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THE WATERFALL
Enjoying Water ..... Not Wasting It

As you know, at friendsofwater.com we celebrate water in our lives.  This means a lot of things to us, and we suspect to you.  We enjoy using water in our recreation, gardening, cooking, and of course just drinking it.  But certainly one of the critical issues we're facing is the shortage of water.  Set aside quality for a minute - will we be able to get the water we want and need?  We need to grow awareness about our usage if we are to have any hope, and we need to save water and clean it as much as we can.

Supplies vary in different parts of the country, and the world.  And there are seasonal variations too.  Some years in some regions there is plenty, others not.  We live near the fabulous Columbia Gorge, which separates Oregon from Washington State.  Our water supply depends largely on the snowfall each winter in our nearby mountains.  In the 12 years we've been living here, we've seen some modest shortages and one quite serious flood.  Although it rains for many months, the summers are dry.

To us, celebrating water doesn't mean adopting a policy of never using it.  Rather we support its thoughtful use - in all kinds of ways.  We like to kayak and canoe for example.  That certainly leads one to appreciate water.  We like to go to the coast and be amazed at the expansive Pacific.  Heck, soaking in the tub is a delight.  We just luxuriated through an overnight getaway to a resort spa in the Columbia Gorge that  included a soak in hot spring water.  Oh man, that's livin'.

One of the ways water contributes to our lives is the plant and landscape beauty and the food that comes from gardening.  I started vegetable gardening in 1990 in Massachusetts in a community garden.  I would lose myself in that plot for hours.  Sometimes I'd suddenly realize it was dark - I'd have lost
track of time completely.  What a joy.  And the food that came out of the garden was a joy too.  There is nothing quite like a tomato you just picked from your own garden.  I tried to save water by creating raised beds and watering less frequently so the roots worked their way deeper into the soil.

Here in the Northwest the climate is much more temperate.   We don't get the extremes of cold or heat, at least in the valleys.  I can start planting earlier in the year.  Garlics have been growing since last fall, and are doing very well.  Some plants have wintered over, like broccoli and Corinne's favorite perennial arugula. 

Corinne is an amazing perennial gardener.  She knows all about hundreds of types of plants and she has a great design sense.  We've lived in several places and everywhere we go she creates the loveliest gardens.  Her gardens are planted so that something is blooming for many months of the year, so they are always looking great.  Everywhere we live we steadily replace grass lawns with gardens.

We truly do appreciate and celebrate water.  When you start thinking about it, it is amazing how many ways your life is impacted by water.  So in appreciation we try hard to be careful about how we use it.

Several years ago I found and bought some Noodlehead Sprinklers.  They really are the coolest little sprinklers I've ever used.  They are well-made and yet inexpensive.  But they do just what we all want a sprinkler to do.  They spray where you want - in the amounts you want.  They're easy to control and easy to adjust so you can save water in your garden and yard. 

The great design idea was to put 12 little tubes atop each sprinkler head, and 3 openings at the top of each of those tubes.  You can bend the tubes any way you want, and they stay where you put them.  You can easily adjust them
therefore to put water where you want in the amounts you want.  For example, you can spray heavily on one plant or in one direction, and spread the spray around a bigger area in the other direction.  They screw on to the end of a hose.  You can leave them in one place or move them around.  You can adjust them to fit areas of all shapes.  With normal water pressure, they will throw a spray 20 feet.

One of the net results is that you save water, and you stop wasting money on water.  No more water pooling on the sidewalk, running down your fence, or staining the side of your house.

We've arranged a special offer on these Noodleheads for our members.  If you are interested in learning more,
click on Noodleheads.


For some great recipes on how to cook those vegetables you're growing, visit www.savvyvegetarian.comYou'll also find a lot of information on green living and a list of helpful environmental resources.

Book Review

Bad Land: An American Romance by Jonathan Raban

This is an impressive work of social history and a fascinating read.  Raban tells the story of the homesteaders who picked up their lives and moved to east Montana early in the 1900s.  The book is filled with intimate detail of the lives of individuals and their families who tried to make a living on the land.  These stories fill in and round out the bigger picture of this ultimately failed social movement. 

Raban traveled extensively in the area over a two-year period, did a lot of research, and came to a deep understanding of how those pioneers lived.  He captures with painful clarity how these families were lured by the propaganda of the railroad and the government.  In fact, the homesteads were simply not liveable.  Only after so many had moved on and those few remaining were able to pick up multiple homesteads, could someone sustain themselves on the land.  In fact, the farms also became ranches, and the ranches also became farms.

In large part, this is the story of trying to farm without enough water.  Less than 15 inches of annual made for trouble.  In 1917, 11.96 inches of rain fell.  In 1918, 12.62 inches.  In 1919 11.24 inches.  In 1920, 12.83 inches.  Because each year's rain was insufficient, each year was worse than the last.   In 1921, 17.47 inches fell and the land began a slow recovery.  The book doesn't talk about them trying to save water in any way.  But by then the green fields were reverting to the "Great American Desert" they had been before the homesteaders came.  And the train that brought them in some years before carried them out again - with most people going further west.

In talking with a man who was young on one of the homesteads, and later moved further west with his family, Raban asked:  "How did you see the difference between [that] place and here?  Can you remember how it struck you, as a child?  Oh, but there was a world of difference - there was water!" was his response.

Raban is a very talented writer.  He consistently displays an ability to convey the feeling of place, emotions on a personal level, and a clear picture of an entire American social movement.  His writing is filled with vivid imagery and flows nicely.  This is a unique and highly readable book.

Bad Land is the Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, and was published by Vintage.

 

Water In The News

Antarctica Ice Sheets Melting

The ice sheets of Antarctica - the world's largest reservoir of fresh water - are shrinking faster than new snow can fall, scientists have reported in the first comprehensive survey of the continent.

At the same time, Africa's rivers face dramatic disruption that will leave a quarter of the continent severely short of water by the end of the century, a separate study has found.

Both studies were published in the journal Science.  The findings suggest that a century of steady increases in global temperatures has altered the seasonal balance of the world's water cycle.

Experts say increasing global temperatures - the 10 warmest years on record all occurred since 1990 - may be hastening the demise of the polar ice caps, and estimates of the pace of future sea-level rise could be too low. 
        from smh.com.au
       
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Boy Scouts Cancel Canoe Race

Low lake levels are impacting everything - boaters, boat dock owners, fishermen and now a 40-year tradition.

The Quapaw Area Council - Boy Scouts of America has canceled the 2006 White River Canoe Race due to low water conditions.  The race, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, usually occurs in July.

              from Baxter Bulletin
    
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Water Tips
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Spraying water out of your faucet forcefully will immediately disperse at least some of the gases that arrive in your tap water.  So if you are filling a water filter or a pan, turn it on high and use the 'spray' setting.  This will help you quickly clean water.

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Water In The News

Missing: One hot tub, full of water

Police were looking for a missing hot tub the owner says was filled with water when stolen from his backyard. 

A 20-year-old man told police he went out of the house at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and noticed that the hot tub was missing. He told police he last saw it about midnight the day before and that he had not seen or heard anything suspicious.

Police said there were no vehicle tracks and no sign that the water had been drained from the tub, which had not been found as of Tuesday morning. Electricity to the tub had been disconnected.

The tub - a four-person unit with a blue interior, 76 inches by 84 inches - was estimated to be worth $4,5000.

        from Associated Press
        from FortWayne.com
  

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