The What Is This Garden That You Speak Of? Report for 5/30/19

 

variety of vegetables
Photo by Ella Olsson on Pexels.com

If all unfolds as it looks like it’s going to this evening and possibly tomorrow, May 2019 will be the rainiest one on record in these parts. The raised bed is a mud pit. As well as having to wait for it to dry out, I have to take out the top two inches of soil due to the rogue mesclun mix that took over and threatens to do so again this year. After that, I need to replace it with more soil and some fertilizer (organic, of course). And then I can plant.

I grow more than a bit impatient to do so. I know that I’m not the only one. Last night one of the local newscasts interviewed a farmer located about fifteen miles west of me. I think Oakley and I have driven past his fields on our adventures. The farmer said that he has as much as two feet of standing water in some places. If the crops can be planted by June 10, things will work out OK. Yield will be somewhat impacted, but  they will be all right. If not, well, that’s a problem.

I’m just grateful that we are not that dependent on my paltry gardening skills to put food on the table and that I don’t depend on the weather for my livelihood. Nevertheless, it’s starting to grate on the nerves. The daily soundtrack this month has included thunder and the patter of rain against the window as well as the rattle of hail. A couple of weeks ago the call of the tornado sirens livened things up. I wasn’t expecting that, at least not at 11:30 AM. No damage, but I don’t remember sirens going off that early in the day. Ever.

We didn’t have sirens on Memorial Day, but we did have a microburst on the north side of town. That’s a good five miles from me. Some trees parted company with the ground and one of the big box hardware stores lost a significant chunk of the roof, but everything was still standing.

So we wait. The seven-day forecast during the noon news indicated a drier stretch of about three days next week. Maybe then…maybe then….

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Storm Report for 3/3/17

March came in with rain and falling temperatures. February pitched a hissy fit as she left.

Oakley had spent the afternoon at day care flirting with his girlfriend Jazz and singing with his friend Willy. After I’d picked him up and brought him home for dinner, I had a strong gut feeling that I should check the weather on TV. A good thing I did. All kinds of red and yellow blobs covered the screen.

I made my dinner, too, then settled in to watch the storm coverage. During the course of the evening, one of the twisters headed east along the I-80 corridor to Morris. That’s a 20 minute drive from my house.  The track of the twister ran about ten miles south of me, so despite the admonishments from the siren, we stayed on the sofa, watching, listening.

The lights didn’t even flicker. No sounds of breaking glass or crunching metal. Just steady rain.

We stayed with the storm coverage except for a break to watch a mystery on one of the PBS substation instead of the happenings in Washington, DC that night. A wise choice. The TV is new to us, and I likely would have done had things to it had I watched the events in DC.

Oakley and I stayed up as long as we could, trying to ride out the rain so we could make the final potty run in relative comfort, trying to see what was happening to the south and southwest of us. At bed time, we knew that the the town of Naplate (just outside of Ottawa) had received a kicking.

When we went to Starved Rock or Buffalo Rock State Parks, we would drive back through Naplate. They had, and please, Mystery, may they still have a main street divided by parkways. Each one hosted gardens, benches, and sculptures, including a Greco-Roman temple at the east end. Between those and the mid-19th century architecture of the homes, anyone passing through had a taste of life in the Civil War era.

Yes, I choked up a little. For the people of the town, and for the loss of that street. The cherry on the icing of good hikes at the parks was the drive through town.

However, the good outweighed the bad. There were two passages caused by a tree falling on a couple of men, sadly. The good news was that all the residents of the county nursing home survived, even though its structure was heavily damaged.

Cleanup started. The new normal will be implemented in due course, I don’t doubt that.

The questions that I have concern global warming, climate changes, and the biggest one: was this an omen? Was this an energetic cleaning and clearing?

We will just have to wait for the answers.

 

 

 

A Certain Slant of Light

Oakley and I walked in the thick morning air today. I don’t think we’ll be back out except for running sanitary errands. It was still a good walk. We sat by the river for a while. He kept watch, guarding me from squirrels and chipmunks  while I meditated. Shafts of light flowed through the leaves, and light mist rose skyward through them.

The morning light holds a rose-gold color. In the evening, just at dusk, the deep gold light pours across the grass in the field behind the house. The earth and the sun have changed their relative angles to one another as they dance through the wheel of the year.

In spite of the levels of heat and humidity usually left behind in July, the signs and signals indicating autumn’s impending arrival unfold. There’s the light, of course. A handful of leaves experiment with red and yellow edging; a few have even made the leap and lie on their backs on the ground, staring up at the shortening rays of the sun.

Despite the discomfort, I’m having urges to bake, to freeze, to follow the lead of the squirrels and begin to put food away for the winter. No, not at 90. Maybe I’ll play in the kitchen next week when temperatures are slated to return to a reasonable level, but not today. It’s a good day for a lot of iced tea, but for soup and stew and having the oven on, not so much. The air conditioner has enough to contend with without the oven.

This weather, the yuck and the stick and the sweat, this will pass. I find comfort in knowing that it will not last forever. The slant of the light as it gilds the field is welcome to stay as long as it wants.

The Attack of the Perfect Woman

She dwells inside of us all, observing, judging, censuring. She thrives on making us miserable. 

She is the Perfect Woman. You know, that part of your psyche formed by the mean teacher, a critical relative, or exposure to Martha Stewart at a young age. She turns the other parts of your personality against each other, driving you into the chocolate or absenthe. That one.

The bee-yatch reared her head today while I researched an article on climate change for the newsletter. I took a quiz to determine the size of my carbon footprint. The results were not what I expected. I already use cloth bags, group errands together, put in state of the art toilets and lights and 2×6 framing to accommodate extra insulation when we built this house 15 years ago. I shop in bulk, buy locally when possible, eat about 80% vegetarian, and maybe buy clothes once or twice a year. Hubby does an impeccable job of maintaining my car, too. 

But nooo….that wasn’t good enough. According to this quiz, I should be walking more or taking public transportation (neat trick when one lives two miles out of town off a road mistaken for a drag strip and have no access to public transit, except for the mini-bus service geared towards senior and people with disabilities); composting (nice thought, but we get enough critters in the yard without enticement); and buying a lot more locally grown food (nice thought, but there are three confirmed dislikers of kale, one of the few things that can grow in Illinois in winter, and I’ve never been able to find locally grown citrus).

And then the litany of failure in the Perfect Woman’s eyes began. What kind of environmentalist are you? Oh, you preach a good sermon, but see all these counterproductive things that you do?

I took a second look at the scores while she tried to shred my self esteem. Except for the necessity of driving and the lack of gardening, I still ranked above average, even though the website conspired with Perfect Woman to shred my confidence to ribbons. I quietly told her to STFU and took Oakley to the forest preserve. 

 

Random Post-Storm Monday Thoughts

This morning is celebrated with grace and gratitude. The worst of the storms that hit Illinois passed to the south and west of us. We just had a lot of wind and moderately heavy downpours. No damage, just a 30-second power outage. 

Today has intermittent clouds and sun, and the wind has downgraded to a roar from the sustained banshee wail that ripped across the sky for the better part of yesterday. The post storm tasks begin.

Pulling focus on the immediate concerns of clean up and housing for people who have been displaced are the first priorities. If you can help with either, that’s great. If you can’t, the best thing that you can donate is cash. That enables the NFPs handling rescue and recovery efforts to purchase exactly what they need for their efforts. Some years ago when the tsunami hit Thailand, one of the field offices for a relief organization received a box. When they opened it, they found several down-filled jackets. The donors meant well, even if they were a little off about the weather in Bangkok. 

We also need to widen our focus and look at what climate change is doing to the planet. The tasks before us include educating ourselves and others about climate change; implementing small changes in our lives to help in efforts to put the brakes on it; and letting the elected officials know our feelings about environmental legislation. 

I don’t have enough of a grounding in science to know if we’ve passed the tipping point. The best we can do is hope we haven’t and take the actions that we can.