Sunday, July 19, 2015

Thank you Dolores!

The weather is so very mild
That some would call it warm.
Good gracious, aren't we lucky child,
Here comes a thunderstorm!

The sky is now indelible ink,
The branches reft asunder;
But you and I we do not shrink;
We love the lovely thunder.

The garden is a raging sea,
The hurricane is snarling;
Oh happy you and happy me!
Isn't the lightning darling?

-Ogden Nash, The Watched Example Never Boils (partial)

Yesterday morning's view of the harbor from our backyard


The poem at the top of the post is the first, and possibly only, poem I ever committed to memory.  My fifth grade teacher required each student to recite a poem before the class and that was my selection, from what may have been the only book of poetry in my mother's bookshelf.  What's most remarkable is that I still remember the first 3 stanzas by heart.  This is possibly because it comes to mind every time there's a thunder storm.    (You can find the rest of the poem here.)

Thunder storms, especially summer thunder storms, aren't common in our area.  This one was brought to us courtesy of Tropical Storm Dolores and I am very grateful.  More rain is due later today but yesterday's downpour brought us 0.42 inches (1.07 cm), filling my 50-gallon water tank and partially filling my 160 and 265-gallon tanks.  I know that's not much rain by the standards of those of you in other areas but it's enough to make southern Californians deliriously happy (so long as it isn't accompanied by floods and mudslides).

My 160-gallon tank went from 10 gallons yesterday morning to 75 gallons by late afternoon 

I filled my plastic garden trugs several times in just minutes yesterday too, capturing the water pouring down the rain chain.  I used the first buckets to water all the pots and beds sitting under the roof overhangs.  I topped off the fountain.  Then I filled 4 more trugs but, with nowhere else to put it, I added the contents to the 160-gallon tank this morning, bringing the total in that tank to just over 100 gallons.



It's incredible how much rain sheets off the average roof.  The problem is capturing and storing it.  So much is lost.

Water streaming down the street in front of our house

More rain is expected this afternoon.  It's sunny, hot and humid now but I'm hoping to get a couple of hours of work in the garden in before the lightning and thunder returns.  I had another 3 cubic yards of mulch delivered a few days ago and more than half of it's still sitting in the driveway under a tarp.  Yesterday, I gave that effort up as the thunder started to rumble.  I've foolishly ignored storm conditions before and kept working but recent newscasts have been full of reports of people injured or killed by lightning strikes so I'm trying to be more sensible.  To be truthful, the biggest deterrent to working outside in this muggy weather has been the mosquitoes.  Even a temporary failure to clip on my insect-repellent fan resulted in another dozen bites.

Apparently the birds are too busy at the feeders to hunt mosquitoes


However you're spending the weekend, I hope good fortune is with you too!


All material © 2012-2015 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

24 comments:

  1. Oh, Kris, I am so happy you are having some rain! And I just posted about our own thunderstorms! When the heat soars, nothing is so welcome as free water out of the sky. We have plenty of mosquitos, but they are too busy biting my dear hubby to bother me. I think I have been bit once this summer.

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    1. I can't even begin to count the number of mosquito bites I've had this year. I guess I was more vigilant about using the insect repellent last year than I've been this year. We also found a couple of leaks in our irrigation system recently so I suspect we were breeding our very own population of the nasty creatures too.

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  2. So glad you could store as much rainwater!
    We have no shortage of water, it has rained more than usual.
    Best regards
    Mariana

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    1. Some of the forecasters say that El Nino conditions, caused by warming in the Pacific Ocean, may bring us lots of rain this winter, which will be welcome (if we manage to avoid floods and mudslides).

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  3. Isn't WET beautiful?

    Take a page from my dog's book. At first thunder rumble in the distance she assumes a defensive position under Dad's desk and stays there.

    We had a little thunderstorm with very cooling rain this afternoon -- we were under a heat advisory and enjoyed the benefit. Early this morning temps and humidity were the same and resulting fog looked like steam rising.

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    1. Wet IS beautiful, Jean. The build up to these tropical thunder storms, which are unusual here, is certainly miserable but the rain and the accompanying sharp drop in temperature almost makes those sauna-like conditions worthwhile.

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  4. Good news Kris. The rain, not the mozzies.
    What is an insect repellant fan? If they work against horse flies I'll have three.

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    1. One company here markets a clip-on plastic device, run by batteries, which emits an insect repellent. It supposedly creates a little cloud around the wearer, keeping mosquitoes at bay. It's worked fairly well for me (provided that I remember to put it on) and I hate applying liquid repellent directly to my skin.

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  5. With the garden needing some drenching, Dolores gave you all a wonderful gift! Hope to mozzies will stop pestering you though.

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    1. The bites are my own darn fault. In June, I ignored the problem entirely until I was covered in bites, at which point I started using the repellent religiously. Earlier this week I just forgot and went out and worked without protection for a few hours - it doesn't seem to take the horrible things long to find me.

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  6. Hi Kris, I am out of town right now, so I missed the rain party, but I was so glad to read on your blog that rain is coming down in Southern California. Hopefully we got some in San Diego, too. Wishing you a nice rest of the Sunday.
    Christina

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    1. I heard that San Diego got a good soak, Christina. I hope you're enjoying your trip and that you come home to happy plants.

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  7. Ha! I did a thank you-Dolores post too. Yesterday we got .28", but this afternoon we got over an inch! Everything washed clean--the soil soaked--what joy!

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    1. I saw your post and commented just a little while ago. Do you think anyone outside of California understands how incredibly happy a little rain makes us?

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  8. You've got more rain than we have, although of course you need it more than we do. I think we might be up to a half an inch since mid May. It's all sorts of crazy.

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    1. The front page of today's LA Times bears the headline "Weird Weather." Any rain in summer is unusual but a storm like this is off the charts.

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  9. I am so pleased that you've had a bit of decent rain! I know what it is like living through terrible drought years in Australia, so I can appreciate how happy you are at the moment! It's great that you've been able to capture so much of the water for later on :-)

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    1. It's looking as though El Nino will be a reality this year, Matt. Of course, here rain also comes with problems. This storm caused a bridge to wash-out on a major thoroughfare so I can only imagine the complications and challenges El Nino may pose.

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  10. I wish a program similar to the lawn removal rebates could be instituted to help capture rain water. It was a marvelous weekend! No mosquitoes here. I wonder what your source is. We found some starting to breed in tightly lidded trash cans where we stashed rain water in the spring and dumped all the water in trees and hedges. No sign of skeeters since. So funny about your poem -- I've got the same problem with Longfellow's The Song of Hiawatha!

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    1. A rain barrel rebate would be of tremendous help in getting people to collect rain - those barrels are expensive and DIY trash can collection is better in theory than reality. My guess is that the 2 irrigation leaks we found recently are accountable for the mosquitoes, Denise. The problems were quickly repaired upon discovery but I suspect the damage had already been done.

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  11. We didn't get any, not a drop, but I'm glad it ended up in the gardens of my blogging pals in the Southland instead of over the ocean. It must smell so good, with all the dust gone.

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    1. I'm sorry you didn't get any benefit out of this tropical storm, Gerhard. The rain felt like a minor miracle.

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  12. Having installed my first ever rain barrel this year, I've been amazed by the amount of rain that comes off my roof. About .1" of rain will fill the 50-gallon barrel. -Jean

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  13. Whoopee!! We got a heavy downpour too, but as it was blowing straight through a crack between two doors, we were busier mopping and fixing than celebrating! Winds were quite strong here. Funny, but your Ogden Nash poem sounds very much like my San Diego aunt's phone call - she was so happy sitting on the porch watching the storm... :)

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