Sunday, June 30, 2013

A few more gardening pics

I took it easy today, other than going to the garden centre to get some Climatis Ivy and some roses. It was hot by Calgary standards, and Linda wanted to wait till the evening when it got a little cooler. That seemed like a good idea to me.

Just as we were about to head out Linda got a call from work about coming in next week. The only problem is that her manager had approved holidays for this coming week, long before the flood, but it seemed that someone didn't get the message. Considering many City servers were flooded I suppose that shouldn't be a big surprise. There's been a bit of back and forth and at the moment it looks like she still has vacation this coming week.

I got one chuckle out of the flood this week. The only bridge that failed was the one inspected by the company that runs trains over it. They were more interested in "not interrupting the flow of commerce" than ensuring public safety. There could easily have been 4 flaming rail cars floating down stream on a flooded Bow River. I can't think of how that could possibly turn out anything other than bad, and catastrophic is easy to imagine. Their idea of "inspection"seems to be answering the question, "are the tracks still there". Maybe this is why we have so many derailments. So much for industry self regulation.

It wasn't until I was a grown up that I fully understood the great Canadian curse, "God Damn the CPR!" They've run their tracks through the middle of almost every town in western Canada, and there is not a damn thing the municipalities can do about it. My work building is right beside the tracks, and let's just say it gets a bit distracting at times. I sure hope the City was keeping track during the bridge issue, and sends the CPR a bill. They ought to include lost time for 10's of thousands of people sitting in traffic as some of the major roads in Calgary were closed.

I feel for the people that were flooded. It's a horrible thing to happen to your home. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. But what were these people thinking? It's a flood plain. Now we all have to pay to rebuild their homes. In Calgary it might be another 100 years till they flood again. But that isn't true in High River. So far there have been a huge number of homes condemned. I don't know if they can search them for possessions that can be salvaged.

Before they rebuild the town, there ought to be some serious conversations, starting with the question is this a sensible place to build a town? Used to be we wanted to build near a river. Now we know how to reliably pump water and move goods, so this isn't as big a concern as it was. It should be no surprise that High River floods. The name is the first clue. I don't even know how many times it's had major floods, and this last few weeks isn't the first, or even the second. There's been a bunch of major floods, and any number of minor ones.

So if they decide they really do want to build a town there, they ought to take about a bazillion tonnes of gravel, and build the whole town about 10 feet higher. Or if that isn't an option, then put up huge banks on the river, and I do mean huge, say 10 to 20 feet above THIS flood level, and then decide where the town boundaries are, and put the same dike around the entire town. Too expensive, you say? Go fuck yourself with some barbed and pointy instrument. How often are we expected to let ordinary people lose everything from a flood? And how often are the taxpayers going to be on the hook for damage? Fix it once, and carry on. Maybe we shouldn't allow people to build in a flood plain, or do so at their own risk, with any home they build being completely uninsurable. Good luck getting a mortgage.

Where was I? Oh yes, plants. In the evening we got things planted. We have more day lilies than we know what to do with. We only planted a few a long time ago, and they've been happily breeding and growing. I was dealing with a solid root ball nearly a foot across at one point. Some might not survive. Oh well.

I do have to say I wasn't impressed with the class of people at the plant store. The staff were nice, the other customer's were jerks. Someone stole our cart. One big woman stopped in the middle where several of us were trying to get through, and announced with a pissy face that we had room to get by. She hadn't noticed we had roses. I managed to scratch her leg going by. Yay me!

Here's more photos of the patio. There are some climatis to climb up the lattice, and some roses and day lilies to help shade their roots. The big blue thing is a mint of some variety. I loves that corner.

It's been nice sitting outside on the patio. Lately the weather has been really nice for it. Watching some of our neighbour's checking it out has been fun. There's a bit more to do on the front, mainly the areas just around the boxes. The theory was that there was some extra plants there, with a brick border to keep the grass out. That was a futile thought. I'm not sure what is going to happen there. No doubt The One That Knows All is cogitating on it. I've got some tasks for tomorrow in prep for a big change.

Then will come the back yard. That will be more work than the entire front. It's a mess and I hate it. I'm not looking forward to doing anything with it. Does anyone have a teenager they could rent out for some slave labour, I mean that wants to earn some money for strong back, weak mind sort of work?

Today the only workout was some stretching in the morning, and after the gardening. Sophia had suggesting using a golf ball on my foot instead of a softball. That hurt a lot more than I thought it would. I didn't think my foot was that sort, in that one spot. My goodness. With any luck tomorrow I'll be up for my first road bike trip.


  1. Floodplain regulation changed a lot in the US as a result of the 1993 floods. It was a move in the right direction. I wish FEMA (or really their contractors) did a better job of producing quality flood maps. Often the local communities have better hydrology, hydraulic and topographic information that is ignored by the mapping contractors (my personal experience with two different county map updates since the town I was floodplain manager of sits on a county line). After 1993, most of the repetitive loss facilities (buildings) were bought out and the people relocated. The largest area of floodplain is now ballfields for the Parks dept - which was only inconvenient when they flooded out a week or two of games and practices recently when they were under 2' of water. Some minor cleanup and rechalking of the ball diamonds and we were good to go. That is what good floodplain management looks like. That said, I've helped developers work in and around floodplains before and it can be done prudently. Lowest finished floor and any equipment serving the building (a/c, etc) should be at least 1'-2' above base flood elevation (1% annual change aka "100 year flood"). You don't have to build it "ten feet higher" - just higher than the predicted flood elevation. And I'm sure ther

  2. I agree- High River should be moved. I don't think there were many homes that weren't affected by the flood. That should say something. It makes me sick to my stomach how under water some of those houses still are. It's devastating and I'm glad I don't have to make the decision about whether or not to abandon my house.

    The developers should be sued. So greedy.

    Your garden looks great! I like the mint plant. I laughed pretty hard at you scratching the lady's leg with your rose bush. Some people.


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