Category Archives: Extreme rainfall weather

Gardening helps heal this troubled soul

Tulip poking through euonymus shrub in Only Child’s garden spring 2017

One of the few things keeping me going this spring is my garden (the others are my writing, my son and friends who help me, reading, and even some TV shows). The latter two are much needed diversions and distractions from bad health with pain of some sort at some time during each day), and the Noah’s Ark-like weather – the latter worry mostly to do with that Nigel Applewaite the construction worker who messed up his contract and work to fix the basement leaks. And didn’t fix his mistakes. But that’s another post.

With all the rain we’ve been getting in southern Ontario (and elsewhere too), everything is coming up green outside – including the weeds. The latter are very prolific this year. So are the flowers and onions coming up from some planted last year, and the herbs and rhubarb. Already eating those latter three.

I remember my late mother’s garden – vegetable and flowers and the big shrubs. She and Dad would be out there digging up the garden and planting in April. That was in the 1950s. The world is a much wetter and colder place now. The latter doesn’t just refer to weather, although that was cold in April and for the most part (except for two or three days) this May, too.

So, I plan my gardening around the weather and all the other stuff I do. Doing a bit of gardening at a time is the way to weed a somewhat large garden and get things planted. And weeding gives me a safe outlet to deal with the oppressors and oppressions in my life. I have lost count how many weeds I’ve pulled with the name Nigel Applewaite.

Gardening also seems to revive my energy and provides some purpose. So does enjoying what is in the garden. Unless pouring with rain, daily, I take a walk around and in my garden. And sit out on the veranda and/or patio to eat, read and just enjoy the view.

The patio also brought forth another hurdle to get over. I needed a new umbrella to provide shade at the patio table – the one I had for seven years – second hand and a gift from a friend – finally stopped working late last summer so it went out to the curb for pickup.

You would think that getting a new umbrella would not be a major operation. Well I did check them out at Home Depot – too pricey and way too heavy to carry home – even thought it was only four blocks. So I checked Canadian Tire on line for selections and sale, then I asked one of my friends if she could drive me  – we had talked about his possibility before and she has helped me before (and her husband helped me get my bags of topsoil at Home Depot). She said she could do it on last Monday but when I phoned Monday morning to see about a time suitable to her, I got her husband and he told me in no uncertain terms that she couldn’t do it because they were going away for a couple of weeks and they would be busy for a week after they got back. And she had too many things to do before they went away.

Excuse me? Can’t she speak for herself and if she said she couldn’t do it because of time problems I could understand that – although a refusal when I first asked would have been best.

So, I asked my son if he could pick one up at Canadian Tire on his way here Saturday and I would pay him back. He said “no” because of having to lease a car to do it but offered to pay for a cab so I could come home with it. I said okay and I’d have to find out how to go about doing that from a store with no pay phone (remember I’m too poor to have a cell phone).

But I got lucky. Most of the patio umbrellas at Canadian Tire were light enough and packed in one of those carry bags (like you get fold up cloth patio chairs in) and I could carry it. Also the clerk I spoke there gave me info about getting a cab – if you need one when you pay tell the cashier and she or he will call a cab. So, I ended paying about half the price of those at Home Depot and got the umbrella home for free. I slung the umbrella pack over my shoulder and walked  block and a half to the bus stop and took the one bus home. When my son was here this Saturday, he set up the umbrella and showed me that it also can slant  (which I didn’t know). So the umbrella is there on the patio and if it is warm enough for lunch I just might sit out there with it open. The weekend was not good for that – too windy Saturday and yesterday and raining on Sunday.

So, I guess despite all the crap happening in my life, I still am a persistent stubborn so-and-so.

When I stop being that, then it is time to worry.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Extreme rainfall weather, Garden, Gardening, Gardening health benefits, Mom and Dad, Spring

Only Child says we are at the mercy of bad weather and bad forecasts

black_umbrellaI admit it. I am a Weather Network junkie – both online and on TV. So I see videos of the horrible weather and its havoc worldwide. The number one horror this summer is floods, with its downside of droughts.

No matter what country the videos cover, everyone and everything seems to be drowning. Except in a few places like southern Ontario – so far. Keeping toes crossed that we don’t swing over to the opposite. Yes, we need the rain, but in these unsettled (to put it mildly) times, rain usually means torrential downpours, severe thunderstorms, flooding and the like. I can count on two thumbs the one day and one night this summer that Toronto had a normal rainfall where each lasted about six or so hours – medium rainfall, steady, no thunder, no lightning, no flooding on the streets. Just what we need.

But except for those rainfalls, that is not what we are getting.

Here in southern Ontario we have drought conditions – not the highest in numbers but getting there. But the gardens seem to be surviving so far. Perennials, for the most part are bigger and better, and the vegetables and fruits are doing well. For the first time in several years I am getting a decent-sized, almost large (for just me) crop of carrots, lettuce, onions and beans with some peas in there for good measure. The black raspberries were numerous and the rhubarb is about the same as other years. So, the turnips aren’t doing well – some plants even died. So, the lawns turned brown. Some lawns (including mine) have started turning green again – without me watering it, although a few small pathways probably got some water when I watered the perennials, shrubs, trees and vegetable and herb garden. I made sure they received the water but at the same time tried not to use too much water.  I know the farmers need more rain although the ones with vegetables and fruit at the farmers`markets seem to be doing okay.

But do we really want the opposite? And all that could bring? Flooded streets and basements, sometimes to the point we lose our homes and have to swim or take a boat through the flooded streets, or climb to the roof and hope a helicopter will rescue us.

These days you can’t really live anywhere without this fear hovering overhead (literally). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Climate change has a lot to do with it. But, it is also like the lady on that bus in May 2015 said: “God controls the weather.”

So, I try to spend time in my garden – if I’m not weeding or picking beans, or watering the garden, I like to sit out there and read, look around, and dare I say it? just think.

It’s what I think about that has changed as has the weather – a lot of the changes in all areas, not just weather, are not for the better, and it seems to have gotten much worse since we entered the 21st century.

That’s my 10 dollar’s worth anyway.

Well, costs have risen too, although the Canadian dollar is in the toilet.

Sorry, bad connotation – the water element.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Extreme rainfall weather, Extreme Weather, Floods, God, Home and Garden, Rain, Weather

Flash flood rainfalls cause havoc in Toronto

Front of Only Child's House

Front of Only Child’s House

Toronto finally got rain last week and depending where in Toronto you live, that’s when you got it. My son and his girlfriend got the big rainfall on Sunday July 24 overnight. When they woke up Monday  morning they found rain pelting down from their ceiling – on the second floor of the house they live in. There is one floor above them. Their landlord fixed it – it was a pipe going through the ceiling.

My situation is a bit more complicated. While I do believe that God controls the weather and also that climate change has a lot to do with the extreme weather we are getting worldwide, I have an added factor – NIGEL APPLEWAITE – and I don’t mean the Hamilton  football player  who has an “h” in his last name, although it is sometimes misspelled without the “h” . I don’t know this fellow, don’t have a beef with him, so I do not mean him here. I wish this Nigel Applewhaite well.

I am referring  to Nigel Applewaite who supposedly fixed the water getting in my  basement through cracks by waterproofing it on the outside in the spring of 2011. It worked until late spring 2013 when water started coming in again in the laundry room and the rec room. Of course I called Nigel right away. He came over twice but would not take responsibility. He kept saying it could be the drains and to get them checked which I did. The City of Toronto supervisors checked it twice and the drains were fine – no water back up here and no blockages here. Nigel came back and made a half-ass attempt to find the cracks he had missed (He didn’t dig down as far as the weeping tiles like he should have and this “should have” I only found out from other people after the fact). Nigel put the hose on full throttle against one area of the wall and said to leave it for a few hours and he would have to check it like this over all areas. Then he left and never came back.

I wasn’t going to get anything from him that way and because the area is so small, other bigger contractors who do this work can’t get their heavy equipment in – not that I want that to happen with my perennial garden in front. They also don’t dig by hand. And I don’t have the money to pay for this either. Because Nigel is not a BBB member and I don’t have the time or money to sue him, I have made it my business to make sure everybody knows that he does shoddy work and to never hire him to water proof their basements. In particular, if I find out someone is needing their basement waterproofed I tell them “Don’t hire Nigel Applewaite because…” And I tell them my story.

Nigel Applewaite has no online presence – yet. I’m going to make sure he gets one though. People need to be aware of those so-called professionals who mess up any kind of home repairs. It is our homes we are dealing with.

Now, just wait until I go after the very incompetent handyman I had (the one who took three visits to get the sink drain working right) a few years ago;

I also like to praise the repair people who do a good job. So, although I’ve mentioned him by first name only, here is the name of the current fellow (since early 2014) I have hired for electrical, plumbing, painting and other repair jobs)  – Mike Ouillette  – don’t k now if he has an online presence, but he is located in the Toronto, Ontario area. He does good work and his fees are not cheap but not expensive either.

As for the flooding this time round on July 27 evening  – just a bit in the laundry room. But I still had to get two neighbours to help me move the washer, dryer and freezer so I could wipe up what was actually just damp – no puddles, probably partly because I have towels, mats and long foam sticks along the walls in the laundry room and the rec room. Yes, folks, that’s how I “decorate” the floor of my rec room, thanks to NIGEL APPLEWAITE.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

As a P.S. here, I have received some of the money that was owed me as mentioned in last week’s post. Still waiting for more government money and the rest of the client’s fee payment.

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Filed under Consumer action, Extreme rainfall weather, Floods, Leaky Basements, Only child, Rain

Only Child on the wicked weather – then and now

01910012I’m huddled in my bed as outside the rain and wind tangle and tango outside. The noise against my window is reaching the deafening point and I just want to crawl under the covers and disappear until it is all over.

My mother enters the room and comforts me.

“The rain won’t get in here,” she says. “We are on high ground.”

The occasion? Hurricane Hazel hitting Toronto with a vengeance in October 1954. And no water got into our bungalow and no tree or other damage was done in our area. In lower areas of Toronto, much damage was done. See the anniversary story at http://www.hurricanehazel.ca/

 

I’m huddled on the living room chesterfield, my eyes and mind glued to the TV. On The Weather Network, the meteorologist on duty and a senior meteorologist are taking us through the storm of heavy winds, heavy rain, non-stop lightning and thunder. This is for all of southern Ontario. Suddenly the Red Alert flashes and sounds on the screen. Tornado warning for the Goderich area. Goderich was hit by a devastating destructive tornado four years ago.

It is now June 2015 and my mother is long dead. It is just me. What was a very infrequent occurrence in 1954 is today the norm. Every time thunderstorms and/or heavy winds are forecast, we have to pause and to more than take note. We have to ask ourselves not if any damage will occur, but what damage will occur. And where.

The meteorologists used their digital maps and very competently explained down to the current minute what was occurring where and what was expected where and when in the next hour or two. At the bottom of the screen the Red Alert scrolled with ominous forecasts of heavy winds, heavy rainfall, flash flooding, hail, etc. including where. As the weather cells shifted around, the forecasts and locations changed somewhat – often for the worst.

I couldn’t help thinking that all this digital technology, the Canada-wide tornado alerts now issued by Environment Canada, can keep us all apprised of what is going on and what can happen. But it can’t change the weather. It can’t stop the too much extreme weather from occurring anywhere in the world. Is it better to know what is to come? Or is ignorance bliss?

Knowledge is supposed to be power. But knowledge can’t control the weather.

As the lady on the bus said the end of May.

“God controls the weather.”
And you can take that one whatever way you want to.

The floods, tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. are still coming.

For the record, a tornado did not hit Goderich – this time. But a tornado might have touched down just outside Goderich – Environment Canada is still checking that one out.
And in the Toronto area, the storm stuff died down around 2 a.m. and I finally went to bed and to sleep.

 

Today, we are not out of the woods. We have high winds and have to worry about power problems, trees and branches falling down.

Makes me wonder if the woods would be safer.

Just kidding. Although there is nothing funny about the weather in this millennium.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Extreme rainfall weather, Extreme Weather, Floods, God, Mom and Dad, Only child, Power Outages, Rain, Weather

Only Child finds a little sunshine between rainstorms

Part of Only Child's rose garden in front by the sidewalk

Part of Only Child’s rose garden in front by the sidewalk

Southern Ontario has been blasted with rain, thunder and lightning from late Sunday evening. The thunderstorms kept me awake with the noise and the worry of possible power outages and basement floods. I even got up once and checked the basement, but no water getting in then. The weather forecast looks very gloomy this week, except for Thursday, parts of Saturday, and Sunday. We don’t need all this rain in a short time – neither do the gardens and lawns.

But we all know the weather is screwed up no matter who or what we think is the cause. And it isn’t going to get any better according to a study from Australia. This Toronto Star story by Raveena Aulakh, from June 8, 2015 “ Risk of flooding rises with global warming, says study” looks at the research on the inner workings of rain storms and some disturbing implications come to light (or dark, which may be more appropriate). The story starts with: “After analyzing data from 40,000 storms, Australian researchers found peak rainfall intensifies when temperatures are higher.”

That is especially true in urban areas. The study was conducted in Sydney, Australia at the University of New South Wales where scientists focused on 40,000 storms that occurred in Australia during three decades. Just that number of storms is terrifying. What the scientists found out is even more terrifying – these warming temperatures (and yes, they used the cop-out cause of “climate change”) are messing up the patterns of the rain within the actual storms. The two researchers – Ashish Sharma, a professor in the university civil engineering and environment school and Conrad Wasko, a PhD candidate there – also figure that this is true for around the world.
While frightened and yes, angry, about all this, I am really not surprised. From what I’ve seen, not just from The Weather Network, but up close and personal, the weather worldwide has been going beyond hell in a hand basket as we entered the 21st. century. There were a few signs in the late 1990s but the situation has escalated a lot since we hit 2000. These bad weather patterns are only the tips of the rainfall (we may not have much in the way of icebergs in the near future) – that show me, the whole world in too many ways is skyrocketing off balance.
The Toronto Star story goes on about a few really bad flooding storms from two years ago in Canada, the June 2013 one in Calgary and southern Alberta, and the July 2013 one in Toronto, Canada. The Alberta one is the most costly in Canada (so far) and the Toronto one beat the 1954 Hurricane Hazel one in amount of rainfall. I said beat a hurricane which the July 2013 one wasn’t. You can read the full article at http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2015/06/08/risk-of-flooding-rises-with-global-warming-says-study.html
No wonder I am crabby and angry a lot of the time.
But I received a most welcome blessing last evening. Besides not getting the thunderstorms predicted for the afternoon and evening (God listened for a change), the sun was shining, so I decided to go for a walk. As I headed down my driveway a man walking by was verbally admiring my garden.
“I call it my wild garden,” I said. “I’m still catching up with all the weeds.”
“Yes,” he said, “but look at all the colour from the flowers.”
He’s right. The first lot of rosebushes are blooming red and white and they are fragrant; there are pink peonies, even the chives are doing their part with purple flowers.
It made me think. My garden is beautiful. It is also one of the few good things about this climate.
So, go out in your garden and enjoy. If you don’t have a garden, go to a public garden or park with a garden; walk along the street and look at your neighbour’s gardens. Do this while you still can, while all this is still here. Before the rain comes and floods it all away.
Cheers.
Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Extreme rainfall weather, Extreme Weather, Gardening, Only child, Rain, Roses, Weather