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
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
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, GardenAtoZ.com
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
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
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
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