Busybusybusy…and sick.

So classes have been keeping me extremely busy, on top of all the illness floating around this house.  Elan started preschool in mid-March the same week Mark started a new job with the Roanoke Parks and Recreation Department.  The first week  Elan brought home a minor cold, no big deal.  Then they were closed for Passover but he went on that Thursday, and brought home a MONSTER sleep-preventing cold that lasted the whole next week.  He kept us up for many nights in a row until the point of being unbearable.  Preschool was closed anyway for spring break so it was just as well, but as he improved, the adults started to come down with it.  I’d MUCH rather us be sick than he (we handle it much better!) but this cold is still here.

Elan returned to preschool the following week only to pick up a stomach bug after just one day’s exposure, and subsequently missed the second day.

!

And now here we are.  Hoping for HEALTH for awhile.

Meanwhile, back during his first week, as I returned home I spotted a pair of wood ducks on the pond.  Unfortunately the car scared them off.  The next week it was a pair of Mallard ducks, and this morning, a pair of green heron, also scared off by the car.  Richard’s idea of moving the driveway is sounding better and better!  We also have a blue heron who comes around occasionally.

The spring peepers were out in FORCE a couple weeks ago.    Next to the wetland conservation area the sound rattled one’s ear drums.  It was incredible.  Lately the  Gray Treefrogs have been calling as well.  You can listen to these guys at http://www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com/amphibians/frogsandtoads/frogs_and_toads_of_virginia.htm

We hear lots of red-winged blackbirds amongst the other song birds, including a Carolina Wren who had to be deterred from building a nest in the sun room.

The green is exploding all over the place and I have been able to identify most of the trees around the house, of which there are a nice variety.  You’d never know that a couple weeks ago it was snowing.

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free-rangers

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Pom and Sarah, still best-buddies.

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Creeping Jenny

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Quince

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Pieris japonica

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Apple blossom

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I know, it’s been awhile.

 

First, we discovered that the Bedford County Department of Environmental Quality has approved the use of sludge a.k.a. “biosolids” on over 13,000 acres of land including 33 acres next door, UPWIND (most of the time) and UPSTREAM from us.  Joy.  Sludge is the byproduct of municipal water treatment plants.  It is processed to be “safe” by EPA standards  (yeah, right!  see http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Portal:Toxic_Sludge) but has tested positive by our own United States Geological Survey for pharmaceuticals, endocrine disruptors, detergents, fire retardants, heavy metals, steriods, disinfectants, and a bunch of other nasty stuff.  http://toxics.usgs.gov/highlights/biosolids.html

Sigh.

So we attended a meeting in mid-March where no one was permitted to speak, but a few officials were available for questioning.  It was pretty pointless except that we got to meet a few like-minded people, and ran into a few we already knew who were there to pick up their permits.  Based on comments these people are motivated by either 1. a seriously misguided intent to steward the land, thinking that using sludge is recycling   (it is) but completely unaware of it’s implications, or 2. using it to save money.

There’s more to life than saving money.

A local activist recommended we pick up and leave town for a couple weeks when it’s put down to avoid getting sick, as so many have.  I have yet to contact our neighbor to see if we can get a head’s up on that, but I haven’t yet.

Since then I have discovered the amazing world of bioremediation.

bioremediation

Specifically, phytoremediation.  Greek for plant, Latin for, restoring balance.   Certain plants take in or accumulate certain toxins, especially heavy metals.   Sunflowers take up arsenic.  Willows take up cadmium.  Poplar, Ragweed, Indian Mustard take up lead.

And since it was made clear to me in biodynamic bee-keeping class, the bees can’t be left to their own devices.  One has to be sure they have enough forage.  There are many possibilities.  But I’m thinking we have A LOT of sowing and planting in our future.