Friday, July 6, 2012

Derechos, Zucchini, Family Dynamics, and Other Natural Disasters

It's the height of summer now and this has just been one long week that started with a little thunderstorm cell in Iowa last Friday. The thunderstorm developed into a derecho that galloped east and ultimately flattened a wide swath of the Midwest and the Mid-Atlantic states. I was at my parents' house in Poquoson when the storm hit around midnight. I've never seen wind quite like that before and I'm still amazed that my daughter with the storm phobia slept through it all. Thankfully we didn't have any damage at either my parents' house or our house in Christiansburg. My in-laws in Roanoke lost power and still don't have any at their house. The current estimate is that power will return to all of Roanoke by sometime late Sunday night. That's a long time to go without power, especially when the daytime temperatures have been hovering in the mid to upper 90s. We're all out of sorts thanks to the heat, the lack of rain, and our upended schedules.

My garden is also out of sorts. We've been watering regularly for the past week and things look okay but just not quite right. The corn is lush and green, but it's only about waist high and getting ready to tassel. The tomatoes look good, but I didn't get them staked early enough and I really had to wrestle with them to tie them up. I tasted my first half runner last night and it seemed a little stringier than I expected for this early in the season. I don't think I'll have much in the way of zucchini this year, thanks to the squash bugs. They've also taken out some of the cucumbers and some of my pumpkins. I'll have to spray the rest of the vines this weekend if I want any pumpkins at all this fall. My peppers are still pretty small and I think the voles have eaten all the beets.

So it's not quite the garden I had planned, nor is this quite the summer I had envisioned. I was hoping for a little more fun and fewer worries. Such is life: you make your plans and work to bring them to life, but then the universe smacks you on the head and now you have to change your plans. Or in my case, a rock hits your windshield and you suddenly have a meandering 18 inch crack right in front of the driver's side that will require a replacement. Actually I'm not sure what's the better metaphor for my life right now: a bug-ridden garden or a cracked windshield. Neither are truly disasters and certainly they are fixable to a certain extent, but they're still beginning to sap my energy and enthusiasm.

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