there. Nicky happened to be playing Wii in the next room while I was on the phone, and heard the conversation (well, my end of it, anyway). Once I was off the phone, he told me that he’s been able to get the hose to work, but he had to hold the nozzle end of the hose lower than the level of the water in the barrel, otherwise the water would have to travel upwards.

I quite literally smacked myself in the head. Of course the water won’t go upwards unless something’s pushing it, and there’s no pump inside the barrel to push it. Thank goodness I had an eight-year-old around to help me with this, or I’d have been out there pulling the barrel apart.


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