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Saturday, July 26, 2008

July at the County Fair

Hadn't realized how much time it's been since I posted here. So busy networking with Entrecard and BlogCatalog, no time to write. And now that I've separated into three blogs, I find I'm actually writing more on Hamida the Herbalist.

Thursday and Friday I volunteered with the Master Gardeners at the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa. We always have a demonstration garden and the theme this year was Making a Rain Garden. This includes using the rainwater that comes off your roof in the winter in a specially constructed garden. I found out that 10 inches of rain falling on a 1000 sq. ft. roof results in 6,000 gallons of water. Most homes in the U.S. are twice that size. All this water goes down the storm drains, through pipes and ends up either in lakes, rivers or the ocean. Moving over pavements and roads it picks up toxins such as oil, rubber, chemical fertilizers etc., which go with it to the body of water. The volume often causes flooding. The water is polluted and so when it floods, it carries the pollutants with it.

If we could catch and use the rain where it falls, it would both raise the local water table and help to naturally purify the water.

While the usual displays, games, rides, souvenirs and junk-food were in abundance, there were signs, even here that things are changing. The number of people who were interested in our demo garden was amazing. Many people wanted the plant lists for bringing beneficial critters into their gardens like hummingbirds, bees and butterflies.

And they had a small Green Pavilion featuring companies providing services such as solar power, alternatives to plastic, composting and energy saving appliances. And it was packed with people.

The Democratic Party exhibit had a bumper sticker for Obama that said: GOT HOPE?

There were cakes and jams being judged in the Home Arts Building; roses and flower arrangements in the Garden Building. There were sheep, goats, cattle and hogs being auctioned by a real auctioneer; children sheering their sheep hoping to win a prize. There was an area that smelled like hay and manure, and another of BBQ and popcorn. It all brought tears of joy to my eyes.