Thursday, July 5, 2012
That's Usin' Your Noodle! -- posted by Momma
Here are some pictures of our watermeal farm. It's not an intentional farm, mind you. Watermeal is an invasive pond weed like duckweed (but worse) that can take over the surface of a pond and wreak havoc with the ecosystem. We had it last year and maybe the year before, but this year it reached epic proportions (a couple of inches thick) and I began to dread a fish kill.
About mid-spring it starts to cover the surface of the pond making it look like a golf course through summer and then dies back in the fall. I didn't pay it too much attention, other than complain about the eyesore of it all, as I was preoccupied with the rest of life. (Have y'all noticed that for a family always venturing into new projects, we can't manage to do two things at one time? In fact, we can't even blog and live life at the same time, lol!)
Anyway, I had googled up and found out that the herbicidal chemicals we're not even sure we want to use are thousands of dollars and there's no guarantee they will eradicate the problem the first year! Needless to say with Bill's car and our air conditioner going kaput, that's not gonna happen just yet unless the Lord orders it. You know, the best part about being free from care is actually casting it all on the Lord and, well... not caring! I wish I'd had this freedom years ago when I wasted all that time on pride of life. Style and image were soooo important, lol. At the time I would have denied it if anyone asked me if I loved money, since I wasn't really a big spender, but I sure did care about our family's status, haha! Nevermore. Not me, sister, free at last!
So, while we get educated (there's a lot of misinformation out there) and decide which direction we should go (chemicals, beneficial bacteria, tilapia, etc.), we decided to scoop it off in the meantime. I know it sounds like a Mike Rowe dirty job, and I guess it is, but we like being outside and we've made it fun. Actually, it didn't become fun until I quit criticizing them for being boneheads before they found their groove in booming it, but since then, I've enjoyed laughing at their jokes, work stories, and listening to them perform numbers from Les Miz and Fiddler on the Roof! Besides, I love being on the pond. I love the James Earl Jones granddaddy bull frogs and the papery dragonflies and the sunbathing turtles soaking it up on logs. And those splashy fish startling us by nearly jumping in the boat as if to thank us for our efforts... and the oxygen. I love the breeze and how it ripples the water. And I love how the harmony of the crickets and toads lull me to sleep in the evenings. I just love our ugly, dirty old pond with all it's music and activity, just like the "Kiss the Girl" scene from The Little Mermaid (although technically that was a lagoon, I think), and I especially love how the kids have grown up like Tom Sawyers and Huck Finns. Even Sarah would dangle her bare feet from a tree over the pond as she made her way through the Great Books.
You can see in the pictures the boom we made with 30 pool noodles from Dollar Tree. We go out in the flat bottom boat, make a circle dragging the long string of noodles behind us, and then catch the tail of the boom. Whoever is in the back of the boat, the paddler, takes the end noodles, one in each hand, and slowly pulls the watermeal toward the boat. It gets thick and wrinkly and we scoop it up with screens and pool skimmers. Then we plop it in the boat until we are on the verge of sinking, go ashore, fill the wheelbarrow, and tote it all to the compost pile. It's a beautiful system.
Unfortunately our watermeal has a seemingly supernatural growth rate. In fact, the neon green color that doesn't show up in the pictures (mommy memo: after car and air conditioner buy the child a big-girl lens for her camera) gives it an otherworldly glow reminding me of Marie Curie's pocketful of radioactive isotopes. Seriously. And even though there's still a film on the surface of the pond, it's thin enough for light to penetrate it, which is the most important thing.
Wow, while I was writing this they finished fixing the air conditioner! We didn't suffer too much even on those 107 degree days (we have fans and the unit worked at times). We like to keep the windows open anyway and we hadn't even turned on the air conditioner but for a few times before it quit working, so we are as acclimated to the heat as I suppose we can be while living on the screen door to hell. It's not just high temps here but also the outrageous humidity. Since we're outside a lot tending the garden anyway, we're learning to do things like eat lots of watermelon and drink cucumber lemonade (oh yeah, delicious new recipe), which helps hydrate and keep us cool. So all in all it was no biggie.
Oh, I forgot to say Happy Independence Day yesterday. I don't know why. I was here babysitting Margot while the rest of the family made the traditional pilgrimage to the Peach Festival to eat peach ice cream, listen to the bands, and watch the fireworks show. Margot had surgery about a week ago due to an abscessed puncture wound that had to be scraped and cleaned and stitched up. I don't actually buy that it was a puncture wound to begin with, but whatever, I kept her company and watched documentaries on Netflix. Bill, evidently feeling sorry for me, swung by Food Lion before work this morning and brought home some Breyer's peach ice cream. It's just not the 4th without it... maybe that's why I forgot about it until now. Besides, we don't much feel like The Land of the Free anymore... but that's a whole nother post.