If this post appears a little disjointed let me apologize in advance. It’s been a long time since I last talked with you and a lot has happened; both at home and in my community. We had a flash flood in August that hit the neighborhoods along Free Nancy Creek pretty hard. It includes an area with doctors offices, the town’s high school, several parks and older homes. While the water was gone within a day the damage, especially to homes, will take much longer to repair. The city did not sustain a lot of damage and for that I’m grateful. But it should be a wake up call. We are not immune from flooding. And for those whose homes were destroyed it’s hard to hear people talk about the event like this wasn’t a big deal. For them it’s a very big deal.
At the house we had almost 10 inches of rain in 24 hours. The rain was accompanied by a good deal of wind and a rotten limb fell off a tree in what I affectionately call the back forty. It’s the lot next door where I have the vegetable garden and one of my compost piles. When it fell it crushed several privets, a locust, and my compost pile.
What a mess but I’m not complaining. That’s all the harm we sustained and I consider us to be very fortunate. I’ll clean it up later this fall. While there was a lot of overland flow our house sat high and dry; our property did not flood. What concerns me is that despite the flood it has been a very hot, dry summer. August was miserable and September hasn’t been any better. Temperatures hover in the mid 90’s (35 celsius) and coupled with the high humidity my ability to work outdoors is severely limited. The air is so wet I joke about growing gills and after an hour in the garden I have dishpan hands.
I neglected the garden this summer. I think I watered it once. I know… I’m horrible. So far this September we have had less than a tenth of an inch of rain. It’s hot and dry and I’m not watering. The moisture you see on the plants is dew. It’s often noon before the dew is off the plants. The garden would have been more productive if I had watered. But I didn’t and it’s still provided well for us.
Now I’ve noticed the days are getting shorter. Slowly I’m pulling out plants, adding them to the compost pile and getting the garden ready for winter. I’m planting a few beds with cold hardy plants like collards and kale. Hopefully I’m not getting to late a start but it’s just been to hot.
In addition to the flood an old hospital filled with asbestos was being demolished. The section they knocked down was filled with friable asbestos and now it was all over the site. An apartment complex sits right next door. The risk posed by the asbestos was being minimized by all parties (City, County, and State). It felt like the emphasis was on getting it out of the news and to make light of the situation by either ignoring it or making the citizens who cared look like idiots. It is only because of the determined and unrelenting efforts of the people living next to the site that the EPA finally stepped in.
The demolition debris was misted, dumped into trailers lined with plastic and wrapped to secure it before hauling off site. I can only wonder whose neighborhood hosts the dump it was sent to. One community rejoices in the removal of a hazard while another laments. The building, filled with asbestos, still stands. Cleanup will cost more than the land is worth. As a result it is highly likely that it will sit there for years a blight on this West End neighborhood. I wonder if this would be allowed in a wealthier community? I wonder how the powers that be would want this handled if they lived next door to the site?
There is much that happens in this world and in my own community that is beyond my control. To preserve my sanity I’ve limited how often I bang my head against the wall. On my next birthday I will be 60 years old. I feel that I can do more by living a life that leaves what I touch a little better than how I found it. Planting fruit trees, berries, flowering plants, a vegetable garden. It brings me peace and lets others see that it is possible to have a beautiful and productive garden without the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. .
I’ve also started making soap. I’m amazed at what is in the soap offered for sale in the big box stores. A little time spent researching soap on the internet and I’m able to make a soap that contains wholesome ingredients.
Organic extra virgin olive oil. organic extra virgin coconut oil, grape seed oil, 100% lye and distilled water. That’s it. And it looks great. My first batch used a box lined with a trash bag as a mold and made 5 lbs. I’ve gotten some smiles as it seems I’ve already made more soap than we use in a year.
I have a good life. Our home is an oasis providing shelter from the drama that surrounds us. I think the world would be a much better place if we would treat people as we wish to to be treated; if kindness and compassion were seen as strengths and not something to be exploited. If we understood that all people want to be loved, appreciated, to have the ability to provide for themselves and their families, to be treated with respect and afforded their dignity. If we understood this and acted on it the world would be a much better place. Rather than spread fear and hate we need to start spreading love. Most of the world’s problems could be solved if only we were willing to love our fellow man and the creatures with which we share the earth. All we truly need is love.
“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without
leaving happier.” Mother Teresa
“Try to understand men. If you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and almost always leads to love.”
― John Steinbeck