Archive for July, 2012

Hail Recovery

Flowers, the step before fruit.

Now that the fire is nearly contained and I see little if any smoke plumes when I look at the mountains, my focus is back on food.

Showcase 2 and the Ranch Community garden were the hardest hit by the hail. Showcase 1 hardly got any and I hear it is trucking right along. The others took some time to recover, but overall are doing pretty well. In Showcase 2, one of the three tomato plants hasn’t recovered, but still refuses to turn brown. The other two, however, are doing beautifully. The one that had to regrow from the roots is a little slower, but both are growing quickly. The peppers have all regrown leaves and are also growing in size. The potatoes have something new going on at the moment that I need to figure out, but before that happened, they had almost regrown into a solid green layer as they were before the hail. I am re-planting all of the seeds, but I think their failure to germinate has far more to do with my inability to keep them wet enough than anything else.

Replanting with straw mulch. Maybe this will help with the moisture issue.

In the RCG beds, my tomatoes are doing great. The cherry tomato plant even has some blossoms. My tiny pepper plant seems to be getting worse, but I’m not a big pepper eater, so it’s not that big of a loss. The carrots in Bed A had taken forever to germinate, so they missed the hail and are quite happy with life. The ones in Bed B had been a little quicker, so I did lose a fair number of them. Both beds have perfectly happy onion sprouts. The radishes, beets, and turnips, however, were all replanted today. Each of them was large enough to get beaten up by the hail, but not large enough to survive it, with the exception of three beets in Bed B. However, to turn over that section for the other 13 beets it would hold, those three did have to be sacrificed.

They’re hard to see, but there are tiny carrots in front and skinny onions in back.

When I looked around the garden as a whole, I had no idea who had totally replanted and who had let their plants recover. However, I did notice that two of the tomatoes I couldn’t bear to replace with the donations looked absolutely thrilled with life. I had been told that plants would (mostly) recover from hail. I believe it, now. Even the ones that are not native and therefore have not figured out how to deal with this are doing their best to get in the growth they need to be able to set fruit to carry the seeds for the next generation.

The beans weren’t too happy with life for a while, but they seem to be getting over it.

Naturally, I forgot my camera when I went to the garden today, so these pictures are from before the fire. The plants have only improved since then. A major perk of growing organic produce that I indulged in is that the three beetlings and a lambs-quarter that was growing in an inconvenient spot could just be rinsed off at the spigot and eaten as an appetizer before I went home to make dinner. There’s no reason to waste good food, after all.

Waldo Canyon Fire: Community

Friday, 4 pm.

The fire is about 45% contained, and the evacuee count is down to 3,000. One couple was killed, but my understanding is that they chose not to heed the evacuation notice. The freedom to make your own decisions unfortunately comes with the ability to make poor decisions. However, two dead and two injured out of 32,500 evacuees and 1,500 firefighters speaks to how well the people in charge were able to protect the people under their care.

Like many people, I went to church this morning. In fact, I’ve never seen that many people in my church. Our congregation, I suspect like most across Colorado Springs, had a service focused on the fire and how to deal with it now and moving forward. Our congregation was almost unscathed, I heard that only two houses owned by members were burned. I also heard that everyone who had to evacuate had somewhere to go. However, a fund was started by our district office to help people in the Springs and elsewhere in the Mountain District that are affected by the fires here and throughout the west. It was a time to share, to see our friends and neighbors. It was a time to connect.

Friday, 4:10 pm.

The outpouring of support for each other in our city is amazing. The collection plate that went around for the fund was not only full of bills, but full of significantly sized bills. I cannot speak for other congregations, but I suspect the same thing happened in the other places of worship as well. What I can say is that with 32,500 evacuees, I kept hearing from the shelters that they had lots more openings and some had to ask people to stop dropping off supplies because they had more than they could handle. Some evacuees I am sure ended up in hotels, but that still left a huge number unaccounted for. Those were the people that moved in with family and friends who opened their homes. In an emergency, you usually hear about the opposite problem, too many people and not enough supplies in the shelters. Perhaps if the fire had taken more of the city, that might have ended up being the case, but we certainly had a head start in stocking what would be needed.

One of the things mentioned in this morning’s sermon was to not mistake “being connected” for actual connection. I did have friends and family check in with phone calls and e-mails. As they are back east, that is the best way for them to check on me, and it was very appreciated that they did. However, there is something to be said for having physical people to touch and hug to know they are ok. A Facebook update that “everything’s ok” is one thing. It’s quite another to be able to look into a person’s eyes to see for yourself whether everything is, in fact, ok. I’ve talked about community before and I will talk about it again, I’m sure, because it is something that isn’t focused on. It is fantastic that people can have friends on the other side of the world, but too often they appear to me made at the expense of being friends with people on the other side of your street. A friend in Australia can give me advice and well wishes, but it’s the friend on the fire-free side of town that I would need to turn to if I were evacuated. It’s the friend who lost a house in this city that I could take in, not the one that lost a house to the flooding in Great Britain.

The Montana/Nebraska team warming up.

On a lighter note, the working cowboy rodeo was still on despite the evacuated animals taking up part of the event center. They encouraged the evacuees to come out for a night of entertainment by at the very least providing them with free food and drinks, and I believe letting them in the rodeo for free. It was, as always, a good show. Also, as I’ve come to expect, there was quite a collection of good-looking . . . critters.

I was looking at the horses . . .