Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Two Water Stories

After a couple weeks of extreme busy-ness, I spent part of Sunday afternoon and yesterday evening walking around the yard, taking some pictures of the garden and just paying attention to all the flowers, trees and bugs I hadn't had time to pay attention to lately. I recently discovered I had yarrow in my yard, and bergamot too. And I had planted some sage a while ago, inspired by Heather's stories of her delicious mint and sage tea. The internet tells me that yarrow and bergamot leaves can be used in tea as well, and so I decided to give it a try, all together. The result is the beautiful concoction you see in the picture there. A pale green, leafy elixir, with a small dollop of local honey. It occurred to me that this was a totally local beverage, since the water we get is from the North Saskatchewan river. Just before my first taste, I hesitated a bit, thinking "These are some leaves I pulled off some weeds in my yard, do I really want to drink this?" I did, and the first taste convinced me that good herbal 'loose leaf' tea is available right in my own back yard!

My second water story isn't quite as nice. As I was on my way to work today I saw a huge vacuum truck parked on the side of the gravel road, with what looked like a big hose leading into the wetland area there. I pulled over and talked to the man beside the truck who confirmed that he was sucking water out of the pond at the instructions of "the County" for use at a nearby construction site. I said, nicely I think, that this is a wetland, a duck habitat, and that you can't just drain water out of it. A small duck was swimming towards us as I was talking. The man replied that I'd have to "talk to the County." I said I would be doing that, and he went back to his hose. I got in my car and drove to work, fuming. I needed some yarrow bergamot sage tea right then.

I have written to the County about proposed housing developments around here and they assured me there weren't any under consideration at the present time. When I get home I will check the name of the contact person on that letter and give them a call. I may call Ducks Unlimited and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society as well. I thought wetland areas were automatically protected, and now it looks like that just isn't so. It makes me sad.

July 30 2008 Update: Last night I retrieved the letter I got from the County and have just now on my lunch hour called them to talk about my concerns. Of course the contact person referenced in the letter was gone until after the long weekend, and the Mayor, who's signature was on the letter, was gone too. I was able to leave a message with someone the the admin assistant said was the "Planning and Development Manager" so we will see if he calls me back. I managed to speak quickly enough to get in both concerns (land development, pond draining) before the answering machine cut me off....


::::wifemothermaniac:::: said...

Oh that tea sounds delicious! I'm a big fan of this blog and she's inspired me so much becuase many of the herbs and plants that she writes about are in my own backyard. I've been making peach tree leaf tea lately which has a mild nerve calming effect, which is great since my tree doesn't make any peaches so seemed useless until I started making tea out of it :)

Insane, how we waste water in such ridiculous ways. They do that here too, and we live on a small island surrounded by abundant ocean water, why bother taking it from the smaller ponds? Ugh.

Theresa said...

wmm- thanks so much for that link! There looks to be a wealth of information and wisdom in there.

I think the vacuum truck man thought I was a bit kooky for even saying anything about it - he looked fairly perplexed when I was talking with him. Who knows, maybe he'll get to thinking about it and his perspective will shift a little. I hope so, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Wow - I have both the bee balm and yarrow in my yard and I didn't realize that I could make tea from them - or that they were at all consumable. I guess I just assume that if a plant is for "looking" it isn't for "eating." Thanks for the wonderful information. I know what I will be sipping on tonight.

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

How cool to be able to make a relaxing cup of tea from herbs in your yard. I do believe bergamot is what is used to give Earl Grey tea it's flavor, I think it's just black tea and bergamot.

That is really upsetting about that wetland area being sucked dry. Did you ever contact "the county" to see what they had to say about it? Good idea contacting those other organizations, you really would think these would be clearly protected areas!

kale for sale said...

Theresa, you're awesome. I love that you stopped the car, got out and had a conversation with the guy. That my dear, is unpredictable! You go girl.

Simply Authentic said...

That makes me sad about the pond as well. Hopefully you were able to contact "the County," although based on how you've made your local government sound...who knows that they will really change much. I think contacting the local organizations to help raise support on it is a great idea though!

Theresa said...

Artby - I've since found out that bee balm and bergamot aren't the same thing - I'm not sure which one you have, but I have bergamot, the flower of which is a light purple color. Bee balm might work too though - apparently both are members of the mint family. I had another cup again last night - very tasty!

Jennifer - I found out that the bergamot flower is used as a substitute for the bergamot type of orange which is actually used in the Earl Grey tea. It tastes different than that, but still very good! I did contact the county - see the update in the blog entry itself - but have just checked the websites of the other two places so far. I'll give the County a day or two to get back to me before I call Ducks Unlimited or CPAWS.

Hee! Thanks Kale - I kind of suprised myself actually!

Thanks SA - I will definitely be following up on these matters. I've decided that water issues are what I want to focus on in terms of any activism I do - I can't do everything so I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't get any more basic than water, so I will direct my energies there.