Summer of flood and fortune

Because we are just two gardeners posting what we do and see each day that you may find valuable, there are no staffers to keep working on this site if we run into trouble. Then, there may be gaps in our postings.

Such was the case this summer. Here's the story of the Summer of Silence gap between What's Coming Up issues 202 and 203

Growing through floods, knee injuries, technical tangles

We missed a whole season between issue #202 and #203. It's the first time in almost 30 years we've even missed a weekly deadline, let alone the whole summer's worth. We are very sorry! Here's what happened.


Enough water, enough time, and even rock disintegrates. We managed to cope, move on, and even reach out to organize the neighborhood recovery after three previous floods. This time... Maybe it's being older, maybe it's because a 9 year reprieve lulled us into thinking that our hard work with the township and county drain commission had been successful. Whatever the reason, when a 2- foot deep river raced into our yard, peeling asphalt slabs from the driveway, carrying iron garden tools 1,000 yards downstream over 4-foot fences, and pushing once more into our home to soak and muddy everything, we thought we could handle it but we're still shoring ourselves up 3 months later.

We did not choose to live in a flood zone. The floods came to us after 45 years dry, when previously absorbent wet meadows above us were transformed into 100 acres of paved, roofed or hard packed construction. In the 2001 flood we didn't know what the heck was going on. In 2002's soaking we patched the big picture together and aimed for longer range fixes. After the 2004 flood when FEMA declared us eligible for flood insurance we decided that paying annually "in case" was not the way to go. Even if that insurance replaced belongings (it doesn't), even if it could clone us to do the clean up while also keeping our business afloat (dream on!), it was not an answer for us. We chose instead to aim our resources at correcting the basic problem -- to work to end our neighborhood's flooding.

Despite this fourth, harder hit, we remain committed to that decision. As soon as we can muster the energy we'll be back at the township and county, and maybe beyond, to stop this and to develop more rational land use policies.


Some of you who heard about this or recognized our neighborhood on news reports have asked, "Why didn't you call?! We'd have helped!" We realize that, appreciate you and we're so sorry to upset you by not asking. In a small house that's also an office, when Ma Nature follows flood with 9 days of rain and high humidity so outdoors is not available as drying space, there is no extra room for crew. Also, every bit of muddy material must be assessed by one of us to determine if it can be pitched or should go to the precious little bit of space available to spread things to dry. In addition, one of us admits to some obsession about cleaning and sterilizing in this awful circumstance, so that she finds it impossible to trust even the dearest friend or hardest working sibling to do what we did.


Yet we can't explain why we who crawl at work every day and wear knee pads religiously, did not do so while scrubbing on tile for nine days. The injury Steven sustained while originally installing all that tile in place of carpet, recurred. Janet came up with a new twist. We'll heal, but being hobbled in this interim has slowed us in doing our jobs -- that work that must be done to pay for this labor of love,

Hackers, or "It's not personal, just business."

We are told that Internet hackers have this perspective, as in The Godfather. That is, they do not target us, per se. They have simply programmed their computers to break into and get what's available from any site they can. We fended off an April attack and had just restored order when another hit came in July. It's expensive and time consuming. More important, it's depressing work we didn't need this summer. Wish we could've dodged that bullet.

Heads spinning yet still on straight

We whine, yet we are well aware and so grateful -- yes really -- that our lot was not so bad. We did not sit on our roof and wait for a helicopter. We did not lose a limb. We do work for ourselves so couldn't be fired for missing all those clean-up days. Our family, our friends, our work in a field we love, are all so wonderful that we've laughed as much as we've cried this summer.

Thus we feel like wimps to have missed so many deadlines to you. On the heels of the flood we gave a week to a family member laid low by a skull fracture. We used 3 hours that might have been just enough to compose and send some sort of explanation to you-all, to go take emergency possession of a mysteriously ailing friend's pet. And when the kids who've been inhabiting our garden and expanding our website's coverage needed help coping with their own flood experiences, we did lead them in distractions such as hunting tadpoles to restock the floodtide losses and reassure them of normality via a trip to the county fair.

Creativity temporarily sidelined

While we worked in gardens this summer we did think of you. For you, for us all, we investigated and recorded. We just could not muster the creativity or patch together enough hours to compose it and send it out. So often in our 200-issue run we gave up a night's sleep to write, find photos or to manage the mailing. This summer, when we tried we fell asleep on the keyboard.
So we'll save all that we captured this summer until next year. Because there's a whole caboodle of autumn topics to send out to you. Starting now.

Calls and emails

As for email and calls, we're slowly catching up. Messages from most of summer met the same fate as papers in our to-be-filed stack -- always at its deepest in June, having accumulated all during spring's crazy time. They were buried under all the stuff we had to stack in haste to empty cabinets and shelves. We had no choice but to do that because we had to flip all the furniture to clean and dry it. Some of our layered heaps are still waiting to be interpreted and the contents put back into place.
Your thoughts and questions are vital to our educational goals. They teach us as they point us to relevant issues. Often, you also connect the dots between issues we wouldn't otherwise recognize. So if you emailed, mailed or called us this summer please pardon our delay. If your topic's still urgent, please re-send it/call again now, because we're catching up starting from the current messages and going backward.

Please help if you can

We need Sponsorships more than ever. Thewebsite  hosting bill's coming due, our pocket's way more than empty, and we're going to have to hire some help to keep up while catching up. As an example, the mail list we worked so hard and you helped to streamline needs updates even when used weekly; at 90 days stale it's going to generate a lot of returned mail and restoration work.

One final, "Oh, argh!"

Murphy's Laws called this situation correctly: When things go wrong they go all the way wrong!

We compose these articles at our desks, then post them at GardenAtoZ where you-all can read them.

As we began to post the pieces of this issue at GardenAtoZ, the website developed a mysterious snafu. We couldn't post. You couldn't access the site.

We had to re-format the articles for publication as a pdf, then post that for downloading on our Forum, then go back and sort out the website's (programming) problems, and finally post the articles.