Family: Earth Day events inspire and encourage green thumbs

The very best thing about being a reporter is you get to learn a little bit about a lot of stuff.

The very worse thing is ‘you never really know very much.’

My latest sojourn down the road of knowledge which usually involves three steps forward and two back was covering the Earth Day activities in Rimbey.

It was exciting, challenging and, if I do say so myself, a bit overwhelming.

My daughter, the schoolteacher, was sitting beside me copiously copying information into her phone.

“Good idea,” I thought, looking at her sideways.

I scrambled through the empty wrappers, receipts and other absolutely useless stuff I keep in my purse to find my phone.

I couldn’t find it, of course, so I gathered what remained of my dignity about me and resorted to scribbling notes in my notebook. That’s what reporters do. That’s what I’ve done for years and it does work with limited success. The limited success comes later when I’m trying to figure out exactly what notes I have hastily scribbled down.

The whole experience of attending the Earth Day event was great, however, and I came home brimming with inspiration and ideas.

“I want a rain barrel,” I told my husband at supper that night.

“A rain barrel,” he repeated. “Why do you want a rain barrel?” You’ve never said you wanted a rain barrel before.”

“You’ve never asked,” I said, somewhat triumphantly. “The water is supposed to be good for washing your hair, I added, somewhat weakly. “That’s what they did in Victorian times, they used rainwater. That’s why the ladies had such lovely hair.”

The truth is I have never asked for a rain barrel before, but the very well educated horticulturalist and gardener who was the keynote speaker at the Earth Day event was adamant about rain barrels. And I’m sure she didn’t mean for the water to be used for vanity purposes such as washing your hair, but to water lawns and gardens and keep all growing things (with the exception of weeds, of course) flourishing and beautiful.

Another local gardener, whose down-to-earth advice and suggestions made a lot of sense to me said one cannot over estimate the importance of watering.

“Soaker hoses are the best way to go,” she said.

“And I need more soaker hoses,” I told my husband.

“You kind of forgot to use the ones you already have last year,” he chided gently.

“I know,” I signed, but with a rain barrel and a multitude of soaker hoses my gardens will be the talk of the town. People will stop on the sidewalk just to admire my handiwork. And I will tell them my secret is simply lots of soaker hoses and a rain barrel.

I stack the dishes in the dishwasher, smiling to myself at my fantasy.

With the trees beginning to lose their skeleton like shape as their buds begin to swell with promise and the air smelling fresh and clean like today’s laundry hanging on the line it easy to celebrate not only Earth Day, but the earth, itself.

It’s been a long, cold winter and for many of us, a discouraging one.

But, even with the soaring gas prices and cuts to education that see social workers and counsellor positions gone, there is always hope that things will, somehow, get better.

And, once again the season changes and the earth turns its face to the sun to give us longer days and a chance to plant, to grow and to hope.

And, of course, spring brings with it the opportunity to try out rain barrels and soaker hoses and hope for a little help from Mother Nature, as well.

After all, hope, no matter what the season, springs eternal!

Treena Mielke is the editor of the Rimbey Review. She lives in Sylvan Lake.

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