Barrel Boy!

"Didn't your mother ever tell you not to put beans in your ears?" 

As it turns out, my mother did tell me this... right after I jumped into a tote of soybeans as a kid from the rafters of the barn following a dare from my sister. I had ended up going to the hospital to have several soybeans removed from my ear canal that had lodged themselves there after the inertia from the jump from a good thirty feet!

Anyway, this was also the phrase running through my head yesterday when ( I am no longer a child but a grown man!) I pulled a decidedly risky maneuver and crawled head first into a 45 gallon olive barrel to install a spigot...


Yesterday was a particularly beautiful, warm spring day. The perfect day to get the animals out of the barns and onto the luscious pasture. I made a plan to reduce the labor of hauling water buckets to the pigs by building a raised water reservoir to gravity feed a water nipple, giving the pigs access to clean water all-day and saving the pressure pump at the same time. The focal point of this system is, of course, the reservoir and, with several 45 gallon barrels at my disposal I set out to install the spigot in the bottom of the barrel. Now, it's worth mentioning that until this point Erin was working with me all-morning to get the electric run for the paddocks and had left for the garden when I determined my next under-taking. I drilled a hole in the bottom of the barrel and placed the spigot in a vise to secure the grommet.

It was at this point my near-fatal mistake occurred. As there was no way to reach the bottom of the barrel with my body outside of the barrel, I slowly crawled inside. It was easy at first, hands above my head and in I went. it was at this moment I realized there was no one around and I had just crawled into a tight space with seemingly the only way out being to attach the spigot and use the vise to hold the barrel still while i pulled my body back out. I attached the spigot and thought to myself " this is going quite well actually". Just then; the spigot came free of the vise and I was, to my absolute pure-horror, stuck half-way in a barrel with my hands above my head and nobody to help.

"didn't your mother ever tell you not to put beans in your ears?"


I was so unbelievably screwed! I started flailing about the shop with this barrel on my head. Bonking into first the ceiling, then the floor and finally the wall. I tried everything; putting the barrel on the ground and shimmying back and forth trying to wriggle my way free. none had any real affect. I crouched, using my knees to hold the barrel against my stomach and push my shoulders together until they almost came out of my rotator cuffs! Thank god I had applied sunscreen to my back and went into the barrel naked from the waist up, I felt the first sign of progress when my shoulder blade moved by mere millimeters toward the light, toward freedom from barrel hell! wriggle wriggle... pant pant... wriggle wriggle wriggle, POP! 

I was out! I leap't free from the barrel, cursing and rubbing my sore shoulders that had swollen slightly from the intense strain.

I cautiously went and surveyed the barrel and apart from slightly loosening the spigot it was perfectly fine. I used a long wrench to tighten the spigot and celebrated my victory over a beer.

The moral of this tale is never put yourself into a situation (by situation i mean barrel) you cant get out of. ( by get out of I mean look like an idiot running around the farm half inside a barrel!) 

Next time I think I'll spend the extra money, save my dignity and buy a rain barrel with a spigot...        



Erin Richan