Wild Food: Yarrow
We picked some yarrow flowers and leaves by the roadside, today. Not, of course, the healthiest location for procuring them, but at the moment it's the only patch we know about. Yarrow can be eaten (we ate the fluffy leaves heaped luxuriously on our roast beef, this evening), or made into tea. It's used in treatment of colds, cramps, fevers, inflammation, and for menstrual regulation, among other things. Since our family is experiencing most of the above at the moment, we thought it would be a good herb to harvest, today!
The children weren't as excited about it as they have been about past wild foods, but I think that may have had to do with the many different activities we had, today. Or perhaps it's because this is the first plant we've harvested that they weren't at all familiar with before going to get it, today. Maybe that means I'll have to prepare them for our next wild foods in the days before we go.
We took our collection of photos, letters, etchings, etc. to the Learning Centre to show to the older class, there. Both the kids and adults were very interested and appreciative. It brought out a couple of stories of the kids' own special family keepsakes, etc. It was nice to see a group show such genuine interest.
Post Office Math, and Missing People
Well yesterday the children's 2 best friends' mother decided to take them away for a week. It's a much needed "vacation" for them to spend the week (and their mother's 40th birthday!) in Studio City with their father, who will be shooting a film, there. Well... this news is never happy for Taliesin and Rhiannon. After I told them the news, (thinking: it's only a week!), Taliesin got right to work with paper, pens, scissors, and tape. An hour or so later he produced a beautiful cut-paper card with a tree on one side and a heart on the other.
"Mama, I need you to help me write 'Love (friend's name left out for privacy reasons), I don't like it that you had to go so soon, but I know you will come back. Love love.'" We discussed the uses of "dear", and "love from", etc. and Taliesin revised his intro and signature a little, but after another 1/2 hour or so the card was written.
Rhiannon had coincidentally just finished making her birthday invitations, and wanted to send one to her departing friend. So today we put the letter and card into envelopes and sent them off to California. I rather hope they make it there before the friends return in a week. :--)
Nevertheless, it was a wonderful lesson in printing, letter-writing, communication, geography, math (Taliesin counted the money 2ce for buying his stamp), and reaching tall mailboxes. A bit exhausting, so after that we retired for some good old social unrest:
Getting Nosed: Social Unrest, Island Style
Last week, our dear friend (and clown), Paul, was treated to some of BC Ferries' lunacy, as reported here, on our local forum. To summarize, he was not allowed passage, on the premise that it would take too long to scan his credit card, although more passengers were allowed through, behind him. He went on to the ferry anyway, bought a ticket at the snack bar, and brought it downstairs to show the first mate. The first mate asked him to stand and wait for a police officer, who was on his way. He waited. The police officer arrived, asked Paul to leave, and
when Paul refused to leave, kicked his feet out from under him, pushed him to the ground (where he was scratched and bruised, but because of his clown training not seriously injured), handcuffed him, and dragged him away by the scruff of his neck to the back of a police cruiser. Paul waited there, handcuffed, for one hour and 10 minutes, before being released, and charged with "assault by trespassing". Paul was told that he would not be allowed to return home until the last sailing of the night, but luckily was rescued and brought home by a fellow islander.
That's the story. It's documented in part on a cellphone video recording, and has multiple witnesses, including those passengers who were behind Paul in the line at the ticket booth. But the story is much bigger than this. BC Ferries customer service level is such that this story, though shocking, is not really surprising. Of course there are some wonderful employees with BCF. Really wonderful. People who bring their children to Bowen for our local festivals because they have become a part of our community. But the policies and behaviours that govern the ticketing system as well as the security, etc. in the ferry terminals are ridiculous. This sort of thing doesn't only happen on our island on a regular basis, but also on most other small runs. This, while the cost of riding a small run like ours far outweighs the cost of riding the larger ferries (time, distance, etc. considered). And the larger ferries get ever bigger, faster and better, more and more amenities, and more and more service -- on our dime.
Now don't get me wrong, since I'm ranting here I want to be clear: I do not want a bigger, better, faster ferry. I cringe and the patronizing ad-scheme at BC Ferries right now ("Super Awesome New Super C Ferry is coming!"). But it sure would be nice to have even a small amount of respect and customer service. If I could take my money anywhere else, I would, but BC Ferries' successfully blocked Translink's proposed commuter seabus from Bowen to Vancouver, fearing competition, before the trial runs even happened. They have us by the throats and they like to poke us. At least that's how it feels, some days.
So now you know the history; the action is as follows:
A red-nose campaign had been begun, where islanders can support Paul by buying a red foam nose for a toonie and wearing it while boarding the ferry. I am working on a poster-campaign to support this, and tomorrow the children and I will take a bunch of noses to town to sell to commuters as they board the ferries, coming home. All money raised in this will be deposited to the Paul Hooson Legal Defense Fund, set up at our local credit union.
We hope that, when Paul's court date comes up in November, islanders can appear en masse in red noses to support him. And it's not just about Paul. It's about our own dignity with the corporation that holds us by the throats. We can't take it through the nose from them anymore, and it's time to stick up for ourselves. The children will be joining me because this is a good learning experience, but mostly because they love Paul, and don't like that somebody pushed him down on the ferry. In a way, it's that simple.