Monday, March 8, 2021

Jolted into March

Photo Credit: H. L. Whitehurst

I loaded these photos on 4 March, then other things commandeered my time and energy.
Out of date, now, but will serve as a reminder of our plunge from February to March.

Rain began on the afternoon of the 28th--the kind of torrential downpour that rapidly swells normally placid creeks, creates runnels and streams where there is usually dry ground.  Many area homes--like that of our son and his wife--are accessed across a creek bed and at the height of a deluge and for 24-48 hours may be cut off.
Above you see water roaring down the not so aptly named Dry Creek, rearranging the gravel bed, shifting rocks, and in this case, carrying along a large dead tree. Not discernable until the next day when Howard began to cautiously assess damage are two large plastic trash bins lodged beneath the bridge and with the tree trunk, backing up the flow of water.

Neighboring fields were flooded, roads disappeared under fast-moving muddy water. 
By Tuesday morning Jim and Howard tackled the mess with chainsaw [for the tree trunk] and two of their tractors to rearrange gravel.

One benefit for my projects is the large flat chunks of slate rock uncovered.  Howard corralled some likely pieces and suggested we come up on Thursday to collect more for the extension to the west garden--a planting that thus far exists only in my fertile mind.

Here at our place water streamed down the drive and raced along the edge of the south ravine.

The resident lame skunk has not been sighted since Friday, before the rains.
He/she may be still around; perhaps if it's den was in one of the ravines it has been flooded out.

The ground remained squelchy for several days. I put on my boots and walked the perimeter of the open property. Several dead trees were toppled in the storm. This is one of those damaged by the fire [of suspicious origin?] which destroyed the house belonging to previous owners.
During the winter of construction our two campers were situated across from this tree and near the rubble left from the fire--a bleak view. All that now remains is a cement 'pad' which fronted the former house and the fire-dead trees which come down one by one.

Along the edge of the south ravine a 'woodpecker' tree lost its precarious hold on the wet slope.

Muddy trail left by the running water.

My walk-abouts are companioned by cats--here is our good-natured Nellie-Boy.

Willis has always been determined to plod along on my outdoor ramblings.

Jim unloading the first assortment of rocks for my garden extension.
Does he look enthused?

Rocks neatly stacked on a pallet.
These often split apart. I'm OK with that; I know where to find replacements should a path need to be re-laid.

Shelby--much interested in the rock piling outside my bedroom window.

In heavy rains the gravel lane washes out.  Our neighbor seems to enjoy using his tractor to smooth out the ruts after a fierce storm.

I've been able to do a bit of pruning and poking about in the west wall garden. Afternoon temperatures approached 60F once the rains passed, although mornings were frosty and the light wind had a sharpish bite.
Willis chooses a large sun-warmed rock for comfort.

Willis wears well his nearly eleven years.

Fresh cookies and a mug of tea as reward for outdoor work.

Loaves of bread nearly ready to exit the oven.

Baking, housework, sewing, reading--the usual round of things that brought me through February.
Mornings come earlier even on overcast days and the season moves forward, more or less on schedule, unmoved by the uproar and turmoil of humanity.



  1. We also had a lot of rain here. I like your feline companions. Nothing like a sweet cat.

  2. Michelle; The cats are beloved--and its a good thing as they are fairly high maintenance in terms of disruptions and messes.
    Dealing with the creek overflow is becoming a regular chore!

  3. I just can’t design a garden without rocks. My son says I have brought in enough big flat ones to pave a highway. Your cookies and loaves of bread look oh so beautifully delicious.

    1. Mary; The idea of 'design' as such intimidates me. WE have to start with hauling in some compost and decent soil, as what's there is the excavated 'dirt' that was used to backfill when the house was finished. I'm thinking a stepping stones arrangement of the rocks with 'clumps' of plants. On the other hand, I could make a stone path and plant on either side. I need to be better at visualizing how much space plants take up when they settle in and begin to spread.

  4. Your garden will be beautiful when your garden extension is built and planted. I see you have had some torrential rains - same thing happened about 10 days ago in Wales. Our old neighbours had 6 feet of water along the bottom lane and it was half way up the stairs to their 2nd floor Mill home. As bad as it's ever been and rather than a once every few years type flood, this has been happening more and more frequently. Here it was wet and the River Wye was over the main road in the bottom of Builth, but we are on the hillside over the town so not really affected.

    I have found why the last owner had everything planted in pots here - the entire garden is building rubble (from demolished stabling and old house 100 + years ago. Tam will have to utilise raised beds for her veg plots and my plantings are accompanied by cussing as I encounter yet more bricks or bits of wall and so far we have found two alkethene pipes (one containing power line to the Summerhouse, the other???) which have made my planting plans invalid. A border for perennials will now have to be a bed away from the edge of the lawn . . .

    1. Jennie; When I tried to extend plantings at the house we renovated and didn't fully occupy [the turnover that resulted in the Amish farm] I encountered tree roots only a few inches below ground. Raised beds are labor and expense to build, but not a bad option once up and going. I can appreciate the frustration when you've visualized plantings that must now be relocated. What I've found with container gardening [so called] is that in a rainy season I must constantly be watchful that the pots aren't getting water-logged.

  5. P.S. Your Willis is so like our Ghengis in looks and manner - as the latter always "helps" in the garden when we are out there.

    1. Jennie; I marvel at the persistence of tabby patterning.
      There are a few variations--the 'tweedy' look of Willis and Ghengis, the ones with wide dark stripes,
      and the more subdued markings with perhaps a white bib. Just think how many generations of 'tabbies' there have been!

  6. Always nice to visit you and see what's going on there. Love your felines!! Happy March ~ FlowerLady

    1. Rainey; March so often seems a month of one step forward and two back in terms of weather and gardening. I'm bracing myself for that new planting--I'm sure the cats will prove helpful!

  7. You certainly did have a monsoon! Yowzer! We here in southwestern Vermont have had some welcome dry weather at a time when the bottom of our dirt road often falls out. The snow in the open areas has given way to withered pasture and hay fields while the wooded hillsides are clutching the last vestiges of winter. It is way too early for me to even consider garden clean up but I just may sow a few tomato seeds as an homage to the growing season to come. While out filling the bird feeders this afternoon I had a peek beneath Jane Magnolia and was delighted to find that my Snowdrops are pushing through the earth. Spring!!!

  8. It's always amazing what damage a little water can do, never-mind a deluge! At least you got some nice rocks out of it all. All we have here are round rocks, but they are good for ringing a bed or making a wall. Your Willis looks just like my Maggie - the last cat I had after a lifetime of cats. She lived to be 18 - I miss her still. She was a 'talker'. I think cats are so interesting and each one has a different personality. I'm down to one dog and my bird - a cockatiel. The bird is 21! It's always so nice to get outside in the fresh air and work the gardens. I have a rule - it has to be at least 50 degrees before I venture out. The bread and cookies look so good. I've been trying my hand at sourdough and we are enjoying the fresh loaves, but they are not rising the way they should. I'm hoping the next batch does better. Poor little skunk - hope he made it through the storm. I had a little Himalayan cat named Yami that made friends with a skunk and followed it around the property whenever it would come around the bird feeder. Glad that you are drying out. We know about floods here near Seattle! It's a yearly thing. Looking forward to seeing your gardens as they come together. x K


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