heavy weather
OR
phoenix tomatoes

heavy weather

the garden and field after a very intense rain. Notice where there has been flash flooding.

We planted some tomatoes shortly after we got down here, on June 18th or so. Said tomato plants were courtesy of or friends and neighbors the Harrimans. William’s Greenhouse has a nice variety of quality plants for anyone near Spencer.

When we planted them, the ground was pretty dry. Apparently the annual rainfall was about 3 inches above average around mid-May, but 3 inches below normal by mid June. The tomatoes did quite well in their first couple weeks.

Then it started raining around June 26th. At first, the parched plants seemed quite happy with all the rain. However, it rained pretty steadily off and on for several days. The stream filled up and overran its banks, including the area containing the tomatoes.

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We had planted the tomatoes though holes in black plastic to minimize weeds and help them retain moisture in case the drought had continued. The first time that part of the yard flooded, the black plastic stayed under the flowing water. The water receded some. Unfortunately for us and the tomatoes, it rained again the next day. The second time the low area flooded, the more violent flow carried the black plastic and the bricks holding it down several yards from the garden.

Since the black plastic had holes in it to let the plants through, I assumed that the tomatoes had been snapped off at their base for the plastic to move. We were sad at the loss of our tomatoes. This flooding was strong enough to carry logs a foot in diameter and 6 or 8 feet long into the middle of the field, so expecting plants to survive is optimistic even without the plastic moving.

healthy tomato plant

A tomato plant about 10 days after the flood.

However, once it dried out a bit, we took a walk to survey the damage. It was not as bad as we thought. In fact, it seems that all of our plants have pulled through the big rain. Out of the sludge and mud, the tomatoes have risen again for a second chance.

The plants were pretty caked in mud, so Rob “washed them off” by spritzing them with a spray bottle. I knocked some of the mud off by hand, and we staked them up. The only real problem that remains from this diversion is that thinking they were dead for a week was long enough for stores to sell out of tomato cages for this season.

Hoosier Hospitality

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Thanks to the Fenders for this basket of goodies from their garden! Our neighbor Angie brought this over on July 8th with an explanation of exactly which garden and who picked what that is a bit too jumbled in my head to publish. It is nice to have neighbors that check up on you, especially when it includes fresh produce.

The hands of time OR updating art

A long time ago (in the 1970’s?), my father was not yet a father and with all this free time, he tried his hand at stained glass. One of the things he made was a clock that hung in my mom’s mom’s kitchen for as long as I can remember. When she broke up her house a year or two ago, she gave me the clock. Apparently, back in ancient times, they did not have “batteries”. The clock was hard wired to be plugged into an electrical outlet to run. And Grandma Wolfe’s kitchen had an electrical outlet where the clock went, so all was well.

Unfortunately, no one puts electrical outlets in the ceiling anymore. So I have been searching for battery operated clock hands for a while. Moving prompted me to get more serious about finding clock hands, since it reminded me that I had been in possession of the clock for 2 years without hanging it up. I am making more of an effort to take advantage of and recognize the value of things I already have.

If you want to know where to find clock hands, Hobby Lobby carries them. They have a nice note on the door about how they aren’t open on Sundays to give their employees time to worship. Alas, we only have 6 days to worship the thousands of square feet of the retail space that said doors reveal. I am finding increasingly awe inspiring as I grow older, or perhaps since I have spent time in Europe and large cities where space is too expensive to support acres of craft supplies and decor.

After agonizing over how thick the clock face might be, I selected one battery driven clock mechanism and some extra fancy hands. It was straight-forward to install and seems to still be working a week later, so I am ready to declare the project a success.

Check out my awesome clock.

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Our new neighbor
or
That’s a big spider!

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Close-up of the big spider in the bathtub

About a week ago, we noticed a very large spider in the kitchen, right by the hole where the old tap for the cookstove used to be. Clare told me to come look at it. Indeed, it was very large. It was so still I thought it might be dead, so I tried prodding it with an extended tape measure, and it scurried off at lightning speed.

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A little more perspective on the size of the spider

The next day, Clare informed me that the spider had taken up residence in the downstairs bathtub. I confirmed this, and continued to check on the spider a couple times a day. It seemed like it hardly moved at all in the tub. On Saturday, a few of our friends came over for dinner, and we showed them the spider as part of the house tour. They hypothesized that the spider might not be able to get out of the tub and that we should try to put it outside. This seemed like a reasonable idea. I don’t like to kill spiders, since they eat other insects like mosquitoes.

releasing the spider

Rob releases the spider outside

Sunday morning we mulled over how we should take it outside, and we decided on trying to get it to climb into the dustbin. That was actually quite easy, and the spider did not seem anxious to leave it, so I carefully walked outside with the dustbin, had Clare take a picture, then set it out by a tree. Hopefully he is doing better outside.