Within a very short space of time our wise old golden retriever, Ben, found yet another use for them...as a windbreak!
Oak barrels have an intriguing history. Most whisky barrels used in the Scottish whisky industry actually started their lives in the USA, most of them in Kentucky, where by law the name 'Bourbon' can only be used for licensed whisky matured in new white oak barrels. These then have to be replaced after a certain period of time, which is when they're shipped to Scotland to be refurbished and they then begin a new career maturing Scotch!
In due course the Scotch barrels are replaced and this is when the used ones are recycled yet again by folk such as ourselves.
You'd scarcely believe the many fascinating ways in which oak barrels are used...just a few examples include: patio furniture, chairs, tables, sink bases, drinks cabinets, dog kennels, water features, wine racks, bin containers, stave furniture and my favourite, wheelbarrels. I definitely want one of those! If you'd like to see some great photographs of some of these barrel items, they're on the Kentucky Barrels website.
The oak tub's height off the ground makes it comfortable for those of us with bad backs to plant up and work on, especially if you use a low stool, and this seems to deter slugs too, especially if you put a copper band around the tub. You can buy special copper tape for this purpose but we often just use copper wire stripped from old cable: it works really well and blends nicely with the look of the barrel too.
We now have a small website dedicated to the barrels and are able to supply them sited and planted too. For businesses within a reasonable distance of Dumfries we offer a delivery, plant and upkeep service.
Maybe we should hold a competition for who can come up with the most original and practical idea for using a recycled oak barrel?