TIDAL LIFE | Waterfront Omnium-Gatherum: A miscellaneous collection accumulates and then is blown away

Toward the end of a year, the mind of a modern columnist tends to dream up lists. All those 100 best of articles will start coming out soon. Time to bow to the inevitable and work up a few such collections just in case.

Since beginning this column I’ve received an assortment of comments, kudos, suggestions, questions and critiques. Some have led to new column topics, some still need to be addressed and some just make me thump my head and go “D’oh!”

So I’ve got a few loose ends to tie up and some updates.

On roof cleaning: When I wrote about it I was really gung ho and managed to scrape the moss off most of my roof. This summer I planted and tended vegetables so I hardly looked up all summer. I’m really going to regret that next year when the roof will need double cleaning.

I will then try the suggestion by Nicole to sprinkle OxiClean on the newly cleaned roof to deter moss growth. According to the OxiClean Web site, the product is biodegradable, breaks down into oxygen and hydrogen and is therefore safe for the environment.

I have not spoken to a marine scientist about it. But the principle ingredient is hydrogen peroxide, which is a lot less harmful than anything containing chlorine bleach.

On window cleaning: Chris pointed out that while I wrote about using environmentally friendly cleaning products, I did not write about the option of using no products at all by switching from paper towels to microfiber cloths. Yes, technology has given us cleaning cloths that work with only water. This I have tried and I can attest that my windows come clean with water only. Unless the window has a 10-year accumulation of grime. This works — do it.

On noctiluca: Both in this column and on my blog, I’ve written about the orange plankton blooms that color Holmes Harbor every summer. On the blog, I described kayaking at night and finding the silver lining as it were in the glow of phosphorescence with each dip of my paddle.

That story prompted an e-mail from Shelly at the UW School of Oceanography who says “though it is the ‘sea sparkle’ species, I have it from local experts that it does not bioluminesce in the Pacific Northwest though we aren’t sure why.”

She asked if I had evidence that it was noctiluca that caused the light. Well no, I simply assumed the light was due to the presence of the bloom. I’d sure like them to come out and study it.

On boating: I got a sense of accomplishment, mixed with red-faced chagrin, when I received an e-mail from Kaia-Lisa asking me for a phone number for a kayak rental company. The link in my column went somewhere else entirely. Sorry about that!

There were many other suggestions and questions over the year, but I can’t remember them now, the wind has been fierce out of the south and worries crowd my mind.

First concern is Nameless, my son’s little sailboat. So far she’s ridden out the storms, but when the stronger gusts hit all I can do is stare out into the darkness and hope.

Then there’s the tree.

I love trees. In my sappy heart of hearts I never want anyone to cut down a tree ever again. They clean our air, shield slopes from torrential rains, soak up excess runoff, and hold the soil of our bluffs in place. Even dead snags are homes for birds and other creatures. Trees are immensely valuable in all their life cycles. So I’m really conflicted over the tree.

Our house sits in a grove of cedars and madrones. Along the south property line and on the neighbor’s property is a cluster of firs. One of the neighbor’s trees has developed a crack about half way up that is weeping sap. I’ve been wondering about the health of that tree for a while.

When the south wind blows, wondering changes to worry. If that tree breaks during a storm the top is coming toward our house. There are nights when

I don’t want to go up to bed to lie in the potential path of a ton of water-impregnated cellulose.

I know I should ask the neighbor to have the tree checked by an arborist. But my green self knows that by doing so I’ll sign the tree’s death warrant. No one will want to take the risk of leaving the tree in place once I’ve questioned it.

I could really use some help deciding what to do. Anyone got suggestions or comments on this touchy subject?

For more information: Forests and Water Quality seminar, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1 at Freeland Hall. Presented by Ken Drecksel, Whidbey Island Conservation District.

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