With all the rain we’ve had over the past three weeks, you’d think my house would be squeaky clean.
Alas, not so much.
With all the rain we’ve had over the past three weeks, you’d think my house would be squeaky clean.
Alas, not so much.
Much of the southeast U.S. is under threat of what could be some really nasty weather this afternoon and tonight. As the storm clouds gather, here’s a somewhat lighthearted look at what we do to brace for them.
1. Tidy your house and porch if it needs it. You don’t want FEMA and news crews mistaking your place for one hit by a tornado if it wasn’t.
2. Shave your legs and put on clean underwear. Shower, hair and makeup are must-do’s before you head out to fetch the all-important milk and bread. The thought of being treated by emergency personnel is tolerable if you made sure your legs are smooth and the undies are clean, just like your mama taught you.
Lest you think we’re superficial and shallow, we’re not.
Southern women pray for God’s protection over them and their loved ones (and even their enemies) every day, rain or shine. Today is no different.
And beyond bread and milk, we know there’s no need to stock up on food – we can feed an army on what is in our pantry any day of the week.
Summer is officially here and so is the urge to garden. Actually, the urge started last weekend, along with rain in the form of intermittent downpours.
A dedicated gardener gardens in the rain. A delusional gardener is surprised when she gets dirty or wet while doing so. But it takes a heaping helping of insanity (and a wellspring of optimism) to create a new bed where Bermudagrass recently grew, and hope for anything other than a really nice stand of Bermudagrass to grow.
I did all three last weekend – which probably qualifies me for a 72-hour stint in the mental ward (and if they’d let me sleep in, I might sign up for a long weekend.) But planting in the rain is great for plants, even if it’s a soggy proposition for the planter. Saturday’s 20% chance of rain turned into an all-afternoon rain-a-thon; when the rain let up every so often, I scampered outside to plant and transplant things. And was repeatedly surprised to find myself soaked and my shoes and shovel covered in mud and muck. Duh.
With Middle Son’s help, I divided my water lilies into half, and planted each in a nice big tub, and sunk them in the middle of the pond. (When I say help, I mean he watched from the bank, and asked me if I had seen the snapping turtles – yes, plural – or water snake. He’s helpful like that.) Now I will watch and wait for them to grow and bloom and beautify our pond. Several pots of purple irises now grace one steep corner of the pond; dozens of Louisiana irises were installed (with bona fide help from that same son) around another long stretch of pond bank. That will make Mr. Official happy since he won’t have to mow the steep patches. My gratification is delayed until next spring when they bloom.
While moving things from there to here, I tucked in Heuchera and several hosta divisions in a new shady bed that middle son and the Mantis tiller created for me, then edged them with caladium bulbs sent to me by Bill at CaladiumBulbs4Less (thank you Bill! Pics coming as soon as these pretty plants are up and flourishing!) The area had some straggling Bermudagrass before it was tamed by the Mantis, so we’ll see – I could be dog-cussing this decision the rest of the summer. But it is just a temporary bed; it needs to be deeper and swoopier (if that’s a word) before I will call it a real border.
Two hydrangeas (a new dwarf oakleaf and a deciduous hydrangea) are now installed along the new fence row; the remainder of the perennials I acquired back in April are planted under an oak tree near the driveway – again, they’re in a holding pattern. The bed has potential but needs some serious rearranging in the fall.
After a few years’ abstinence from any serious or heartfelt gardening, it feels really good to throw myself into digging into the soil and tucking plants into new homes here at our new homestead. Need more proof my gardening mojo is back? Look what we brought over last week:
|Little Dog isn’t so little anymore…|
I might just have to bring the fig and lilac that flanked it at the old place. (One was historically accurate: lilacs were planted for odor control back when an outhouse was really an outhouse. The fig just seemed like a good choice – you never know when you might need a fig leaf for something or other.)
The sermon on the mount is found in Matthew 5. Toward the end, Jesus said, “For he (God) makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust…”
A few years ago, we suffered a very late freeze (three nights of freezing temperatures after trees and shrubs had fully leafed out), and then a severe drought that summer. Before that happened, I often grumbled if the weather didn’t suit my plans. After losing so many established trees and shrubs to the double-punch that nature dealt that year, I decided I would accept whatever weather we receive, and most especially, never complain about getting rain at an inconvenient time.
Last May, we endured what “experts” called a 500-year flood, when it rained for three days and nights. This year, we received nearly as much rain, at about the same time of year. The Cumberland River didn’t flood this time, but so much for the experts being able to offer reliable opinions.
This week, we finally got a much-needed break from weeks of mid-90 days and no rain. The rain comes at an inconvenient time – I need to be mulching and weeding the old house in order to get it ready to sell. But I won’t complain. I am planning a garage sale for Saturday. If it gets rained out, so be it. The sun feels good, and so does the rain. I think I’ll just focus on doing what I can to being counted among the “good” and “just” in that teaching, and let the one who made this world worry about the weather.
…well, since at least 2,600 hours ago. (And no, of course I didn’t expend valuable mental energy calculating that when there are websites that will do it for me.)
Two fronts rolled through here this afternoon, bringing rain, and then a much longer and harder rain shower with a lot of thunder and lightning to accompany it. At 6 pm, we had as much (or more) water running in front of our house as we did during the floody weekend of May 1.
No complaints, mind you. We had a couple weeks of 100+ degree days and zilch for rain those days. Made me wonder if we had been transported back to Oklahoma just in time for the annual August heat wave. So I’m grateful for today’s deluge, even though it comes too little and too late for poor Alberta Spruce (aka Victim #4) which has indeed bit the dust and looks like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.
Speaking of Christmas, it’ll soon be time for our friendly family competition: we all start listening to commercials to see who hears the first Christmas commercial of the season. The Rockettes have historically been first out of the gate, but with Opryland’s flooding problems last May, who knows if they’ll be in town this year? We will be going to see Straight No Chaser at TPAC next month; wonder if they will do their Twelve Days of Christmas?
In our family, this week is all about the birthdays. Younger son was born on July 13, older one on July 17. In between is Memaw’s birthday on the 16th.
That means a week of favorite (fattening) foods, topped off with lots of cake and ice cream. Guess I should have gotten in a long run this morning…I’m going to need to run every chance I get to burn off all the extra calories these special meals tend to have.
On Saturday, I power washed and scrubbed the deck and got it ready for a fresh coat of stain and water seal. July is usually a nice dry month, so it seemed a prudent time to plan this project, which requires a few days without rain. I psyched myself for the early morning start required for this project (I have learned the hard way that I need to get the deck surface finished before the sun gets too high overhead, or the stain will dry too fast and turn out splotchy.) My forearms and wrists are ready to hand brush the hundreds of balusters and in between each deck board. Yes, indeed – I am ready, willing and able to tackle this project.
But as nature would have it, we listened to a nice soaking thunderstorm pour down last night, and this week’s forecast has rain and more rain on the horizon. So the deck is washed and ready and I’m ready to get ‘er done. But the table, chairs, fireplace, grill and planters will all have to sit (set?) on the ground a little longer than expected. Ah well…I and the stain and sealer, roller and brushes are all standing at the ready. And I’m not going to grumble about the delay; I still remember the drought from a few years’ back, and my promise then was to never ever complain about the timing of any rain we get. All rain is good rain.
While I’m waiting, I can always take the spray paint to the metal items that have chipped and flaked over the past couple years. And I don’t have to worry about watering the plants for a few days (a good thing after paying last month’s water bill!)
But we won’t be enjoying any birthday dinners al fresco this week…arranging the table and chairs on the lawn would mean everyone’s ankles would be covered in chigger bites – that’s worse than a birthday paddling!
I had a deep thought today: ‘If some of my roses were puny because they were waterlogged, how come they’re not growing like gangbusters when they’re dry as a bone?’ Sigh…
I also ruminated on why perennials should be planted in the spring or fall, but not summer. At least I did get my cheap plants planted, but now they are pitiful, needy little things…always looking parched and whimpering for a drink of water. Unlike their established counterparts who might flag a little in the heat of midday, but perk right up once evening comes.
So, my second gardening resolution for 2011: just like mulching, I should only buy and plant perennials in months beginning with Ma and Ap. Or Se and Oc. But never in months beginning in Ju or Au. (Except for the box of daylilies that arrived today from Gemini Garden. Hmmm. Guess those might go in after tomorrow’s rain, when I can dig and lift the clumps that I want to remove and pass along.)
Our water bill was atrocious this month (but honestly not as bad as I feared it might be. Then again, it was June and we were still getting rain – there’s no telling what July and August might bring.) The weather forecast says there’s a 60% to 80% chance of thunderstorms tomorrow, so I’ll water today just to be sure. (If I don’t, it won’t. Murphy’s Law and all that.)
The pond plants got treated to some fertilizer today – a little overdue, but better late than never, right? I was a little smarter this year…I only bought a small container of fertilizer tablets. In the past, I’ve bought bigger bottles because they’re cheaper, ounce for ounce. But I finally got it through my frugal head that their shelf life is limited, and buying a two-year’s supply is not a money saver if I have to buy replacements the next year anyway. I have just enough tablets to treat the waterlily to a second round of fertilizer late next month, and that should be all these plants need to get them through until fall. So far, two of the new goldfish have decided to do the eternal backstroke, but the shubunkins and remaining goldfish seem content and happy to hang out in their new home, and are starting to associate my appearance with food.
Speaking of which, tonight’s dinner is definitely going to avoid using the stove as much as possible…grill, here we come! The only good thing about traipsing outside periodically to move the sprinkler is that a 78 degree house feels really cool when you’ve been out in upper 90 degree temperatures (Yes, it’s a heat alert day.) Hope everyone stays cool as a cucumber. Hey look – are those storm clouds on the horizon?
P.S. The watering ritual worked – it’s thundering and sprinkling.
P.P.S. Yes, I’m playing with my blog’s background and header. Let me know what you think!