Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Brown Tap Water Today

Brown tap water has always been a turn off for me, as I am certain that it is for most other people.

We had a slight rainfall this morning which seemed to have resulted in brown tap water in our home around lunch time.  It has been such an usually dry Spring season with our area having received less than 1/3 of our usual rainfall amounts.  Everything is dry in Ontario.  Forest Fires have been raging, lawns have a burnt look and the dust has been flying with even the slightest gust of wind.

Growing up, we lived in a small town located in a valley.  Every Spring, we would have brown tap water, some days worse than others - we called it "Farm Run-Off".  I remember how my Mother used to panic because she couldn't use the household water.  This always amazed me because we encountered the same situation every year yet she was never prepared - even though we all knew that it was inevitable.

Today, I immediately called some of my neighbours and advised them that they may potentially experience brown tap water.  We weren't sure if it was due to "run-off" from the rain or perhaps a broken pipe.  I then ran downstairs to my cold room and grabbed a bottle of water from our storage supply. 

Interestingly enough, we were prepared and didn't panic.  Most families do not have a back up water supply and would be rendered helpless in a situation like we experienced today.  Likely, they would run to the local grocery store and spend their hard earned dollars on bottled water to get them through this "mini crisis".  Well, what happened if our entire neighbourhood was unable to use tap water?  The local grocery store would run out of stock very quickly and then what?  Something to think about for sure...

Here is a simple guideline that we follow regarding Nature's Most Valuable Resource:

Firstly, as a family, we have learned that it is important to keep a backup supply of water for unexpected situations.  Our general rule is 1 litre (1000 ml) per person for 30 days = 30 litres.  If you have a family of 4, then you would require 120 litres.  This is the absolute minimum amount that we use as we need to ensure that we have the storage space.  If you have more space, then store as much water as you can.  For us, this water is designated for drinking and cooking. 

Secondly, we always save our bath and laundry water so we always have grey water readily available for flushing toilets.

Thirdly, we stop using our 45 gallon rain barrels once they get down to 1/3 full.  This provides us with a security net of water that we can use for washing/bathing should our tap water fail. 

If you are "saving water" it is important to ensure that you are using food grade plastic, stainless steel or glass containers.  Your water storage supply should be replaced every 90 days to ensure proper hygienic and sanitary conditions. 
***In the case of disaster, you need to be prepared for the fact that it can take up to 2 weeks before you and your family might have access to clean drinking water!

Curbside Find - Terracotta Trio

I was excited about this find and just in time for our Spring Planting.  I found a set of 3 Terracotta Pots with a peeling paint job right in our own neighbourhood.  It didn't matter because the pots themselves were free of any cracks or chips.  I haven't even repainted them as I found them to be rustic looking.  They have found a new home on our back deck and I planted my favourite Lavender seeds in them.  Perfect just the way they are!

Monday, 7 May 2012

Foraging Garlic Mustard

One of my wonderful neighbours brought me a salad last week.  It contained Garlic Mustard, Dandelion Greens, Cherry Tomatoes and Apple Slices.  It was a beautiful salad complimented with an outstanding dressing of Rice Vinegar and Udo Oil (http://udoerasmus.com/products/oil_blend_en.htm).  Gorgeous, Healthy and Reviving are words that come to mind when describing this salad and wonderful act of kindness from my neighbour.

I was interested in hearing further about the Garlic Mustard Plant.  This plant was first used as a culinary herb dating back to the year 1868.  It has a wonderfully pleasant garlic taste which becomes apparent approximately 5 - 10 seconds after first munching on the leaves.  It is a very invasive plant and has been outlawed in some states in the U.S.  It's supposed to have a slightly bitter taste, but we love it so much we don't even notice! 

Just 2 weeks ago, I was weeding and did not realize that I was removing copious amounts of Garlic Mustard from a corner of our backyard.  I could not believe that what I thought was a weed was actually beneficial food for us!  This plant spreads quickly each year, however we have it on the opposite side of our garden in order to keep it under control.  Because of the underlying hint of garlic, it naturally repels insects and fungus.  It is very easy to recognize.  If you are not sure, just rub the leaves between your fingers and wait for that great garlic scent.

Garlic Mustard is high in Vitamin A and C.  It can be used on cuts and minor abrasions, the same way you would use regular garlic.

You can also use it to make a fantastic Garlic Pesto, or add to salads, stir fry's, soups, casseroles, omelets or wherever your heart desires!  We have started adding this to dishes where we would normally use garlic or onion for extra flavour and vitamins.

If you are a person who retains fluid easily (like myself!), Garlic Mustard contains diuretic properties which should minimize fluid retention naturally - without paying the cost of a prescription or having any undesirable side effects.

In my search, I have found a wonderful and easy recipe for Garlic Mustard Pesto:

3 packed cups of garlic mustard
½ to 1 cup walnuts (or other nut of your choice)
1 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 cup Parmesan cheese or Romano cheese, grated
Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Combine garlic mustard, garlic, and walnuts in a food processor.
  2. Slowly add olive oil until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Add cheese and process briefly.
  4. Taste and add salt or pepper if desired.
  5. Serve over pasta or spread on crackers or sandwiches.