Ohio’s Liquid Gold

Lake Erie at Edgewater Park near downtown Cleveland

Lake Erie at Edgewater Park near downtown Cleveland

We’ve had a lot of rain in northeast Ohio this June. There has been some local flooding, puddles abound, mosquitoes are thriving,  and trails are wet. June brides must be moving indoors.
Outside our loft windows I see storms moving across Lake Erie. Sometimes they seem to hover there, deciding whether or not to come ashore. Other times dramatic winds push the trees east and just a spattering precedes a 15 minute downpour.
We’re getting plenty of rain. Lucky us.
Our western neighbors from the Mississippi River to California would gladly suffer our leaky roofs and fallen trees to have our rain. Except in Texas, many parts of the nation’s farm belt are dry. They are pumping water out of the aquifer. Satellite technology shows just how much water is gone from far below the surface.
Measures are being taken to reverse this. We saw them putting water back in near Tucson. Many states have noted a huge drop in domestic use of water due to both voluntary and enforced local bans.  Friends in California use brown water on their gardens and lawns, people are restricting car washing and watching for dripping faucets.

But the biggest user of water is agriculture. Now government in California is restricting their water usage. Of course, this will mean higher prices for all of us. It might become prohibitive to buy some foods from these drought stricken areas. The local farm movement is taking up some of the slack but I don’t think we’ll see Ohio strawberries in February. And we won’t see almond trees locally either.
The reality is that we are blessed with fresh water here in Ohio. We can have thriving local gardens and seasonal year round community grown food. Even our ice cream is locally sourced. We’re not going to starve. But we may have to change our diets and have less diversity in food choices. I like the root vegetables, but do I want them prepared 50 different ways? I would miss tomatoes in January and grapes in December.
But I need to get over it and realize that it is only recently that anyone has had the luxury of having bananas year round. And we’re paying for it both long and short term. We are now turning back to my grandmother’s time where much more of what we ate came from local farms and our own back yard.
In the meantime, friends out west, consider Ohio and other nearby states with big lakes and full rivers. We’d like to have you and your back yard gardens. We may not have great winters, but you can sit in a tub of water year round without any guilt.