Part of my home improvement efforts have been to make our house more resource efficient, not just a bit bigger and nicer. As part of that, I added a 60 gallon rain barrel to use for watering plants in our yard. As you know, the rain patterns in California mean that wouldn't get filled from roughly May until November, so 60 gallons won't last the whole dry season.
Eventually I'd like to have a larger tank to collect rain water and gray water from the washing machine, but that's a long ways down the line. So I was delighted when I heard that the city of Oakland was going to be selling rain barrels to residents for only $45. Saturday I header over to Kaiser Elementary in Hiller Highlands to get some. I don't know if they're planning on selling more in the future, but if so, it's a great deal. The barrels hold 65 gallons, are made from recycled plastic, and come with all the necessary fittings for a faucet and the overflow.