Bay Reflections

 Vol. 10, No. 34

August 22-28, 2002

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Drought’s Silver Lining
by Allen Delaney

If you hadn’t noticed, Southern Maryland is suffering from a nasty drought. Fields of corn are drooping faster than the stock market during a presidential speech. But there are some advantages to a drought, such as not having to mow the crunchy brown stuff that used to be your lawn.

Usually, by this time of year, the once well-sharpened blades on my riding mower would be duller than a baseball bat. I’d be under the summer sun, sitting on my mower beating the grass into submission — only to have to repeat the three-hour process the following weekend. Now, thanks to the drought, not only am I saving a good part of my Saturday by not having to mow the lawn, I’m also saving money on gas, sun block and blade sharpening.

I’ve been using those extra hours to accomplish more around the house such as sleeping late, watching sports and sampling all 57 varieties of snack chips currently on the market. The painting can wait until winter.

Thanks to the lack of rain, my garden curled up and died several weeks ago. This has lead to increased pleasantries between my neighbors and myself since they no longer have to hide in their basements when I come to visit. In past summers, I was always willing to drop off a bumper crop (as if there’s any other kind) of zucchini, usually with the aid of a front-end loader. Now, since my garden has shriveled up and blown away, my neighbors seem much more receptive to my visits, especially since I’m not arriving on heavy equipment.

Another positive outcome from the current dry-spell is that we are more aware of water conservation. Nowhere is this manifested more than in my refrigerator, which is presently holding vast cans of water substitute more commonly known as beer. I will personally do my utmost to preserve Southern Maryland’s drinking water by importing Milwaukee’s water, even if it has been slightly altered.

Whenever my wife asks, “Are you having another beer?” I answer that I’m simply conserving water. And I enjoy conserving water. However, I assure you that I always recycle. I even recycle the cans.

Besides the usual ways to conserve water, such as running the washing machine or dishwasher only when they’re full and not washing the car, (another great timesaver), there are other off-beat, if not downright fun, methods of water conservation. Since most everyone in Southern Maryland has a two-piece crab steamer, place the bottom part of the steamer in the sink while doing dishes. When finished, toss the wastewater on whatever plant looks the thirstiest.

Keep a bucket in the shower. When you’re clean, take the excess water and throw it on the next plant that needs a drink. Or, if you’re truly dedicated as I am, tell your spouse that she (or he) can do their part by sharing their shower with you.

Of course some showers take longer than others, so I don’t know if this would be conserving water or not, but it’s worth a shot. Just don’t trip over the bucket.

Copyright 2002
Bay Weekly