Please be aware that I do not wish to have my photographs published , pinned or repinned on Pinterest.

copyright notice

Saturday, July 11, 2015



The dictionary defines a volunteer plant as a plant that 
springs up spontaneously.

Volunteer Sunflowers are one of the best gifts from my garden.  They bloom early and those sunflowers which I planted at the normal time will not bloom for another 3 weeks. 

We had a fantastic electrical storm 2 days ago. 
I turned off the computer and every other electrical gadget.
And then I heard a very loud bang.  
It was close by. 

I went outside to check on things.  
The top of the main house looked all right.  The chimney pots were not smoldering. 

The pineapple architectural pieces on top of the Guest house were still in place. 
They hadn't toppled off the roof. 

The stork towers were still solidly attached to the barn roof.

The metal balconies had not been hit.

Chimneys had not come down from the highest spot of all the buildings. 
All appeared to be A OK. 

We didn't have to call the Volunteer Fire Department.  

The hail didn't do too much damage and the rain that came pouring down was a welcome change.

 When it was all over the telephone didn't  work, nor did the television. 

And when it was time to close the gate for the night it wouldn't open or close.

Our gate is about 800 feet up the lane. 
It is operated by remote control from our kitchen, or barn or car. 

The lightning hit the circuit board in the barn and 
fried it (not my words but the electricians).

I'm surprised that our chickens survived because their coop is right next to the box which was hit.

However, they only laid two eggs the next day.  

The entire mechanism has to be replaced.  It is already on its way.  

Why did the lowest building of all of our buildings get hit.  And what about those tall trees? 

Take care dear friends and get to a safe spot when you see a storm brewing. 



  1. Dear Gina - I was interested to see your chimney pots and pineapples which you mention previously on my post - I also like the look of the roundel with the galloping horses.
    You were fortunate that you got away so lightly in the storm - we are in desperate need of some rain, not least because we had our lawns treated with fertiliser and weed killer a few days ago, and we need the rains to soak it in.

    1. Dear Rosemary, The roundel is a cast I had made from a larger woodcarving my father carved for me many years ago. The roundel is only a very small section of a herd of Mustang racing across the Nevada desert.
      Just the opposite happened here. We had our pastures sprayed for thistle infestation the day before the big rains came. We will probably have to call the man back to repeat the process. But no matter, even here, rain is always welcome. So we take it when we can.

  2. Hello Gina,
    You were very lucky, that more damage was not done. Lightning can be really dangerous.. I cant remember, when we had our last storm.
    Your sunflowers are amazing. My eldest son, found a "volunteer " so tall a few weeks ago.. the seed must have blown into the veggie patch.
    Much wanting of some good rainfall. The sunflower, was taller than me.
    Hope you get your gate fixed soon.
    happy summer days Gina.
    val x

    1. Dear Val, I hope that you kept the sunflower. It will probably surprise you next year with many new seedlings. When they are not too tall they can easily be transplanted to areas where they are more appreciated. Once you have them they usually come back which at this big place is a welcome sight.
      So many areas are so needing water. It is difficult to see your hard work disappear. Wishing you a torrent of rain and soon.

  3. You never knows with a thunderstorm, glad it was (only) the circuit board in the barn it could have been worse.
    I love those volunteers in your garden, the wonderful sunflowers, nice to have them so early.

    1. You are right, it could have been worse. As it is the damage was more extensive than earlier thought but it can all be fixed. At least no one was hurt. Unlike a few years ago when several cattle were killed during a thunder storm in one of our pastures.
      The early sunflowers just prove that seeds will come up when they are ready. I will have to pay closer attention next year and plant early and again a little later.

  4. Dear Gina,

    I'm glad you didn't suffer more damage than the gate (and I hope it's still working manually). I'm like you, always unplugging the computer when I hear lightening; it's too much of an investment not to! I've been enjoying our summer rains, if for no other reason than it cools things down a little. I had to turn off the AC when my house was tented for termites recently, and I worried that I'd come back to 100+ degrees. But it rained during the tenting, and the temperature rose to only 84º.

    1. Dear Mark,

      Termites! Oh no.

      To operate our gate manually it had to be partially dismantled. The only problem we have now is finding the right electronic parts. Our wonderful electrician has gone to the big sky to perform wonders up there. He was brilliant and could figure out how to make magic happen. Because our gate is so far up the road and we wanted to operate it from the house, he had to figure out a very complex system. We are now in the middle of solving the riddle, step by step.

    2. Good luck — it sounds as though you are in capable hands.

  5. When I lived in the midwest I had to worry about those electricity storms...not now, though, since I am back in Oregon. Thankfully, your precious housing structures which would have been a long-time in replacing, I am guessing, were not damaged. Even with the electrician's replacement circuit board -- at least it was fixable and it sounds like it will be completed quickly. I, too, am hoping you have a manual override for your security gate (?)

    I'm hoping the forecasted rain might actually happen tonight or tomorrow. We've had that recently, but it never materialized in my location.
    At least we've had a reprieve of those hot temps -- I comment to most people I pass in and out of stores. They all agree how much we are enjoying these cool mornings (high 50's) and not so hot afternoons (70 - 80's). August is still on the horizon, though.

    Mary in Oregon

    1. Dear Mary, I agree, the cool mornings and moderate temperatures feel great. Everything is growing well in our garden and it is fun to go out early in the morning with a cup of coffee to see what is new and beautiful.
      Hope you will get a reprieve soon from your dry weather. There is nothing like a good rain to freshen the air and help pretty flowers grow.

    2. That was one of my favorite pastimes, checking on my plants each morning after breakfast, with my cup of coffee! Those days are now more than 15 years ago... But, the good thing about where I live now is the wildlife: this morning I not only spied the twin baby deer but with them were another set of twins, sleeping next to each other - their back together and one head going east while the other's head facing west! I showed my cat through the window the baby deer and he started to purr and dig into my forearm! He is an inside cat although he has managed to escape every now and then. He really wanted to escape after that!


    3. Hi Mary, what a lovely picture to have witnessed.

  6. Dear Gina,
    I see not only sunflowers in your lovely vases but also what I know as 'Stolzer Heinrich'. It volunteers to grow all over my German garden
    and is a plant that gets very tall. The weather in your area has been quite unusual and here in the South we are used to the heat followed
    by the kind of storms you describe. Once a brand new Miele stove top was hit in our kitchen and thanks to the warranty all was fixed without charge. I am so glad to hear that no further damage was done to the precious ornaments on your house. Your garden looks splendid.
    Happy greetings, Sieglinde

    1. Dear Sieglinde,
      I'm so glad that you keep reminding me of names I have forgotten. "Stolzer Heinrich" (proud Heinrich) describes this plant so well. I don't know when I planted it in my garden but I'm so glad I did because it comes in handy when looking for a bouquet filler.

      I wonder what would have happened if you had been cooking and standing by your Miele cook top. I now have new respect for summer storms. I try not to be near anything that could act as a conductor.