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    Entries in Watering (3)

    Sunday
    Aug072011

    Dog Days of Summer

    We are indeed, experiencing those ‘dog days’ right now.  The history of the phrase is interesting, but our own hot, dry days are not.  We had a teensy bit of relief last night, with a surprise thunderstorm.  We first thought the lightning we were seeing through the windows was heat lightning (we didn’t hear any thunder until after the rain started), but the sound of rain soon had us running out the front door to see if it was true.  Yessiree Bob, there it was.  Water, falling from the sky.  It was dark, still hot, but what a wondrous sight.  There were two small showers, lasting 30 minutes or so, each.  Four of my rain buckets were filled and I know the vegetable garden was heaving a sigh of relief.  Unbelievably, as we pulled in the driveway after church this morning I noticed the front flowerbed looked wilty…hard to comprehend.  But, with the heat wave and dry days, I guess even the evening rains were not enough to quench the thirst of our dry soil.  I watered a little and promised to do more in the morning.

    We’ve been busy since returning from our lovely vacation.  We started a small remodel job on our den before we left, and finished it up last week.  The home school moms were over on Thursday evening for our monthly get-together.  Friday evening found us at my parents for Fish Taco Night and Birthday Celebrations.  We have several birthdays around the end of July-first of August.  Catfish and bass were the filling of choice, with spiced ground beef for the non-fish lovers.  (Nephew Ben of Arachnophobia fame caught the bass.)  Fresh pico de gallo, onions, cilantro, avocados, limes, lemons, chopped cayenne peppers, tortillas, taco shells, grated cheese, salsa, pinto beans, and cole slaw rounded out the meal.  We enjoyed homemade cheesecake for dessert with excellent toppings - fudge sauce, homemade strawberry jam, fresh blueberry sauce, and an interesting peach-habanera sauce.  Daddy had the fish seasoned when we all arrived and the men-folk braved the 100+-degree heat to grill them nicely for us.  An excellent meal with our excellent family!

    Besides watering, watering, and watering the gardens, not much else going on around here.  It’s sad to see the dead and dying trees, shrubbery, and fields.  Cattle around our area are having their grazing supplemented with precious winter hay stores.  The cotton farmers down in Texas are delighted with the dry weather, but produce farmers are certainly suffering.  We had a short family discussion on the history of the dust bowl of the 1920’s and 30’s and we wondered if we could almost imagine the devastation and sorrow of those days.  No, we really cannot imagine.  I can’t anyway.  Running water, air conditioning, refrigeration, supermarkets, easy travel and transportation, and employment make it hard to rationalize our frustration with this summer weather pattern.  Record-breaking temperatures or no.

    The beginning of another week…one son on two-week holiday in England, another son and his wife enjoying time in TN.  A nephew continuing his work in Los Alamos, NM and another home for a visit over the weekend.  Several of the family preparing to return to their college studies, with one beginning college for the first time.  GB is out in the driveway as I write; working on the air conditioner in his car (he’s so very handy!).  A niece is enjoying friends who came to town for a visit.

    Wet, dry, hot, or cold, life is full of opportunities.  Time to visit, time to rest.  Family, friends, neighbors - there will always be something to occupy our minds and our hands.  Don’t complain, count your blessings.  If you get too hot, stop and cool down.  Enjoy the evening breezes (even the blazing ones) and pray for rain.

    For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
    a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

    Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

    No, the above was not written by Pete Seeger, nor made famous by The Byrds…

    Friday
    Jun102011

    Home on Sunday

    GB is on the road - driving back to TX to pick me up and take me home.  It’s been a grand week with my mother-in-law.  The to-do list has been pared down, and those items left can be taken care of next week.  She’s faced this first week without her husband with faith, grace, and resilience.  She’s had several sad, sad moments and she knows there will be more.  God will help her overcome, as will family and friends.  Her church family will continue to comfort and serve her, as Jesus comforted and served.

    I am happy to go back to my sweet Arkansas home.  Ready to work in the gardens, do some painting, and get back into the daily routine.  Which is really not a routine at all.  Each day is unique - my mornings start out the same on most days, but after breakfast there’s no telling what activity might peak my interest.  It is with thanksgiving that I face my days.  Glad to be home full-time (I am a homebody extraordinaire!), happy to spend time with my mother-in-law, thrilled that a large extended family is close so we can get together often, excited that my sister is off for the summer (maybe we can bowl with Mother and Daddy more often), joyful that I can spend time with nieces and nephews who are home for the summer (minus one)…I could go on and on.  But, more than all those blessings, I REALLY miss my dear husband!

    We’re all hoping for rain.  Which is just extraordinary considering our wild and wet spring.  My rain barrel and water buckets are low, so that means it really needs to rain soon.  If you’ve not read my post on water usage and conservation, here is the link.  And if you have, give it another read.  I like it.

    Monday
    Apr252011

    Drought Be Gone

    We can now burn the pile of limbs and yard debris that is gracing our backyard.  And has been for several months.  We call it, The Burn Pile.  Our corner of northwest Arkansas, dry and dry, has been under a burn ban for quite a while.  The recent round of high and constant winds has not helped.  Arkansans are not the only ones afflicted with dry weather and roaring winds.  And now, we are not the only ones canoeing our way to work.  Those mighty drafts brought spring storms and days (and days and days) of rain.  With and without thunder and lightning.

    So, water.  I am very happy that my two water barrels are full, with several buckets and one tub extra.  If you garden, even a little bit, if you grow even one container of flowers, it must be watered.  Maybe not anytime soon, but in the hot, dry days of summer, you will be filling your watering cans for sure.  Where will you get your water?  From your kitchen faucet or outdoor spigot?  Will you pay for that water?  Again?

    Think about this…every time you turn on said faucet, you pay for it.  Even if you are rinsing off an apple, and the water just swirls right on down the drain.  Say you are waiting for the water to get hot, and it just runs and runs and runs.  You are paying for it.  How wonderful it would be to capture that water and use it.  Again.  What about all this lovely rainwater?  It is most definitely soaking into the ground, or rather pooling on top right now.  Free, fresh, and yours for the saving.

    Let me encourage you to consider water conservation.  Nothing large scale and nothing that will take over your limited space.  Use one of your garbage cans, or buy an inexpensive one at the dollar store.  You do want a lid to keep out the mosquito larvae, and to keep it scum free.  Utilize one of your large plastic containers, of a size that will fit into your sink, and let it fill with your daily water.  Not foody water or soapy water.  When you rinse your hands, rinse your food, drain your pasta, wait for hot water…you get the idea.  Pour your daily (or several times daily) water into your water barrel and you are ready to go.

    Set buckets or bowls out when it rains; or set them under a downspout.  Add that to your water rations.  Or better yet, construct a rain barrel that stays in a permanent place attached to your guttering.  There are several online instruction sites, or check out a book from the library.  Your County Extension Office will also be able to help you.

    Begin in a small way (pouring leftover tea on your houseplant), and you will soon become addicted.  One of our sons asked me one time why I saved our sink water.  The first thing that came out of my mouth, even before I really thought about the answer, was, “It makes me happy.”  In the winter, when we really don’t need all that water, it is hard for me to watch it just running down the drain, or pooling up outside.  Sounds a little obsessive and compulsive, huh?  I’m working through it and thanking God for the rain.

    Here are some additional tips to get you started:

    Buy large quantity items in buckets:  laundry soap, cat litter, etc
    Re-purpose your plastic ware and old garbage cans
    Locate a source for used plastic barrels - food-grade, non-chemical
    Check out the stand-bys - yard sales, thrift shops, etc
    Make sure everything has a lid
    Clean out and refit your gutters and downspouts for rain barrels