Category Archives: Uncategorized

Injured in the line of duty

Yesterday's wasn't the first hail of the season; we had two storms in early June, one of which went on to spawn a tornado over Billings, 122 miles east, where it ripped the roof off the 10,000 person Rimrock Arena. You can read all about it here, and watch a video of it here, or  here. The first, very short video (21 seconds) shows the funnel clearly, but the next one, taken from much closer, shows the formation of the cloud and the debris that filled the air. Incredibly, no one was even hurt.

Here in Bozeman, my garden damage from those first storms amounted to a few shredded lettuce leaves and a still-green strawberry knocked from its stem. Pretty minor, but I have adopted a zero-tolerance policy with regard to strawberry damage, so I started putting up row-cloths over my strawberry plots scattered around the neighborhood. Eventually I installed row-cloths at the western end of all my plots, ready to whip over the beds if the weather looked threatening.(They're at the western ends so I don't have to fight the wind as I'm pulling them into place.)

My Significant Other (SO) thought this overkill, but after losing my garden to hail two summers back, I was willing to endure his laughter.

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Chicken Little was right…

…The sky is falling.

Look what just came down:

Hail inner structure

That, my friends, is golf-ball sized hail. In case you should doubt me, take a look at this:

Hailstones w

There they are with a golf ball. A goofy golf ball, I grant you, but a golf ball nonetheless. A local news service, KBZK, reports baseball-sized hail on the MSU campus, about five blocks away, but I didn't see anything that big. It also reports numerous broken windows around town, and that I can believe; the neighbors just south of me took a direct hit in their big western window. Glass was sprinkled over the floor ten or twelve feet into the room.

Several hours earlier I was eating lunch with husband and friends out on the lawn, where we took refuge under trees, the sun shone so hot. Yet when I got up this morning, it was raining, and I thought we'd have to eat inside. Somehow we managed to slip the meal into the space between morning rain and afternoon hail.

The back-story, I: Bicycles

This is third in an ongoing series about my father’s stroke. Again, the personal part follows a fairly straightforward gardening entry. Quit at the divider (a row of asterisks) if you’re not interested in the memoir portion.

Year-to-date precipitation for 2010:

Picture 2
Source: wunderground

Year’s precipitation for 2009:

Picture 3
Source: wunderground

Today started windy, cloudy, and cool; at midday, the temperature hadn’t even reached fifty degrees (10ºC). After an April so warm we ate on the patio several times, the weather set out to remind us that this is Montana, after all. It was snowing on the thirtieth, the day I left for Toronto and Minneapolis, and it’s been raining off and on ever since.

We got two glorious days of sunshine on Sunday and Monday, but it was too good to last. Rainfall here doesn’t begin to compare with what’s fallen in Oklahoma and, more obviously and tragically, Arkansas, but on the merely nuisance and gardening scales, it ranks pretty high.

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Down the garden path

This is part of an ongoing series about my father's stroke. In this post, the personal part follows a fairly straightforward gardening entry. Quit at the divider (a row of asterisks) if you're not interested in the memoir portion.

It is, astonishingly, not raining.  That's not to say that it won't be raining by the time I finish this post; nor does it mean that it didn't already rain earlier today, because it did. In fact, it snowed. Welcome to Montana.

When it started raining the day before yesterday, I grabbed a raincoat and kept working. I'd set out to do some serious weed control on the flagstone path that lies between my vegetable plot and the strawberry plot in the garden I tend next door. This meant weed cloth, as the worst offender is well-established bindweed.

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My father's stroke

I have been trying to write this post off and on all day. That shouldn't surprise me; I've been trying to write it off and on for months. If there's a good way to write about my father's stroke, I haven't found it. So I've given up on doing it “well;” I'll just do it.

It's ten o'clock in the evening, and four hours of resetting the paved path next door have pretty much done me in. The students who rent the house let me traipse in and out of their yard, for the sake of an occasional strawberry or bunch of lettuce or potatoes. I'm putting weed-cloth under the paving stones because getting control of the weeds (especially the bindweed) running rampant under that path is essential to getting control of the weeds in the garden. This was a rare, sunny day–the first in weeks, so naturally I spent hours gardening errands that could have been done in the rain, but by late afternoon I was digging in the dirt.

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