Remember spring?

April, May and June were so very lovely. Winter departed early giving us a chance to get outdoors, tidy and plant our veggies weeks before we would normally consider emerging from inside. I, for one, was exhilarated by the fireflies in April, the balmy May breezes, the lovely June evenings eating dinner on the patio.

Well, early June that is. It got pretty ugly last week.

Potager in June

Potager in June

The confluence of thunderstorms that I learned is called a derecho (prounounced “deh-REY-cho”) blew through here near midnight on Friday, June 29.  I was sound asleep when I was rudely awakened by howling winds and two terrified Papillons tap dancing on top of me. Yes, our little dogs sleep with us. That’s just the way we roll.

I tucked one little dog under one arm and the other little dog under the other arm and whispered reassurances to them. There was wind blowing. There were crashing sounds. And then…the most terrifying sound of all. Three battery backup systems started beeping. The power had gone out.

Now, if you don’t live in a rural area you may not have the full appreciation for how bad it is when the power goes out. It’s not just that we don’t have lights, air conditioning and internet. We don’t have water. No showers—even cold ones—no toilets to flush, no water for the plants. Nothing. And being at the end of the power grid (or so it seems), we can pretty much count on being low on the priority list when it comes to getting power restored.

Daylilies in June

Daylilies in June

We suffered through Saturday and Sunday with none of the comforts of civilization. It was nearly 100 degrees both days. Despite buying ice and trying to save food, we lost most everything in two refrigerator/freezers.

We were giddy with joy when the power came back on Sunday night. It took hours and hours to cool the house back down and most of Monday to clean up the refrigerator messes. Going to the dump following a power outage is not for the weak. It takes a strong stomach and strong arms to do the dirty task.

june potager2b

You might think my whining is complete. But nay nay!

We may have power, but it’s still miserably hot and our area is in moderate drought conditions. I spend my days working at the desk and taking breaks every half hour or so to dash outside, move hoses and hand water plants. From time to time I put down the hose to pick Japanese beetles from the beans, rhubarb and roses and drop them into a jar of soapy water. If the jar isn’t handy and I see one I just squish it with my bare hands. I am fearless!

Cone flowers

Cone flowers

Things look a bit ratty here and there from the heat, drought and chicken scratchings. July is, so far, the cruelest month. But we’re getting beans, cucumbers, squash, leeks and herbs. The lettuce has turned bitter, but the Swiss chard is in. Tomatoes are growing and so far I see no signs of the fusarium wilt problem we have had the past two summers. Perhaps all that solarizing last summer did the trick?

The gardener’s life is not always easy. But it is quite often rewarding, even during cruel times.

(Click on the photos to embiggen.)



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  • Cindy, MCOK says:

    I loathe July & August more with each passing year!

  • Frances says:

    It’s been rough, I agree! The spring was so lovely, your potager is exquisite. Power out is one thing, no water is completely unacceptable. I am glad you are getting back to normal, whatever normal may now be.

  • Layanee says:

    Character building…well, maybe not but I am happy to hear you are cool in the house now. I cleaned out the refrig last August after a week without power. What was the name of that hurricane. No fun. The potager is beautiful and those blue hydrangeas in the background delightful.

  • Susan Harris says:

    I wanna come see!

  • Leslie says:

    Your garden still looks beautiful! I’m sorry you had yet another power outage/dump run. I hope you get a break now!

  • Jean says:

    Well I’m glad you at least didn’t have any serious damage. I know how hard that heat can be but just hang in there. For me, August is the cruelest month – it’s when I think it’ll never get cool again (and temps are at their hottest).

  • As you know, we were in the same boat, just a few hours ahead of you. And moderate to severe drought here, too. And temps in the 100s. And in a remote country location. All the things you said, except we didn’t get our power back until Thursday night. Six full days without power do not a happy gardener make(or any other kind of person, for that matter). It’s just been the most interesting and challenging spring and summer, hasn’t it?

  • joanne says:

    its not been good but i think we just need to sit back and remember that although it has been rough some people have lost everything in the floodings. i really don’t know whats gone wrong. summer used to be such a horrible hay fever ridden time ! you had to lock yourself indoors and hibernate until the pollen disappeared, now with the bad weather you can party all summer! Glad the dogs are ok by the way

  • Carol says:

    What a summer we are having. Whine away!

  • I feel for you. At least our nearly week-long outage last summer wasn’t during a heatwave. Yuck! I’m letting the Japanese beetles munch all they want except for early in the morning and around dusk, the only times I can tolerate being outside. Yes, I am a hot weather wimp. Stay cool.

  • I also live rural, and I so get what you mean about power and the power grid. It’s horrendous when you lose power, and I’ve never been through a storm quite that bad. I’ve never even heard of a storm quite that bad. I’m sorry it’s been so rough. I’m terribly sorry about the drought. It’s awful. Your garden does look great. Oh, and I squish squash bugs. It grosses me out, but I do it.~~Dee

  • Mary says:

    If I only look at the pictures and don’t read the words it is hard to believe July is cruel! Beautiful gardens and I have yard envy since I live in Hyattsville in a rowhouse with a roof top terrace. All my veggies are in pots or containers. So thank you for your site and the wonderful pics. Lets me live vicariously!

  • Deborah says:

    What a storm! Yow. We’re in Hyattsville, Maryland–just like the poster above! –over near DC. This weather has been so nuts. It’s a wonder any of us can grow anything!

  • If I could I would love to have spring year round. There is something about all the new growth and fresh colors that are supreme. I garden in a very hot arid area and once the heat pours on my energy pours out and the garden has to make due until cooler temperatures return.

  • Samantha G says:

    What a beautiful blog you have! I just happened to find you (via House of Turquoise blog) and what a funny coincidence- you’re from Calvert. I grew up in St. Mary’s County. What a small world!! 🙂

  • alexrobort says:

    So far i did not see as your blog because your blog is really super to read and get some information from here. When see photos, Flowers charm my heart. thanks you for shared your experience.

  • DG says:

    The garden is looking lovely!

  • Maria says:

    What a really nice garden!

  • Maria says:

    Despite the bad weather, it is a good thing that you were able to maintain your garden. I know that in maintaining a garden, a person needs skills and a heart to do it. And I think you have both! You are really fearless. With your love for your garden and with your patience, your garden will surely bloom again. Good luck with the beetles and power disruptions. It is good that you are happy with what you are doing. Have a good day!