Grit Blogs > Rosedale Garden

Oil Lamps, Power Outages, Hummingbirds and Hooligans

A photo of MaryWe finally had rain at my place for the first time in a couple of weeks 1.8 inches fell in one storm, and we had some wind damage.  A small birdhouse at the end of my driveway with an Auburn logo on it that one of the neighbors put up for me years ago was thrown off of the mounting pole by the wind.  I noticed it when I pulled in the driveway. I parked in the garage and picked it up on the way to the mailbox. When two wasps came out of it I threw it several feet away and ran for the hills. I still have a rash and a long red streak from my last encounter with the wasps a few days before. Later, I went back armed with a wasp spray that shoots up to 27 feet.  

It seemed strange not having to water everything. I chased around some hummingbirds for a while trying to get pictures and then picked a gallon of figs and got them ready for drying. I’ll cover the processing in another post.

After getting the fuzz off of the figs and cutting them in half, I kept hearing a rumbling that sounded more like a rock concert going on at the Al Music Hall of Fame than a thunderstorm.  As it got closer the vivid lightening started.  I grabbed my flashlight and candle lighter and read the paper while I waited for it to hit, and boy did it hit.  I have never seen lightening like that. After about 15 minutes the power goes off and my weather radio starts blaring that we were under a severe thunderstorm warning. Yeah right, tell me something I don’t know. I turn on the flashlight and started getting my old oil lamp collection down off of the shelves and from a couple of the iron wall hangers which are nice to have.  

 antique porcelin lamp 
Antique porcelain lamp. I found 2 matching ones in two different states 

I get a call on my cell phone from work. So I’m trying to hold the flashlight in one hand, cell on my ear and pulling the hurricane off of the lamp to light it with the other hand.

porcelin lamp in hanger 
Porcelain lamp in wall hanger  

Then the weather radio goes off again that we have a flash flood warning; okay I didn’t know that from the rain pounding and lightening flashes on the skylight.  One of  modern oil lamps had a bad wick and burner and wouldn’t stay lit. I lit couple of those old fashion reproduction candle holders with a handle on them that look like something out of a Charles Dickens novel.   

mexican finger lamp 
Mexican finger lamp. This one does not have standard threads and burner mounts 

A couple of the lamps were made by a Mexican glass blower who didn’t use a standard burner mount.  For these types of lamps you can use a standard burner with a little modification.  Use plumbers putty in the screw cap of the burner and screw on the lamp, remove the excess and let harden.  One of the lamps had been turned into an electrical lamp.  A lamp supply place in told me to place a penny or marble over the whole and cover with epoxy.  I use  a clear flat glass decorative chip and use a generous amount of the epoxy and let it dry for several weeks. When I was sure it was nice and dry, I put about an inch of oil in the lamp for a couple of months to make sure it wasn’t going to leak before filling it.  

oil lamp on antique hanger
Antique lamp made for use in a wall hanger
Mexican oil lamp and handblown on right
Mexican lamp on left, hand blown lamp from late 1800s on right has air pockets in the glass.  The one on the left had been made into an electrical lamp. I repaired the hole and returned it to an oil lamp.
 

I finally had found some lamp oil a few weeks before, but hadn’t gotten around to putting it in the empty lamps, so I tried that by candlelight. I finished cutting up the figs by oil lamp and got them on the dehydrator and pulled it in so that it would come on when the power did.  Why is it that you know your power is off, but every time you go in a room you switch the lights on?   I checked on the dogs and only Blackie and Levi were on the front porch, and I asked them if Patches was out or back in the barn. I didn’t get an answer from them. 

After an hour without power I started worrying about my orange sherbet vanilla ice cream orange sherbet swirl melting in the freezer and decided to save it from a sloppy fate and had a large bowl by the light of one of the oil lamps. After all refrozen ice cream is just plain nasty. As I sat there saving the ice cream, I wondered if my ancestors roughed it like this.   

After the storm was over and it was getting late I decided to take a shower by candle light and I wondered if this was how my ancestors living on the same spot back in the 1800’s cleaned up?   My soap dispenser was out of body wash and I got a couple of bottles out of the cabinet trying to read the label by candle light and couldn’t.  How did Abe Lincoln study with a little dim light like this? Then I realized I didn’t have my glasses on in the dark.   

A little after 11 PM, I decided to go to call work and ask them to call me at 5 AM in case the battery backup was drained on my alarm clock and go to bed. As I was finding the number in my cell phone, I heard a noise outside; it was the air conditioner coming on.   

The next morning my question about Patches was answered; there she was leaned up against Mom’s garage door. She couldn’t get back in after the power came on.  I turned off the fence and walked down to the end of my drive to get the paper and kept calling her. I have them trained to come in the driveway if they have gotten out. She just laid there in Mom’s driveway looking. I walked back to the garage to get a leash and when I walked back out, she decided to finally obey my command get up and come to the end of the driveway, only I had to walk back to the end of the driveway to get her in.  Who’s got who trained right? 

Patches snake bite infection has finally cleared up. Blackie is still on an antibiotic for her UTI. She was also started on a special food diet to dissolve the bladder stones she has. The first one was a canned food that she ate for a couple of days. I would give her half of a can in the morning and the other half at night. One morning she had one bite left and literally picked it up in her mouth and spit it at me. She refused to eat any more of it. That night I gave her the other half of the can, and it was “ain’t no way.” So I left her in the screen porch with the food. The next morning it was still there.  I opened a new can and put a couple of spoons of the food in her bowl and she refused to eat it. I called the vets office and they said they had some dry that I could swap for. As I got out of my truck Blackie practically attacked me for the food. She ate that fine for two days again and then refused to eat it even when mixed half and half with her normal Purina ProPlan. She would take a mouth full drop it on the ground and pick out her food. Even after mixng in a generous helping of chicken broth she refused to eat the medicine. After a couple of days of putting the bowl down and back in the refrigerator after she refused and repeated over and over again.  At the end of the first round of antibiotics it was back to the vet. She decided on another two weeks of antibiotics and a few days later was started on Uroeze as by now she’s lost some weight refusing to eat the medicated food.  Now she’s happily eating her food and getting a pill stuffed down her throat several times a day. She’s not happy about that.  

Weather here has been hot and humid. Spring never made an appearance. Figs started ripening just before we received several inches of rain.  I was able to pick a gallon of them for drying despite my fig eating hooligan Patches. Any ripe fig within nose reach was bitten off.  After the rains, most were soured and popped open or rotten.  Even the fig bandit refused to eat them.  I’ve been working on my Deshler High School theme flower bed, burgundy and white flowers. One of my daylilies going into the bed called Indian Giver was dug and divided, potted last fall and heeled in for the winter. The first couple of pots had fire ants in them, so I dumped them to the side until they swarmed out.  I pulled out another and a swarm of red wasps shot out at me. I didn’t know this old girl with a bad knee could run as fast as I did, and I avoided being stung.  I placed the pots in the loader on the tractor and went back trying to see where the nest was, picked up the couple with the fire ants and went back to the tractor. Hanging on the side of one of the pots was the nest. I put the others in the loader, pulled the nest off and stomped it. Hopefully the wasps will relocate so I can get the rest of my plants. 

  male ruby throat
 Male ruby throat at my feeders. Notice my
hand made ant guard.  

Thanks to Samantha Biggers for choosing me as one of the winners of the Purina flip camera.  Oh course my first use of it was in the garden making a video of a hummingbird at my feeder less than two feet away and the Hooligans. The one of the hummer doesn’t have music added or has been edited; just listen to the hum of the hummer. Usually the hooligans are camped out on the back steps if they know I’m on the screen porch scaring away the hummingbirds. I was able to get the video before they found me.

  

mary carton
8/18/2011 8:39:02 PM

Thanks Dave. We've had so many severe thunderstorms & straight line winds, tornadoes this year that the power company has trouble keeping poles in stock. This has really been a crazy year. We had as much snow as we normally get in a hundred years and went straight to summer. I think the lamps are safer than using candles. Once I started collecting if I see one I like, it comes home, especially if it will fit in a wall bracket. Hope your flood goes away soon and your area gets back to normal. I saw that you won the other camera. You need to post the video on Youtube and put the link in your posts.


nebraska dave
8/18/2011 7:07:03 PM

Mary, you have some pretty fancy oil lamps for power outages. Does the power go out often? So far this year the power has not been off here. It surprises me because both our nuclear power plants have been off line since the flooding started last spring. They are located by the Missouri river and have water on the property but not in the plants. The water level is still way above flood stage and will remain there for a while longer. I hope that everything is back to normal once again. What ever that is around your place. :0) Oh, hey, and by the way your first video of the humming birds was great. I won the other camera from Samantha and will have to learn how to use it to post videos as well. Have a great day in the light.