The Power is Gone…There is no Water…Now What?

Today we are having the most awful heavy rain storm.  I sat here listening to the sound of the rain on the roof, thankful to be somewhere safe and dry.  I began thinking of Katrina and Sandy.  Weather disasters happen anywhere at any time.  Fortunately, thanks to my husband, we are always somewhat prepared. However, there is much more we can do.

Are you prepared if disaster happens in your area? Tornado, hurricane, flood, fire, wind damage are all possibilities. Even power outages due to down lines can create havoc. Where would you go? What do you eat? How would you keep warm? Will you, your children, other loved ones and pets be safe? What can you do?

Prepare Now! Not only does prior Emergency Preparation make good sense but it is less costly. Finding food, shelter, gas and other necessities when disaster strikes is very costly, frustrating and frightening. And necessities may not be available during and after the disaster. And government agencies may not be able to get to you for three days to two weeks or more.  

It doesn’t matter if you live in an apartment or home; in the city or country. Unless your home is damaged in the disaster you are safer staying home. Make a plan. Now is the time to prepare. Ask yourself, what would you and your family need to survive at least three days and possibly as much as two weeks.  Keep in mind if the power is out grocery stores will be closed; gas pumps won’t work; ice will not be available; and restaurants will be closed. Most likely motel units will be full and emergency services will deal with life threatening issues first.

The most basic things you will need are: Water, food,  required medications, shelter, clothing, emergency supplies. Tomorrow I will provide suggestions of what to obtain now; where and how to store; and information that should be part of your plan.

There are many internet sites available with information pertaining to Emergency Preparedness.  Some of the information would require a large cost outlay and would not be for everyone. However, most of the information is great and can be adapted to your individual needs.

Prepare now to be safe!

 

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Surprise…I’m Back!

ImageSweetie was an old cat, large and gray, that came to live with us about 4 years ago. She appeared to have had a hard life. Based on her paunch she had had many kittens, two of which she brought to us; Miss Kitty, a long hair calico and Nick, a short hair gray that looked just like his mother.

Sweetie was fun to have around the garden. She had no interest in the birds or other critters that dropped by for a visit.  She preferred to lay stretched out in the sun. Her favorite position was on her back, letting the sun warm her white tummy. Every now and then I would reach under a shrub to pull weeds and her head would pop out as if to say “Boo, I scared you”.

Seven weeks ago Sweetie disappeared. We searched everywhere around our two acre property, looking in all the outbuildings to ensure she had not been locked inside and couldn’t get out. She normally didn’t stray far from the house but we searched around the neighborhood.  In the end we finally agreed she must have decided it was time to go to kitty heaven and went off to find a quiet place.  We were very sad as we missed her.

Last night we had a very heavy rain storm. While I was preparing dinner a small, skinny, gray cat came in the cat door and ran straight for the food bowls. Thinking it was Nick I went to give him a pat and wonder why he looked like a starveling. Amazingly it wasn’t Nick, it was Sweetie!  She looked at me, meowed as if to say “Surprise..I’m back” and proceeded to eat enough for three cats.

Where Sweetie has been for the last several weeks, and what adventures she has had will always be a mystery. She appears to be happy she is home and we are overjoyed to have her back as part of our family.

Never Give Up Hope!

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Brugmansia in bloom!  Many years an attempt was made to grow this beautiful plant. The first year it rotted in the ground. I tried growing it in a pot. I watered, fertilized and talked to the plant.  It put on four leaves before it died. Tried a larger pot. Watered and fertilized but didn’t have time to talk to it. Slowly it grew. Spent the winter in the greenhouse. That spring and summer, slowly it grew. By the next winter the plant was 16″ tall.  The following spring it shot up to 4′. Planted in the ground it seemed to thrive but didn’t flower. “The heck with it” I said and left it in the ground over the winter.  After a couple of frosty nights I did put about 8″ of leaf mulch over the plant.  Was I surprised in late spring when the plant started to grow again!  And look at it now!  It is beautiful.  Maybe all it took was a little neglect. Will be interesting to see if it comes back next year.

Nick loves to sit on this post and watch the comings and goings in the garden. I have even seen him take a little nap, still sitting on the post.

Exhaustion After A Day In The Garden

Exhaustion After A Day In The Garden

Sweetie worked hard helping her human in the garden. She even caught a vole and left it in the kitchen as a surprise.

The Beginning

 

The Beginning2000. The year I became a serious gardener. No, I wasn’t struck by lightning or had an epiphany. I simply moved into a rental house and my landlady said she didn’t care what we did with the place as long as we didn’t burn it down. I took her at her word. By the time we moved eleven years later the property had changed from a house set in the middle of 2 acres of overgrown grass, weeds and trees to a home surrounded by extensive flower and vegetable gardens. The above photo is part of the yard, one year later.

Yard sales, flea markets, used book stores became my haunts. Books and magazines on gardening were my library. Particularly old books showing techniques of bygone eras. Those old books, printed in the 50’s and 60’s were cheap but filled with valuable information still applicable today. Leisure time was spent in classes provided by garden clubs, extension offices and with anyone willing to pass on gardening information.  In the meantime I gardened. First small plots, then more extensive. Flowers and shrubs joined vegetables. My gardening passion was in full swing.

I should explain my blogs may not interest people who want perfect yards; landscaped as if by a professional; and waiting for House and Garden Magazine to feature in their publication.

No, my blogs will show trial and error efforts; information geared toward individuals who have little time; less money; bending over might be an effort; who garden for enjoyment and their own satisfaction; who are willing to experiment and know they might fail but still go on to try something else and, people who enjoy animals, pleased to have them as companions in their garden.

There are many “experts” who have their Rules of Gardening.

Expert rule number one: You must start with good soil in the area you plant.

I say, yes and no.  Each plant should have good soil. That is true. How you get it does not mean bringing dump loads of gardening soil into your yard. As little as one 2 cubic ft bag of good soil will get an 8×12 foot area up and growing even if you start with clay or sand. More about that later.

Expert rule number two: Plants must have their required amount of sun or shade.

I say, yes and no. Sun and shade are important. However, most sun-loving plants will grow in less than maximum hours of sun each day. Most shade plants will grow in some sun rather than only filtered light.

Expert rule number three: A gardener must provide at least one inch of water per week to the garden.

I say, yes and no. There are many variables here. For instance, type of plant; where planted; light and exposure; amount of rain and type of soil.

For me, that ends the Rules of Gardening.  Everything else is experimentation and good judgment.

Oops, got to go. One of my old cats is zeroed in on a blue jay. Have to save the cat!

Next time, enjoying birds and your cat or dog as “helpers” in the garden.

 

My Road to the Garden

ImageDid you ever have something you hated as a child but as an adult developed a passion? That was me with gardening. Of course the passion didn’t happen overnight. It took decades. Always there was a little itch in the back of my mind. Unbidden, pushed aside year after year. But always there. The desire to grow things.

As a seven year old, one of my chores was to help three brothers weed the family vegetable garden. The garden was huge, covering 3/4 acre. Everything was done by hand. The north western area of California summers were hot and red dusty dirt stuck to everything. The weeding went on and on. To a small child the chore seemed like torture.

Thirty years later my husband and I lived on the Oregon coast. We wanted to “return to the land”. Ducks, chickens and a small vegetable garden was a place to start. “Oh, I’ll do the gardening” I said. “I know all about gardens. We had one when I was a child”. First off I knew zip about gardens. Only how to pull weeds. I didn’t take time to research because “I knew it all”. The soil was poor and crops didn’t do well. Then I remembered I hated gardening. After a few weeks the ducks and chickens were given to a farmer. That is those that didn’t choke on slugs, fell to their deaths or didn’t fly away. Good riddance we said. So much for “returning to the land”.

Five years later in the Nevada desert I found Mother Earth News magazine and other resources. Vegetable gardens are easy they seem to say. Ok, I’ll try my hand again. Just a couple tomatoes, peppers and potatoes. A bumper crop of tomatoes. Of course, they like heat. A few peppers became part of our meals. Potatoes..well. When the plants dried up I determined it was time to dig out the wonderful new potatoes we had been anticipating. Eight thumb size tubers! Not even enough for a good mouthful.

Several years later we lived in central Virginia. There the itch began to be scratched in earnest.

Next time, some things I will cover in my blog and what I learned about the Rules of Gardening. Hint…there are very few rules.

Egad…another gardening blog!  Bear with me folks. I’m just starting out and not sure where this will lead.  Planting tips in greenhouse and garden, that I am sure. Antics of my four cats to add spice. A few comments on retirement.  Who knows what else will develop.

For today I am just saying hi! Learning about blogging and enjoying other blogs about cats, gardens and whatever.  Tomorrow I should have juicy garden tidbits.