One Of Those Weeks

These photos perfectly illustrate the way my week has gone:

On the left is a butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) that I bought last fall for about $15.

I carefully amended our crummy soil and tucked the little plant lovingly into the ground.  I hovered over it, cheered when it survived the winter, worried when it died back to the ground in the spring, and cheered all over again when it put out a few tiny sprigs of new growth.  During this whole hot drought-ridden summer, I’ve been hand-carrying water to it.  It’s about a foot tall.

On the right is… you guessed it:  another butterfly bush.  It apparently started itself from some wayward seed carried by wind or birds or whatever.  It’s growing in bare gravel that was dug up last spring, so it’s at least a year younger than the plant I bought.  It’s never been fussed over (in fact I didn’t even notice it until it started to bloom) and it hasn’t received a single drop of water that didn’t fall from the sky.  Did I mention we’re having a drought?

But the intrepid new butterfly bush is three feet tall and growing like stink.  Go figure.

That’s the kind of week it’s been:  Our well is beginning to show the stress of the drought and we’re not sure if it will supply enough water to get us through the rest of the summer.  We’ve been wrestling with well drillers and water consultants AGAIN (I was really hoping we were done with that for a few decades), and we still don’t have a decision or quote or timeline.  Hubby is being his usual laid-back self, but I’m finding it immensely stressful and time-consuming.

Still, though, things could be worse:  I was sitting outside enjoying a cup of tea one morning and listening to the pounding of hammers over at the neighbours’ place when I heard *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* OW, SHIT-F*&$#$F*#@B&$!!!

After my wince and (I’m ashamed to admit) instinctive snicker, I waited worriedly for a car to rush past on the way to the emergency room; but a few minutes later I was relieved to hear laughter and jovial teasing.  I’m glad nobody got seriously hurt, but I bet their week was a whole lot worse than mine.

So… no complaints.  We still have water (so far).  I’m still clinging to sanity (or to be precise, I can still fake sanity convincingly).

And hey, I got two butterfly bushes for the price of one!

How’s your week going?

Book 14 update:  The water fiasco ate up a bunch of my writing time this week, but I still made it to Chapter 9.  Onward!


35 thoughts on “One Of Those Weeks

  1. My exsperience with butterfly bushes is they dont like “pretty” soil. They seem to thrive on neglect. Ive seen them grow in the cracks on stone walls and chimneys etc. Our soil here is mostly lots of rocks and slag on top of granite bedrock.
    I have a hedge of them around my front garden that are currently about 12-15 feet high. All of them grown from cuttings stuck in the ground about 5-6 years ago and left to fend for themselves. They were taken from my mils tree which was originally taken from cutting on one of the estates where her grandfather worked as a gardener…
    I hack them down to about 3 foot high in jan/feb every year and otherwards leave them be. If you dont chop them once established they get really ratty looking.
    Am Trying to kill the one in my backyard as its getting to big (small yard). I chopped it down to 8” in april and the *%£@*is 10 foot high now……….
    Course Scotland has no shortage of water but I used to have some in Oregon and even in the dry summers they were fine.
    Although, I had a hybrid one (yellow) that never has done as well and now seems to be reverting to the purple type. Maybe the one you got is a hybrid & why its stuggling?
    Or maybe its just being a £@&* to spite you… im not convinced plants can’t be suicidal… most of mine are….. :-/


    • LOL! You’re right – I’m sure some plants are suicidal. Or drama queens – if you’re not hovering over them every minute they throw a tantrum and die. In my yard, those ones don’t last too long. 😉

      And I think you’re right about the one I bought – its flowers are darker purple than my volunteer, so it’s probably a hybrid. (It’s funny how “hybrid” sounds a lot like “drama queen”…) I’ve never even heard of a yellow one – very cool!

      That’s good to learn about cutting them back hard – thank you. I didn’t realize butterfly bushes were so tough. We could never grow them on the prairies so I always thought of them as delicate. Nice to be wrong about that! 🙂


  2. Pingback: Mom Was Right Again | Diane Henders

  3. Go figure on your plants…sometimes mother nature likes to show us up….go figure!!
    Your lucky your water is soft, I equate well water with hard water and hard water is the pits. Not on well water here in Arizona, but have very hard water…
    I’m aware the Northwest has been hot and dry…hope that doesn’t continue much longer for you guys!
    Sounds weird for the southwest desert, but this is our rainy season with monsoon thunderstorms…very scattered, but when they hit your area, not unusual to get 2-3 inches of rain in less than an hour. We were just complaining last week that other parts of Phoenix were getting some nice rain and thunderstorms and our area hadn’t seen anything since the beginning of monsoon season (June 15th – Sept 15)….spoke too soon…60 -70- mile an hour winds and pouring rain….3 inches of rain in an hour. Needless to say lots of damage….over a thousand trees down (3 were mine)…mind you these are desert trees, so not uber huge like your trees, but trees none the less…what a mess…so that’s the last time I whine about not getting any rain or thunderstorms…


    • Oh, wow! You were punished severely for your comments! It must have been like standing under a giant bucket… in a wind tunnel. I’m glad your only casualties were trees.

      We were lucky – yesterday we got a small deluge of our own. Only an inch in an hour, so no comparison to yours; but we were certainly grateful for it! The northern end of the Island didn’t get any rain at all; but lightning sparked more than 30 new forest fires. It seems as though the whole province is burning. There’s an out-of-control wildfire about 30 miles away from us, but nothing closer, thank goodness. Bring on the rain!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I didn’t hear you had so many wild fires going on up there…our news is saturated with all of the California fires.
        30 miles is way close enough…hope that trend stops soon…I think I may have said this before…..I have lived through tornadoes, earthquakes and wild fires….to me nothing compares to a wildfire…that is truly hell on earth….stay safe!!


        • Thanks, Kirt. I can only imagine what it must be like for all the people who have been evacuated, waiting day after day without knowing whether they’ll have a home to return to. Fortunately the fire near us is in a river valley that run parallel to us, and there’s a mountain range (what we former Rocky Mountain dwellers would call “a few foothills”) between the fire and us. Firefighters have it 50% contained now, and they’ve been able to guide it away from the residential areas… so far, so good. The rainy season can’t come soon enough for me!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I had the third deepest well in Fairfax County Virginia at 800 feet! On top of that, it was a very low yielding well. I am very happy to be now on county water.
    With regard to your butterfly bush, I resort to Curmudgeon-at-Large maxim 14: Half of everything you plant, dies.


    • Eight hundred feet?!? Good lord, I didn’t think they ever drilled wells that deep. I think I would have given up around 250.

      And your Maxim 14 is absolutely right… and if I can attain a 50% survival rate, I consider myself lucky.


  5. Twenty-seven feet deep? And you have sufficient water for most of the year? Seriously? Holey cows! When I was drilling water wells, the shallowest depth we hit water was 55 feet. That was at our house on our first try-out of the rig we built The other half of the ‘we’ was the guy who was both the plant foreman at the business I owned at the time and a good friend. Fun stuff, that!

    We sort of scaled up one of those little portable drilling rigs that were advertised in the back of Popular Mechanics and other magazines at the time and had at it. My house was across the road from my business, so we’d try it, decide we needed to tweak something, drag whatever it was back across the road, cut/weld as needed, and have at it again. Hard work, to be sure, but we were both young men (early thirties and bulletproof). Gad, that was fun!

    Our deepest hole was 120 feet, but the average was a hundred or so. Basically, we’d go till we hit bedrock and quit. If we had water, we’d case it and gravel pack the hole. If the customer had electricity at the location, we’d sell him an appropriately-sized submersible pump and install it. If not, the customer would put up his own windmill.

    This was ‘off the Caprock’ in the Texas Panhandle and ‘way east of the famed Ogallala Aquifer. Over the aquifer, just punch a hole where you want a well. Anywhere will do. Off the Cap, as we called it, water was where you could find it. If you had it, rainfall would replenish the formation, and life was good. If you didn’t have it, you wouldn’t ever have it, because the formation was either too porous or it drained into a reservoir elsewhere. Thus, probably a third of the holes we punched were dry. But even those were fun to drill. Frustrating, but fun.

    All the best with your water situation. Oh, yeah. Was it an existing well on the property?


    • The developer drilled the well new in 2010, and it sat idle until we bought the bare property last year. We figured we might as well give it a try before going to a lot of expense to change things. We squeaked by last summer, and we might again this summer; but I’m tired of worrying about it. Time for a cistern!

      Your well-drilling rig sounds like a fine invention. Oh, to be thirty and bulletproof again! I can only imagine the time and effort and expense (and frustration) of drilling dry hole after dry hole. Just the thought of it makes me tense up with water-panic. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hanging with a good friend? Always time well spent. Hot, hard work? Always easier with a good friend. The thought of having to do all that today makes me cringe and grab for the Tylenol. The good memories remain. The bulletproofness, however, has left the building. 🤪

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’d be freaking out about the water, too, and my husband would be sitting around without a care in the world, too, so I HEAR YOU.

    I planted a butterfly bush three summers ago. It was excellent the first year, maybe even a bit bigger than I expected. It was medium sized the second year. This year only one sprig came back. I’m thinking it’s the location. It’s in full sun and next to a paved lane, so even though they’re supposed to like sun I think it’s just a bit too hot there.

    On the other hand, we have some perennial geraniums (look here for pictures: in the same spot that do very well; they are a mounding plant and provide blossoms all summer and I would recommend them highly. We used to have Stella D’Oro daylilies and teacup roses in the same area which also did well, but they got crowded out by some bushes (my fault). They were both good bloomers too. (Bloomers! ha ha) All of those were chosen by the landscaping company when we built our house thirty-two years ago, proving that they knew their stuff. The butterfly bush proves that I do NOT know my stuff 🙂

    But half the fun is trying things, isn’t it?


    • That’s it exactly! If we weren’t gardeners, we’d just hire professionals and never worry about a thing; but that would take the fun out of it. 😉

      I have one of those hardy geraniums and it performs exactly as advertised: it’s in full sun on a south-facing gravel bank and I throw a glass of water on it once a month or so; and it’s mounded up and surviving. Not blooming, though – maybe I should try a glass of water twice a month.

      I’ve got some Stella d’Oro’s, too, and a teacup rose – great minds think alike! They’re doing okay, too, but everything suffers when it hits 37C every day. They keep promising a balmy 29C, but it’s always two days away. If we could water freely everything would be fine, but… well. ;-p

      (‘Bloomers’ – ha ha!)


  7. Mother nature is a smart old gal. blows my mind every time I look outside. Things I plant drag around but what she throws in outdoes it all. We live in Alabama and have well water. at one time or another we have had very shallow wells, one a couple hundred feet deep. one about half that. lucky my nephew is a well driller. I wouldn’t have city water on a bet. Why pay for what is just lurking there in the ground. You don’t watch out you will be starting 15 soon. Can’t wait.


    • Thanks, Barbara! I was happy to get some progress on 14 this week in the midst of all the calls and studying wells and pumps and cisterns and filtration on the internet.

      Our well is only 27 feet deep, and it yields 7 gallons per minute ten months out of the year, but now that the water table is dropping we’re starting to suck air after running the pump for a while. We’re probably not anywhere near going dry; but I grew up on the prairies where we had to truck in all our water, and water rationing is drummed into my bones. Even when we have more than enough I’m a water miser; and now that we’re running a bit lower I’m completely freaking out. MUST… HAVE… MORE… WATER!!! I know I’m overreacting; but it’s funny how that doesn’t seem to make a difference. 😉


      • I just re-read that and didn’t make clear some of ours have been less than 20 feet deep. The one we use now is about 100 I think. So far we have never run out. We also have springs up the hill behind house. Maybe that explains all the shallow-deep water tables. Sure hope you get er done soon so you can stop worrying with it.


  8. I don’t know if you are familiar with phlox – it’s a low growing spring perennial that comes is several shades from a white, pink, lavender, blue and several years ago I found one in yellow. Anyway I have a large area in my side yard that is basically a large rock. It extends quite a ways into the yard (made a good base for my trailer shelter and part of my driveway). You know the kind where nothing can be planted and expected to grow? Well, many years ago I purchased some phlox plants to plant around the base of a pine tree and they did amazingly well considering my dearly beloved dog thought it made a good resting place for him in the winter. Guess where I’ve found other phlox plants? Growing on top of the rock. You couldn’t “plant” anything there and expect it to live if you tried. My rock looks very pretty in the spring.


    • That’s hilarious! (And par for the course.) And how cool that you found a yellow phlox – I’ve never seen one of those! I love phlox, but I haven’t been able to get it to survive yet. Everybody says it’s tough and easy to grow, so I’m determined – I will keep trying! We need more sun-loving plants around here – despite all the big trees surrounding us, the yard is wide open. Maybe next year…


  9. Better than yours!!! If you are allowed put in a 6000 gallon or more water tank that at least of the states are permitted, the truck in shop expensive water until you’re with well recovers and it should see you through


    • Yep, I’m starting to rethink my fussing over the garden – apparently it can do better without me. 😉

      We’re allowed to put in whatever storage capacity we want, and we’ve got lots of space to do it; but we might go with a smaller cistern for potable water and then put a liner in one or both of the borrow-pits we dug for fill so we can use that water for the garden. The small pit would give us about 80,000 gallons; and I haven’t even bothered to calculate the big one – probably four times bigger, or more. But the more storage we put in, the more it costs, and the budget is squeaking already… *sigh*


  10. It is a bit deflating when nature does better without your input, isn’t it? Drought years are a bit worrisome, too, but like you I live in a normally green part of the continent. I had my well drilled deeper for more storage capacity. Your neighbors are at least entertaining f nothing else. When I was building we usually referred to framing hammers as “meat tenderizers.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Meat tenderizers” – OUCH! (And LOL!)

      The last two summers have set records for the driest in recorded history; but we’re hoping that won’t continue. We’re going to put in a cistern to buffer the well and a pond to catch rainwater, so hopefully this will be the last summer that the drought really worries us. *fingers crossed*

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Well, (pun intended) my week has been all about dental surgery and pain management, but at least that will pass in time. A dry well can be forever. Hope you get a solution.

    Likely you just missed the sign when you bought the bush – the 2 for 1 sale they have in the fall.


    • That must have been it! And thank you for your well wishes (sorry, couldn’t resist). We have a shallow well – 27 feet with pure gravel all the way down to the clay layer. We’re right beside a creek that percolates through the gravel to our well, so we have more water than we could ever use as soon as the rains start; but after two months of drought the pickin’s get slimmer. We made it through last summer’s drought all right, but we’re going to put in a cistern so we can trickle-pump from the well for a summer buffer. Now the only question is whether we can get that done before we don’t have enough water to fill it…

      Fortunately there are lots of water-hauling services here on the Island!

      Liked by 1 person

        • Totally! But even our acreage is a different world. Our neighbours half a mile down the road have a 200 foot well, and I think that’s normal in this area. It was just the luck of the draw that our spot near the creek yielded good water at such a shallow depth. It’s nice soft water, too – basically just filtered rainwater, although it picks up a lot of iron and manganese from the surrounding gravel.

          Liked by 1 person

          • In Australia we would have steel tanks above ground, and collect water from the property roof (or fill them from tankers if it never rained). Do you not have those in Canada, or is it too cold in winter?


            • Winter is too cold for above-ground tanks in most of Canada, but here on Vancouver Island they work fine at lower elevations. We live near the mountains so our winter temperatures are a little colder than the coast. Large tanks would likely be okay, but piping could freeze and burst.

              We’ve been studying the Australian water-collection systems – very practical. Rainwater is such a precious commodity, we hate to waste it. We’re planning to put a liner in our dugout pond so we can catch and store our winter rainfall without worrying about pipes freezing. 🙂


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.