(Me holding the canoe to the shore while Don climbs out to get the Loosestrife. Wearing "Crocs," my favorite canoe shoes.)
Alien invasion? No, we're not talking about little green men from mars, we're talking about Purple Loosestrife, an invasive exotic plant that was introduced into the U.S. in the early 1800's and has spread throughout the country. Yes, it's pretty and you may be admiring it as you drive around roads and see it in wet ditches and shorelines. But is spreads and takes over wetlands, outcompeting native vegetation which provides food and cover for ducks and other waterfowl, mammals and insects.
So on our canoe ride, when we spotted some growing on our cove and estuary we became the loosestrife patrol and sprang into action. We do NOT want it to spread and take over our lake, destroying its wetlands. We went over and climbed through the vegetation and either yanked it out, or pulled off the flowering stalks ( before they went to seed), of every clump we saw. We put it in the canoe and will carefully dispose of it in the trash, not in our compost pile where it could unleash its seeds.
We're lucky, because we're one step ahead of Purple Loosestrife in the water area we live on. Every one of the five years we've been here, we've removed what we have found. There are many things we cannot control in our lives. Yanking out the Loosestrife gives us a feeling of satisfaction and a small measure of control over something. Plus, the birds and animals will thank us for it.
All photos © Lillian Stokes, 2006