Tag Archives: watershed

to-do list undone

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My first disappointment today: the siding I was to paint for the Berkeley Springs house – the non-construction kind of thing I can do — had not been delivered.

My second disappointment, leaking over from yesterday, when I found out that no DC bookstore has the Edna O’Brien book needed for my book group meeting next weekend. I cross fingers that it’s at the Berkeley Springs library, but find it closed on Thursdays…

My dinner is corn and tomatoes from the farmers’ market stop, the third event of the day here and the first successful one, after the two failures mentioned above. Some tomatoes I immediately sliced to oven-dry them, in this oven here, a fancy convection one with hot air circulation, as opposed to the one at home with heat only, and that from light bulbs, applied quickly, the opposite of what you want to desiccate food. The tomatoes have been in there on very low heat and circulating air for a few hours and I think they look good. This too was on my project list for the weekend. Perhaps successful.

The fourth event was finally connecting with the Warm Springs Watershed Society, eight people who met to battle – real combat, my first time ever using herbicide – in the attempt to eradicate the beautiful but unwelcome purple loosestrife, which actually thrives without strife in wet zones here. It was fun. We split up in teams, gloved and armed with sprayers, seeking and spritzing the offender when we spotted it. And we did come upon some of it, not a lot, but individual plants here and there. Very satisfying. I liked all the people doing this. We were all about the same age, probably mostly just-retired, people who get excited about nature; one who confessed to being a birder, for example. A couple I had met before, but the others were new. I hope they will be new friends up here.

The sun is setting now as I sit on the new porch, though sunset may not be the proper astrological term for when the sun just goes out of view behind a landform, here an Appalachian ridge, not the true horizon, as in Boulder, coincidentally. I’ll try to look that up.

The near neighbors Melvin and Marion are away. I remember that they go to the beach in South Carolina each summer. Good for them, though in the short time we have known them, and even then, only on infrequent and irregular weekends, I can see them aging and physically slowing down. I’ll miss seeing them, but feel comfortable sitting on the porch with the music a bit loud, as it cannot bother them.

So a nice evening after all. We don’t have wi-fi here at the house anymore, so I have come to the lovely dinner spot, Tari’s,  for a dessert and to send some mail or post to a site. All that’s missing is a Scrabble partner. . .

For swimmable, drinkable, breathable. . .

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I admit that I’m not as intrepid as I’d like to be. But a whole lot of friends put out some money, so I pledged to put as much of my body as possible into the Potomac River Saturday morning at 10:30 am.

The cause for the leap is to raise money for a sound organization working on climate change and the environment specifically here in my watershed – CCAN, Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

The forecast for that hour was 23 deg., 23 mph wind and snow showers, and those numbers represented a warm-up from the night before. Yikes. How do you train for that? I had been outside in Washington, DC’s subfreezing weather as much as possible, verified the fiber content of my long underwear for after emerging, and come up with a mantra/chant that essentially expresses my happiness about being a mammal at this time. I had decided to call the Channel 7 weather department to verify precisely what the water temperature would be (seeing the water fowl walking across the river’s surface should have been a clue, had I wanted to accept it) and Doug Hill himself, local on-air celebrity, called me back.  He said he also had made a “polar bear plunge” a few years ago, at Sandy Point, and it was the worst experience of his life.  But said I would be fine!  He said, “Your systems will shut down enough to direct all the blood to your heart, lungs and brain!”

Despite those best wishes, I had a moment of doubt.  There’s a little rush of panic you feel just at that start of a marathon, contemplating whether you have the stamina for the what will be the next  4+ hours, and you do; this would be only a 15-minute thing, but possibly more physically taxing. And with all these people are watching; I had to go in.

So we – William volunteered too – waded in to the gap of open water created by men in wetsuits just an hour earlier, and splashed around a bit, up to the neck in my case, all the way in for William. We didn’t stay long, and the only short-term damage was some frozen toes from the total time waiting for and then taking the dip, wearing Tevas, which I had thought would be the ideal dive-and-dash footwear, so don’t ever do that.

A hot shower, some food, a nap, and we feel restored.  CCAN is a thousand dollars richer — thank you generous friends and supporters — and I have bolstered my intrepid credentials a little.