Hello Irene, Goodbye Garden

The fire department came to pass out evacuation notices.

As many of you know, we live on the south coast of Rhode Island, not directly on the ocean, but close enough – close enough to have received a mandatory evacuation notice for hurricane Irene.

We, and most of our neighbors decided to stay. If it had been a category 2 or higher, we would have left. Anyway, as I write this early Sunday morning, Irene has arrived. I took my dog out, hoping to avoid the bad stuff that’s coming, but already it is so windy that she was nearly blown over.

We dismantled the birdbath, too.

Yesterday, I took out all stakes and garden supports that would become projectiles. That meant more or less destroying the tomatoes and the beans are history. I picked everything that was remotely ripe and brought it inside. I guess the bright side is I’ll have less clean-up to do in the fall.

Not much left of the vegetable garden. Note how dark it is - in the morning!

My beautiful Joe Pye weed, the helenium and the sunflowers that looked so great yesterday are already being smashed. And forget the zinnias. I cut two giant bouquets yesterday knowing they would probably be my last.

So much for the perennials

I had to take down the hummingbird feeders, of course, and this morning there was one desperately looking for food. I put up one in the most sheltered part of the deck area, but I can see it blowing around and I’ll probably have to take it down soon.

The salt pond is already looking like a giant lake. The timing of the tide isn’t helping either.

The salt pond will likely be breached today. The open ocean is just on the other side.

I guess the most important thing now is to have all our emergency supplies ready and be thankful we are safe.

It sure is dark right now, though — as dark as night.

Update: 10 am

Windier now. The salt pond is churning with whitecaps. We still have power, though – for now.

I have left the one hummingbird feeder up on the lee side of the house and believe it or not, they’re feeding!

Tough little thing

Update Sunday, 8 pm: The hummingbirds continued to feed until about 7:30. After watching them today, I respect them even more.  The wind is still screaming and whistling, and I am sick to death of listening to it. We have been without power since this morning and we may not get it back for days. Our land line phone is now officially out. I’ve been thinking about our thin veneer of civilization, and our little tech toys and how pathetic they are in the face of nature.

I will try to post tomorrow, but it will depend on my “tech toys” and whether I can keep them charged and running. I promise to stay in touch as best I can.

I made a stir fry on my camp stove tonight and it was delicious.

Update: Tuesday, 8:30 am: Sitting in a cafe in town, trying to charge all the gadgets at once. Still no power at home. Last night, I cooked rapidly thawing steaks on our charcoal grill, with the eggplant I picked from my garden before the storm. It was a delicious dinner, and we ate outside, enjoying the sight of our neighborhood in complete darkness. No annoying streetlights to interfere with the stars! This morning, I made coffee on our camp stove.

I have never seen as many hummingbirds as I had at the feeders Monday morning. They were swarming! I still can’t believe they continued to feed throughout the storm. They are so hardcore.



About dirtynailz

Writer for a daily newspaper, gardener, tree hugger, orchid-grower, photographer, animal lover, hiker, wilderness seeker. Proponent of clover in the lawn and a dog on the bed.
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17 Responses to Hello Irene, Goodbye Garden

  1. Martha says:

    Oh, how awful. I’m sorry to hear that you are dealing with this. I hope you are safe, and that this passes quickly with little damage.


  2. cj wright says:

    It’s not clear what time you posted this, dirtynailz, but I hope that the worst of the storm is over for you and that you haven’t lost your electricity and are safe. Our plants are amazingly resilient. I guess that’s why they say, “bloom where you’re planted.” Keep posting updates if you’re able. Salt ponds are new to me. Will overflow from it affect your garden?


    • dirtynailz says:

      Actually, CJ, I posted it very early this morning just as Irene was arriving. It is not expected to peak for several hours yet!
      The salt pond will not affect my garden – at least not with this storm.

      I will post an update. Thanks for the great idea!


  3. eacpatsycunningham says:

    Wow, I guess I should have left my hummingbird feeder up too. I know the cardinals etc are poking around looking for food
    Patsy C


    • dirtynailz says:

      Hey Patsy, thanks for the “like!”
      I was able to leave the feeder in a relatively sheltered spot, but I wonder how they manage to fly to it in this wind.
      I love hummingbirds. They’re so gutsy.
      A flock of tree swallows just flew by. They were getting thrown around quite a bit, though.


  4. Across the world in another time zone, not sure how you are. Hope the storm passes and you are still OK. Thanks for thinking of the hummingbirds. How awful to be a tiny bird tossed around in that wind.


    • dirtynailz says:

      It warms my heart to know you are out there and that you care. We are ok, and it could have been so much worse. I never thought the hummingbirds would be out there feeding while all the other birds took cover. I guess that’s why they survive- courage and fortitude.


  5. Lib says:

    Hey dirtynailz! Glad you weathered Irene and are OK. I was amazed that my hummingbirds feed off and on through out the whole day and my birds (I had taken down the feeders) were landing on the post wondering where I put the feeders! I put them back out now (5:00P). It is still quite breezy here but not much rain. The biggest devastation was to my sunflowers; they were 8ft tall with lots of flowers. I need to go out and cut them and bring them inside.


    • dirtynailz says:

      Answering from my iPod. We are still without power. The National Guard is keeping people from entering the neighborhood, so we are kind of stuck for now.
      My sunflowers are destroyed too, and the morning glory looks like it was eaten and spat out. Sigh….


  6. cj wright says:

    It’s so good to know that you are safe, dirtynailz. This sounds grim, but post some pics for us. If you need seeds or anything, let us know.


    • dirtynailz says:

      I’ll post some shots of my smashed garden- if I can keep my laptop going.
      Thanks for thinking of me. I really am fine and very grateful that it wasn’t much worse.


  7. Wendy says:

    Glad you’re OK!

    We had some very strong winds, and for a few hours, it was pretty scary last night, but I don’t think there were many downed trees. Lots of power outages – 21 schools are still out for the first day of school tomorrow (of course the power in my school/work is on). 😦


    • dirtynailz says:

      I am writing from a cafe in town, because our power is still out. Yesterday I tossed the food in the fridge, and today I guess I’ll have to tackle the freezers.
      I will post tomorrow, from the cafe if necessary…..


  8. MT says:

    The power just returned here.
    Most importantly, I’m glad to here that you are OK, and as you have not reported any damage to your house I gather that it isn’t damaged. Sorry to hear about the damage to your garden, but it will be as good as new in the spring.
    Re, the toys, I was lost all evening.


  9. Lisa says:

    It’s interesting that we all identified with the tiny tough hummingbird. Glad the storm didn’t do any lasting damage to your home or garden.


    • dirtynailz says:

      Thanks, Lisa. Apart from having to toss all our food and clean up the garden, we are fine, and my heart goes out to those in places like Vermont where there is such devastation.

      During this past week, about 3/4 of my hummers have departed on their migratory journey. I really miss the squeaky one, who would lurk in the rhododendron and zoom out whenever another bird came to the feeder. Funny how chatty some of them are… I’ve been thinking about how tough they are, too, and wondering whether their ability to keep feeding through the storm is something they have to do sometimes when they are migrating and encounter storms. After all, they can’t stop feeding for long, and fall is hurricane season. Just a thought…


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