Friday, August 5, 2011

Up On The Roof (But Not For Long)

Why was I up on the roof, you may ask? Well, ok you didn't ask, but I'll explain anyway.  Last Saturday I was watering the planters in front of the garage when I noticed the nails on a few of the edge shingles were coming up a bit, so I asked Carl to hold the ladder for me while I went up there to check it out.  

There was a time not so long ago that I wouldn't have needed anyone to hold a ladder for me; we've always roofed houses for ourselves and friends and I'm not afraid of heights at all.   But lately, I'm not as sure of myself as I once was.  I guess it's age catching up with me, or maybe common sense, or a little bit of both.  The last time we put a new roof on the house and garage was eleven years ago.  In fact, Ann and I (yes, we've been friends and partners in crime for that long and longer) put the roof on the garage ourselves while Carl was at work and the boys were in school.  I was 42 and Ann was 29----good grief, where did that time go??
Anyway, once I got up there I noticed for the first time how the sky to the northwest was looking rather grim; there was a fierce-looking thunderstorm approaching rapidly.  I asked Carl to go get the camera for me so I could take pictures of the garden from the roof before the storm (possibly) destroyed the view.  
There Carl goes (all you can see is his hat, lol), off to get a hammer to fix the roof.
We had temps in the upper 80's last weekend and the roof was excruciatingly hot, when I put my hands down on the shingles it felt like touching a hot stove burner. I was thankful all we had to do was hammer down a few nails; I cannot imagine shingling a house in that heat, though I know people do it.  All I can say is, Ouch!

I had the camera in my hand and thunder was echoing off the woods in the distance, so I figured it was high-time to take some pictures.  I stood up on the roof and found that when I tried to focus with one eye closed, my equilibrium faltered ever so slightly, in other words, sit down before you fall down!  So I crept to the edge of the roof on my hands and knees and took a picture:
You can just see the dark blue sky in the upper right-hand corner, that's the storm, and it's coming in fast.
I'm still a little shaky up there yet, but I decided there was no time like the present to take some pictures since the early storm reports were not good; this one had the potential for all sorts of madness and mayhem--hail, straight line winds, torrential downpours, and lions and tigers and bears, oh my.  (Try to overlook the life jackets and other assorted canoeing/kayaking apparel haphazardly draped over the railings on the gazebo.  Doesn't everyone keep life jackets in their back yard?)
There's my washlines, too.  (At least the laundry wasn't on the line, though a second rinse and a flap-dry ain't necessarily a bad thing, lol.)

I'm getting a little bolder now, and forgot all about hammering down the nails as I watch the storm come in closer.  Carl came up on the roof and took care of the shingles while I ooohed and ahhhed over the clouds.  "Just keep taking pictures," he advised. 
Too bad I couldn't add sound effects to this, there was a steady rumble of thunder, but no close lightning yet.  (And I wonder where Joel gets the tendency to go out and try to capture lightning pictures....?)  
Hang in there, ol' Aermotor windmill...but then I got to thinking about how many storms that old thing has endured in its lifetime.  It is WAY older than I am (yes, people, there is something older than me out there.) 
While I was sitting there, a red-tailed hawk flew by, headed for the safety of the woods.  He had a tailwind helping him along, but he was still flapping for all he was worth. 
Getting really dark to the northwest now, but then the sun broke through for awhile.  (I can't get over how much our River Bed looks like a giant caterpillar from the air, lol)
I flopped down on my belly (dang, those shingles are still hot) and took this picture leaning over the peak of the garage.  The urn looks really different from the top down.  That's 'Jester' millet and portulaca.
Sitting up again, I notice the storm is now much closer, though it is still as still can be.  Ah, yes, the Calm Before the Storm.
Ok, the 'calm' is being broken by some really loud thunder.  Maybe it's time to climb down?
One last parting shot of the windmill....notice it's just sitting, not turning at all yet.
Ok, back on Terra Firma, phew, I had some issues with figuring out how to get off the roof; do I try to sit on my ample backside and put my feet on the ladder and then turn around or turn around first on my hands and knees and then back down?  The thunder made my mind up for me, just MOVE!
Yup, that's a storm, all right.
There goes Carl, off to rescue the wheelbarrow. 
Still no wind to speak of yet, I figured we might not have anything to look at after this storm, so I kept taking pictures.
I climbed up on the stepladder to take this one, that's right, I'm not close enough to the lightning, might as well meet it halfway.
Then it really got dark out, but it's so interesting to see how lighting changes make the flowers look different...hmmm...and I thought it was too bad I hadn't staked those tall OT lilies in the background.  Phooey. 
Looking mighty impressive, but still not much going on except a lot of thundering.  And then the wind finally showed up.  RUN!
Good thing willows know how to bend....hmmmmmm.......'up on the roof'......'willows know how to bend'........apparently I'm channeling some old songs here.
I headed for the safety of our screened-in porch on the front of the house.  I love to sit here and watch it rain and smell it rain too, love the smell of rain!  Carl ran inside to watch the radar.
Soon the rain was pouring down by the buckets and my view through the screen looked like a watercolor painting.
Wow, did it rain!  The eavetroughs could not keep up with it, the water was pouring off the roof too fast.  Water was starting to pool on the lawn and this was only ten minutes into the storm.
Kind of hard to see, but the ditch on the other side of the driveway is already 3/4 full, it just came down in buckets.
Finally it started to ease off a bit, but look how much water is already standing on the lawn.  We ended up with 3.5 inches in less than an hour. Just as quickly as it had come, it was over and the sun came out.

Time to go and see how the garden held up.  I never thought the tall lilies would come through all that wind, but they did.  These are over 6' tall.
Pollen smeared a little bit, but other than that, good to go.
The old fenceposts probably helped support the lilies somewhat.  I'm so glad the neighbor brought them over, I wish I had enough money to put split-rail fences all over the gardens.
Hard to believe the difference a few hours makes in the sky conditions.  We were very lucky, the storm did major tree damage in many places, even less than a mile away.
We had a few limbs down on the willow, but everything else came through just fine.  Things were squishy, though.
The windmill made it through, too.
The lilies over by the Formal Garden had no problems, either, not even so much as a missing petal.  We were really lucky.
So calm and peaceful after the storm (except for the mosquitoes, who were having a field day chewing on me.)

This is the time of day I love the most, sunset.  Especially after a rain.
The impatiens were glad of the rain, they have rather tough sledding near Iceberg, our big granite rock.
You'd never think there was a storm raging less than two hours before.  And this year, we have water in the Quarry Pond, just like last year.  Normally, this time of year we have a puddle because the pond is not lined and we have to rely on the ground water levels.
The trees were still dripping, and so was I, though it looks cool and refreshing out, it was very hot and muggy.
The 'Tiger Eye' sumac looked really neat backlit by the sun.  When I bought the shrub there were promises that it didn't run like normal sumac (and we all know that was a fib) but despite it's habit of popping up here and there, I still like it.

'Annabelle' hydrangea, wet and weary, but still hanging on.
Even stuff on the front of the house came through really well, those tall grasses can take a lot of wind, too.
My goodness, I have long legs in this photo, lol.
I liked the way the impatiens flowers arranged themselves almost like orchids. 
Even over on the lane bed in Daylily Land (these are reject daylilies given to us by a hybridizer friend) the garden came through ok.  This bed is one of our experiments with planting a shrub and tree border.  So far, well, it doesn't look bad, but it's going to need some serious pruning or something in the future.  I'd have to look for an older picture, but we used to have thirty hybrid poplar trees planted along the lane and they grew to be huge and shaded out the hosta bed too much, so we took them down in 2004 and planted this shrub border instead. 
I guess it all depends on whether or not we don't mind if the spruce and pine and shrubs all touch each other.  In the past, I've been trying to keep a reasonable spacing between the trees, but I guess it's not really all that important.  This border gives us a windbreak from the nor'easterly winds that plague us, especially in the fall and winter, and if it's crowded, I guess, what's the difference?  There's 'Fat Albert' spruce, several Serbian spruces, Tiger Eye sumac and white pine, tamarack and assorted shrubberies.  Yeah, we got a little carried away.
It's a long border, over 150' , and I have an infestation of sow thistle in here and no amount of smothering it with mulch or pulling it by hand seems to slow it down.  I guess I'll have to get after it with some chemical or other, though I hate to use chemicals.  We were thinking if we dug out the daylilies we could battle the weed more easily, but then the daylilies bloom and well........I lose all my desire to dig them out and get rid of them.  For a few weeks, they are amazingly beautiful in this bed.
Hard to believe, but these are our friend's 'rejects' from his hybridizing....can you imagine what his 'keepers' look like??

I'm walking down the road here, swatting the skeeters and taking pictures as I go.  The only damage I saw was the lone willow branch in the foreground. 
We made it through another storm. 
I was glad there was something left for the Red Hat Ladies to see this past Monday.  Oh, the Red Hat Ladies!  I plumb (almost) forgot about their visit, because on Tuesday we had our wonderful Texas guests, Cindy & Shawn here.  
The Red Hatters were a very fun group, but it was so hot when they came.  I have pictures to share on their visit, too, but this one is way too long already.  I'm so far behind on blogging again, we went to Symco last Sunday, so I have tractors to talk about too, and then this weekend is the big Hamburger Celebration in town (with the possibility of hot air balloons landing here again, keeping fingers crossed for the right wind direction) and more guest photographers and this coming Sunday I have another Red Hat group coming for a tea Stay Tuned....things just keep on keepin' on around here.  Never a dull moment.
I'm linking up with Tootsie's Most Excellent Fertilizer Friday
 and all of the fun on her blog.  Don't miss it!


Peonies & Magnolias said...

So glad the storms rolling through left no damage. I love your pics from up above. Gives a much better view of all your gorgeous gardens. Thanks for tour. Have a great weekend.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Your photos are great from the roof, glad you didn't tumble down into the foliage! Things do look very different when you look down on them. It's kind of like looking at a drawing of your garden.


Darla said...

An entirely different perspective from the roof huh? It's still beautiful to me. There is never a dull moment around your place. I hope my husband and I can be like you and Carl one day.

Toni - Signature Gardens said...

Karen, I do not know where to begin with my WOWS!!!!! Those views from the room are amazing -- big wow. And another wow is the fact that you were even up on the roof taking pictures. And to top that off, you put the roof on yourself!! Are you kidding me?? And wow on that storm -- that's some serious rain! Can you please send some down here :-) And when I saw that picture taken through the window, my first reaction was that it looked like a Monet! Beautiful! And the lilies. And the reflections in the pond. And and and....just spectacular. I sure hope the rain holds off when we visit. I am going to cry if I don't get to see your garden in person! What a treat the red hats must have had!

Kelsie From Our Country Home said...

Oh my Karen you are a much braver lady than I am...I do not do heights at all...but I did enjoy seeing your garden from that view point...I love your layout.
Glad everything survived the storm and that it gave your pond a few more inches of water to boot....I wish I knew someone rejecting some day lilies :)

I would also like to say thank you for all the lovely comments you leave for me, I find them very uplifting and of great encouragement...My only wish was that I could reply to each of them individually but as you have a "noreply" email address on them I can not...But please know I read and often reread them and they mean a great deal to me.

Blessings Kelsie

FlowerLady said...

Wow, just isn't quite the word, but I don't know what else to use. Fantastic photos, from above and of the storm and after. I really loved the one you took from your screened porch that looked like a watercolor. You and Carl have done a wonderful job there.

I am scared of heights. I did help DH build our three outbuildings though and climbed ladders, carried beams to the top, and even did roof work. I kept my behind hugged to the roof for the most part and scooted along. The worst part for me was getting off the ladder onto the roof, and then getting onto the ladder from the roof. I have cried over that, big baby that I am. It's taking that first step that scares the you know what out of me, even with DH there holding the ladder, or holding my hand.

Thanks again for yet another wonderful tour of your lovely property.

Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

MorningGlory said...

I love 'visiting' your gardens every day. These are beautiful pictures. I have to tell you, though: I never heard the term 'eavetroughs' before. Is that a Wisconsin thing? Down here in Dixie we just call 'em 'gutters'.

Alison said...

Be careful up there! You got some great pictures of the storm coming in. All those dark clouds, and then the darker pictures have so much atmosphere (no pun intended). Also, love he shot through the screen with the rain coming down.

I'm looking forward to all our future posts that you are backed up on. I just know those red hats loved your garden.

El Gaucho said...

I'm glad you got off the roof in time, and it looked like it was JUST in time too. The garden shots from the roof are very interesting, it's amazing to me what a little height/perspective can do for picture taking.

El Gaucho said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie@Debbie-Dabble and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

So nice to meet you!! WOWZA!! what a magnificent garden you have!! It is amazing and so are uyou for going up on that roof like that. I am afraid of heights so I would have had a stroke up there!! LOL!
But the pics you took of there are beyond beleif!! Your gardens should be in a magazine if they weren't already!!
I have a tiny little yard but it is okay for me!
Thanks so much for your visit and I hope we will visit again soon!!


Lona said...

LOL! You are bonkers aren't you lady? LOL! I could always climb up but had an awful time getting back down. LOL!
That rain looked just like the one where we got the four inches in an hour. I loved seeing the birds eye view of your garden and the storm coming in. I am surprised that the lilies were still standing though. I love the shot of the old pitcher pump and hydrangeas. The garden looks all fresh after the rain.
Have a wonderful weekend.

Zoey said...

Oh, Karen, you make me nervous up there! I do love the rooftop pics of your garden. They almost make me want to climb up on mine to snap some photos.

I looked at that gazebo pic and thought how beautiful your yard was. I swear, I did not even notice the life jackets. I had to go back and look closely after you mentioned them.

I really enjoyed seeing the pics building up to the storm.

It is amazing how the flowers held up in that heavy rain.

A redhat tea party! What fun! Can’t wait for the photos.

Sandy said...

Great Photo Journal of the Storm coming in, through, then out for the sun to take over the land... nice shots!
So glad you did not get blown off the

Carol said...

Your gardens are stunning and I'm so jealous that you got to meet Cindy!

Sue said...

Well, that does're coming up here to my roof and take pictures. It gives such a different look and I love it!
We had a gal stop by one day trying to sell us a photo of our place from the air. It was really cool---but she took it in WINTER.
I don't want to see my 28 raised beds looking like a graveyard. I want the flowers in bloom and the veggies growing like mad. Silly woman. So , anyways, next best thing would be my barn roof. Are you game-LOL???

Millie said...

Wow! Your gardens are gorgeous! You are brave to get up on the roof too.

Anonymous said...

Karen, the 'tour' of your expansive gardens was wonderful. I enjoyed your rooftop views because you can actually see how big your gardens are from that vantage point. Everything is looking good too. You got some great photos as a result of the storm.

Jenni @ RainyDayGardener said...

Hi Karen, that is an amazing story of the storm! Here in the PNW storms don't come in that quickly, so it was fascinating to see what a storm looked like for you! You are a crazy kid though, up on your hot roof taking pictures! I enjoyed all of your photos and your gardens are impressive!! I enjoyed my visit to your blog today!

HolleyGarden said...

What dramatic pictures! It would have been dramatic just being on the roof, but add in the storm and I was worried not only that you might fall but that you might get hit by lightning, too! So much rain! I can't believe your garden (especially the tall lilies) didn't get any damage. It actually looks like it loved the rain. Beautiful gardens, whether it's from the ground or up above!

Shyrlene said...

I came over for a visit from Tufa Girl's link and am in awe... I have fallen in love with your gardens (they are SO inspirational) and your gift for writing. I'm hooked!

Larry said...

I used to love taking photos from the roof top... but that was before the arthritis took over and we added
the steel roof... next to impossible to climb that... especially at this stage of life! Some wonderful photos in your blog today! Larry

Diane said...

Wow, your gardens are just fabulous! The photos were well worth the little trip up to the roof.

Thanks very much for leaving the lovely comment on my blog.


Pam's English Garden said...

Dear Karen, Having no head for heights I am in awe of your roof escapades! I will never be able to get birds-eye pictures like yours. Your garden looks fabulous! I really don't know how you do it. P. x

Lana from Farm Life Lessons said...

Karen, you and Carl definitely make an excellent team! I absolutely love the pictures of the landscaping with the storm clouds in the background, gives a mix of beauty with the beast.

You must be a riot! But, your efforts paid off in giving your gardens a fresh perspective and non-sunny shots which were fascinating in their own right.

Thanks for sharing!

My garden haven said...

I love your garden, you know that, but this post is just captivating! I listened to your narrative(in my head, I could hear you talking to me), smiled and thoroughly enjoyed the whole sequence. I stayed right up to the end. Thank you so much.

Rosemary said...

Karen Another post that is so amusing. I too shake if I have to climb a ladder now. Age sucks doesn't it. What a great view from the roof, "caterpiller" looks so good.
Loved all the photos of the storm coming in and the pouring rain. Still dry here and I would so love to have a big thunder storm come in.
If you hadn't mentioned the sow thistle I had been thinking how pristine your gardens are.. I have a tiny garden and oh the weeds.... Enjoy the weekend and I hope the weather cools a bit for you.

Sall's Country Life said...

Thank heaven, I thought this story was heading toward Emerald City there for a bit! Glad the storm went through without any damage (or a house landing on the wicked witch):)
So many incredible beautiful photos! Loved seeing all the pretty views in the changing light of the clouds. Oh and loved the watercolor painting view from your sunroom! that would be my favorite spot during a storm!

Richard Boles said...

Oh, that is such a nice view from your roof! If I were you, I'd always climb up the roof and spend an hour or two there. It is so relaxing. Take care always. :)

Elwood Draffen said...

This looks so wonderful! No wonder why you love spending time on your roof! My wife and I also love to hang out there, especially during spring! BTW, how do you manage to keep your garden look extravagant all the time?