July 6th, 2012
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.)