Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Late GBBD: Giving Thanks

I was going to sit down Sunday afternoon and write a late post for the monthly Garden Blogger's Bloom Day.  I was too busy to get a post out on time on November 15, and I wasn't feeling very inspired anyway.  The weather has been crazy this past week from snow and temperatures in the teens on Wednesday to blustery temps in the 60's with rain this weekend, and frankly, there is nothing blooming here anymore.  (If you are here to see some pretty photos, look at my last post from the week before.) If I had been on time, I probably would have complained a little or at least been somewhat apologetic for the lack of interesting material, but all that changed on Sunday

A shy pansy shivering in the snow last week.
My husband and I were coming home from dinner at a local restaurant when his phone went off, alerting us to a tornado warning in our area.  We managed to get home just as the wind picked up and raindrops began to pelt our heads.  I quickly corralled the dogs and headed for the basement and turned on the weather reports.  I watched as the announcer showed all the red areas on the map and explained the likely path of the different tornadoes around us and saw a few early photos of the devastation in East Peoria and the nearby small town of Washington, Illinois.  Just as the all-clear was given, the power went out, plunging me and the bewildered dogs into darkness.

Fortunately, daylight was still streaming through the windows upstairs, and I surveyed the aftermath of the storm--not much, just a few limbs down, a piece of siding pulled off a shed, and an empty garbage can blown across the driveway.  Relieved that the storm was over, I sat on the couch with my Ipad, but with no internet access and no TV to watch the Bears' game, after awhile I decided the best thing to do was to take a nap.  The sudden sound of the football game awoke me some time later as power was restored.

The only "real" bloom at the moment--a geranium overwintering in the garage.

It wasn't until later when I opened my Ipad again to search for weather reports and news of the storm that I discovered a nearby small town had been devastated by the tornado. News reports were sketchy, but Facebook posts provided up-to-date information as many of my local friends posted their concerns or confirmed the safety of friends and family; a few even shared photos they were able to take, showing the destruction.

Needless to say, my Bloom Day post was forgotten, and I am certainly not going to complain about something so trivial as lacking blooms today--it is November, after all!   I spent the evening watching the local news and keeping up with reports on Facebook.  Gifford is a small town about 15 miles from us, but even closer to the town where I grew up and lived for most of my life, and I know many people who live there.  It is part of a close-knit community of small farming towns, people who share similar values and a strong work ethic.  Even as residents surveyed the damage to their homes with dismay, they gave thanks that no one was seriously injured. Reactions from others have been heartening and a reminder of all that is good about small town living where people are always willing to help their neighbors.  Nearby farmers brought in tractors with loaders to help clear the debris.  An outpouring of support and offers of help have come from all the surrounding communities. Individuals are organizing donation drives, and some businesses are donating a portion of their sales to the relief effort.

A surprise bloom from two weeks ago--Cyclamen hederifolium.  I had forgotten I planted these!  A sweet little bloom rising above the dying shade garden.
I am thankful today to live in such a caring community where neighbors look after each other.  Even as residents of Gifford and the other areas hit by the tornado pick up the pieces of their lives, they are making plans to rebuild.  I know this town will bloom again.

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day is hosted the 15th of each month by Carol of May Dreams Gardens.


  1. I'm so glad to hear that you are safe. I can only imagine what those poor people are going through.God be with them.

  2. Such an encouraging post Rose. Love the little Cyclamen bloom. Nothing but a thanksgiving cactus blooming here. Good to hear you are safe. It was a scary storm. Too close for comfort.

  3. Beautiful photos!
    Greetings, RW & SK

  4. Your pictures are so pretty !

  5. I am so glad you were not in the path of those tornadoes. The photos have been heartbreaking!

  6. I'm glad you're safe. I love that first photo. For some reason the snow looks as it were part of the flower! :-)

    Greetings from London.

  7. Oh my. I didn't know you lived so close to the devastation seen in Washington, IL. I'm happy to hear that your area was not hard hit. It is good to see how communities come together.

    I enjoyed seeing your photos. The pansy in the snow was quite nice. I guess blooming season is really over. I always hate that.

  8. Rose,
    How wonderful to hear from you!
    I can definitely relate, seeing the devastation in our state makes a person grateful.

    I am on the mend, I thank you so much for your caring words, Rose!

  9. Rose, I'm glad you're fine! It's happiness to live in such caring community where neighbors help and take care of other people living nearby.
    have a nice week!

  10. Dear Rose,

    I watched the storm on the BBC News and was horrified seeing the destruction the tornado caused.
    I prayed that you were ok.
    It brought tears to my eyes to see people standing amongst the debris that was once their home.

    I am so pleased to hear that the folk who live in the small town are pulling together. Community spirit is a wonderful thing and can conquer most things.

  11. It was pretty scary Sunday for sure. So sorry for the losses in your area but glad you were spared the worst of it. Stay safe my friend and Happy Holidays to you!

  12. I am so glad you came out of it relatively damage-free, and that no one you are close to was badly hurt. At times like that you really do get your priorities in order, don't you.

  13. How scary to have to shelter from a suspected tornado. Glad it didn't do real damage.You are lucky to have a basement to hide in. We would have now where to hide.
    Things like this certainly make you grateful to be alive.
    Maggie x

    Nuts in May

  14. I followed the news of the tornado's on the news. I am so very pleased to see you are safe. I hope the people living nearby have the posibility to start al over again, eventhough it will be hart.
    Take care Rose
    Warm wishes from here.

  15. How scary! I'm relieve to hear that you are alright and that your neighbors survived the direct hit. That pansy in snow captures the weather extremes well.

  16. My thoughts are with those trying to recover from such an awful experience. You put it in perspective so well in this post.

  17. It is horrifying how many people's lives are turned upside down by weather events. I hope the communities around you can recover, although it will take time.

  18. So scary to be near the path of a tornado! I'm glad you and your family are alright. That is definitely a reason to give thanks! I'm always impressed with how towns will band together to help when there is a disaster. I hope the towns that have experienced such devastation will be able to get back on their feet soon!

  19. That tornado was so destructive. It is frightening how much damage there was. Do you all have a storm shelter? Did I miss you saying so? Think I would.
    Love your little Cyclamen, they are so sweet.

  20. So happy you escaped the devastation. It was all over our news and we were warned of getting 60mph winds. It never was that bad here, winds at 45mph. We got a bit of snow too. Flowers look both pretty and pathetic in the snow, but they made it through until the next day and bloomed on.

  21. Dear Rose: That was a crazy day. I've been thinking about all our neighbors--including you--in Illinois. We had strong storms here, too, but nothing like that. I'm so glad you're OK! I had no idea there were so many EF3 and EF4 tornadoes. How touching to explain the little town of Gifford blooming again.

  22. Glad that you got through the tornado with minor damage. I feel for all the people in the nearby town and hope that the rebuilding goes smoothly. It is heartwarming when a community bands together. It reaffirms your faith in humanity.

  23. Hi Rose, I have been thinking about you, and wondering if you were in the areas hit by the tornadoes. I'm glad to hear that people are pulling together and helping each other, and that no one was hurt badly.

    Take care, and have a good Thanksgiving,


  24. Thank you to all for visiting and for your concern for all those affected by the tornadoes here in Illinois. The news has been filled with so many heartwarming stories of the kindness of people helping the victims and of the strength of the people of this community, it really does restore one's faith in the goodness of humanity.

    Sally, I live about an hour and a half away from Washington, which was badly hit. But there were several tornadoes that day, including the one that devastated the small town near me.

    Janet, Yes, we have a basement, which is where I was that day!

    Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

  25. That was a very scary day. I know someone who lives in Washington and lost his house. Very glad to hear that you are OK and didn't suffer from too much damage.

  26. How scary! But maybe even more scary for a Welshwoman is the fact that you have tornado warnings and a basement to go to shelter in. Brr.

    Glad you're safe and sound.

  27. Rose, I'm glad the tornado spared you. Having lived in Illinois years ago, I know the possibilities. All the best.


Thanks for stopping by. I love to hear from you, so please leave a comment. I'll try to reply here, but I'll definitely return the visit.