Saturday, July 25, 2009

Let the weekend begin.....

We had some big thunderstorms in the area yesterday. In the town where my Mom and Dad live, the roof was blown off the local cafe -- a not-so-pleasant surprise for the customers in the dining room enjoying the noon special. Fortunately, there was no damage at Mom and Dad's house. The storms moved through fast but here's a picture I took from our driveway of the last line of storms moving into Iowa around suppertime. Wow, I love seeing the towering thunderstorm clouds (as long as they're not heading towards me!)

We had an unexpected visitor show up in the backyard for afternoon snacks today! I'm always amazed at how their summer fur is so completely different from their winter coat. If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you can see this old doe has quite a few scars -- I suppose from running through the woods and hitting all kinds of branches, fences, etc.

She was hearing or seeing something farther down in the yard......I don't know what it was, but it sure got her attention!

I did some work in the vegetable gardens this afternoon. The squash, zucchini and tomatoes are humongous and I had to trim some of the branches and vines out of that garden so the plants could get more sunlight. The other veggie garden got some attention too and I pulled out all of the lettuce, onions and beets. Except for a few smaller ones, these onions are all quite nice. There are so many though that I may have to put some in the dehydrator to make sure they don't spoil. The beet crop was mighty disappointing. I'd like to try replanting some more seeds, but I'm guessing it's probably too late in the season for that. (There's a couple small golden zucchini I picked too.)
The weather's been so cool and predicted to remain so into the next week, so I'm going to replant some leaf lettuce and more peas too.

I finally got my rain barrels set up today. I read in a Birds & Blooms magazine about one gentleman who used garbage barrels as a less expensive substitute for those +$100 rain barrels sold in home & garden stores, so I bought a couple of 50 gallon Rubbermaid garbage barrels and some downspout adaptor tubes. I installed them this afternoon on both ends of the garage where the downspouts are closer to the ground and I have level surfaces to set the barrels.
It looks like kind of a "Rube Goldberg" set-up, but I think it's good enough for who it's for and both of these together cost me way less than $100, so I'm happy.

Not much else going on with me. Tomorrow we'll be riding with some friends in the motorcycle "Cruise for Kids" benefitting our local Ronald McDonald House. The weather forecast sounds perfect and we're looking forward to a fun day. I'll take my camera and see if I can get any interesting pictures to share with you. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Gaelyn said...

That storm cloud looks like a giant flower. Glad no one was hurt at the diner. Your rainbarrels are a wonderful idea. I can't imagine paying over $100 for a container to catch rain water. Some people just don't think.

troutbirder said...

No kidding! We have met John and Joanne G at Gateway for several years for breakfast. Not to be this Saturday. Supposedly they will be open Sunday. Unless I'm mistaken I think Steve and Jewel will be riding on Sunday too. Have fun!!!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What an impressive cloud. I am glad no one was hurt. We also had those high winds and rain come through here. I just had to pick up sticks out of the garden.

It sounds like you are having a great time this summer. Your veggie harvest looks so yummy.

Mama Pea said...

Nice looking harvest from your garden! If my onions pan out this year, I'm planning on dehydrating some of them, too. They take so much less space for storage and keep forever that way.

Really nice "rain barrel" set-up. I don't think it looks "Rube Goldberg-ish" at all. We usually keep four 50-gallon barrels (in the to-be greenhouse) that I fill with water from the well and then let the water temper. I water the garden (with small pump) from there.

Hope you have a delightful ride today . . . watch out for those nasty thunderstorms!

dAwN said...

Glad the storm spared u and your parents. The cloud looks pretty awesome!
Looks like you had a nice harvest! Beets look good to me..guess u didnt get as many as u wanted.
Love that trash can Rain barrel idea..I am going to send this along to my sister..who needs all the saving of rain she can get in NC.
Have fun on your motorcycle.

Jayne said...

What a sweet visitor Ruthie. :c) Just look at the bounty of your garden! What time should we come for dinner?

Love your "rain barrels" and the ingenuity!

Jean said...

What a beautiful website you have developed. It was such a joy to see someone who appreciates all of the wonders of life. The bird photos are great, loved the weather forecast, and truly enjoyed "Bambi's" sister at the dinner table. Your garden is awesome and I truly envy what you are doing in your "spare time!" LOL
At 70, I've found that once again others are getting into "rain harvesting." My grandma did it, my mother did it, both of them with wooden barrels from the feed stores. I've done it now for over 20 years at my home here in Florida. Your idea was very unique and a lot less expensive that going out and buying the conventional rain barrel. Let your readers know, if they are in an area that processes food or drinks, i.e. Tropicana, wine companies, and such, their pvc "food grade barrels" & some wooden barrel are sold for a lot less than those bought on-line.
Ruth, if you or your readers have a moment, let me remind them of the importance of keeping their rain gutters squeaky clean. "Rain water is only as clean going into your barrels, as it is when it leaves your gutter!"
After all these years, and at my age, I finally invented a gutter cleaning tool that I could stay firmly on the ground and vacuum out my rain gutters. It's definitely a safer, easier, and cleaner method of doing a nasty job. Then you can empty your shop-vac container into a compost pile or use for extra mulch around flowers & plants. Please visit with me at and perhaps you too can save double your money and "what a way to go" in today's economy! Take a "longer Ride for the Kids."
Kudos, to you Ruthie and your hubby. Pet the pooch & kitty for us! God Bless You and Yours and Your followers/friends. Stay Safe, Stay Well, and Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Aren't you the smartie with the modified rain barrels? I think I'm going to have to steal your idea!!

Red said...

Hope you had a great weekend ride Ruthie!

Rubbermaid seems to work great as a rain barrel. When I was little, my dad had an old oak wine barrel that I'm certain he got for free to use as a rain barrel.

And now for our composting bin, he got our contractor friend to give him a beautifully colored blue metal barrel that looks a lot like an oil barrel.

Mel said...

Hola Ruthie,
I'm sorry I haven't visited before, it's been crazy over here :S
Great idea with the barrels!
I'll wait for your post about the ride for the kids, tell us about it!

Ruth said...

The thunder storms will not stop here. Your cloud picture is spectacular. Our city sells rain barrels for $25 so I guess that is a real, subsidized bargain. I never knew they were so expensive. Your crop will keep you busy!

Heather said...

Wow, classic anvil storm cloud - a cloud that means business, that's for sure! Your garden harvest looks great! Do you ever grow garlic? It's been a few years since I've done so, but I think I'll be planting some this fall. I just trimmed back the leaves on our gargantuan zuke plants, too - they were starting to crowd out a few other things.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Gaelyn,
The expensive rain barrels are those really nice ones that don't look anything like a garbage can and have a spigot on the side for drawing off the water into your watering can. I guess for people that aren't do-it-yourselfers or who have more discretionary income than I, that's the best option.

Hi Troutbirder,
I saw Steve and Jewel in Pine Island during the ride yesterday.

Hi Lisa,
We've been very fortunate here at our house to have so many of the bad storms miss us. Lots of crops damaged by hail though in the past week.

Hi Mama Pea,
I'm pretty happy with this onion crop--it's the best I've had for several years. I'm really hoping that my tomatoes and squash ripen though. They seem to be really behind with our cooler temps and cloudy days.

Thanks Dawn, you're right, the beets are OK, I was just hoping for a bigger yield. They're so good and easy to freeze. I guess I'll just have to visit the farmer's market and see what I can purchase locally.

Hi Jayne,
Mrs. Whitetail came back later in the afternoon when I was outside with Sophie and she was here again this morning around 6:00. Very unusual to see her so often in the daytime and I'm hoping one of these days she'll bring her fawn(s?) with her.

Hi Jeanie,
Thanks for stopping by my blog and your kind words. I love your GutterClutterBuster. I don't have any problems with my gutters, but this would be the perfect thing for my parents and my sister, all of whom have lots of big trees in their yards clogging the gutters all the time. I'll share your link with them.

Hi Lynne,
Good luck with your rain barrels--since I stole the idea from someone else, you're certainly welcome to steal it from me!! :-)

Hi Heidi,
Sounds like your dad knows the right people!
When we were little kids, I remember my granny in Wisconsin had a big old metal drum for a rain barrel. We loved playing in that when we went to visit--watching the mosquito larva wiggling around in the water.

No worries, Mel.....I know you've got a lot going on and I haven't been a faithful visitor to other blogs for several weeks either. I keep hoping that things will calm down soon and I can get back to a more normal routine.

Oh Ruth, a $25 rain barrel would be wonderful! These garbage barrels were about $30. Our city had a rain barrel special a couple months ago for $45 each, but the waiting line was about 4 hours and I wasn't willing to give up that much time to stand in line on a Saturday morning.

Hi Heather,
Yeah, that was a nice anvil cloud. It was just neat to see that top continue to blow off sideways.
I've never grown garlic because I don't use that much fresh garlic in cooking, plus I don't have a good cold room to store any fresh produce in so I have to either eat it or preserve it.

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