This is a photo of my hot tub. Yep. Into this simple and sleek design we can actually cram our entire family (2 adults and a kid). We use Epsom salt so that as the water cools we can run a hose to drain the water onto my roses (they like the Magnesium in the Epsom salts). The most immediate reason this particular hot tub came into existence in my yard is because our 1951 indoor bathtub is super shallow. Not awesome for soaking much other than your bum. I believe in the soaking method for relieving muscle aches and relaxation. So I began researching online and found some seriously inspiring versions of the Cowboy Hot Tub. (Google it. You will be amazed at the variety.) The deeper roots of this concept of outdoor backyard washing belong to my maternal grandmother Hazel.
Hazel raised eight kids on a farm in Wisconsin. By the end of chores, bailing hay, gardening and playing her kids were happy and filthy. It was not uncommon for her to run warm water from the milk house to a wash tub outside for the kids to bathe on summer nights. In my era (as she raised me some as well) it was often a small baby pool filled with bubbles. In my farm kid mentality it is completely normal to have hot water plumbed outside. It’s how you wash the milkers, pails and your dirty kids so they don’t mess up your white tub. So as soon as we moved into our home here in urban San Antonio I had a handyman come and plumb a hot water faucet outside. It cost me about 75$ and some super weird glances from the guy I had hired. Then I found this particular cattle tank on Amazon for about 125$. This may sound like a huge investment but when I build a fire on a winter night and fill this baby up and soak I could be at the finest resort in the world. Stars overhead with some great Indian Temple Incense burning. Heaven. Wait…this is not the point of this blog. This is a pediatric tub!
In all seriousness having a warm fun place to wash a filthy kid helps us to relax a little about them getting dirty. Let me say this more authentically. It helps a type-A Mom like me let go a little about mud, sand, dirt, stickiness etc. all the necessary gooeyness that is part of a thriving childhood. And all the water that would have gone down the drain on my kid’s bath has been reclaimed for watering flower beds. Gold star for conservation!