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Arkansas has had its fair share of weather events this year, and we are not alone. Watching the nightly news there is some weather disaster in one state or the other daily it seems. While our neighborhood was not involved in flooding, the winds and storms on Wednesday night caused quite a bit of damage. The power went out in most of our neighborhood and some still do not have it back on. The poor energy crews are working round the clock doing their best to get power on, but when so many lose it at one time, it is a daunting task. And they are now outside working with a heat index of 104! We lost our power so often, and it often took a while to get back on that we finally bit the bullet and bought a whole house generator several years ago.

I was a bit overwhelmed by the initial cost, but it has paid us back in spades. Within a minute of losing power we were up and running without us doing anything. We went to bed and our power came back on through Entergy by 2 a.m. but we never knew. We opted to do the whole house, but many just do certain zones in their home. We have refrigerators and/or freezers in various parts of the house, so we just went with it all, and I am so glad we did. It is one of the best investments we ever made.

In addition to losing power, there were a number of trees that fell in the neighborhood. Even without losing trees, many lost limbs

or small branches.

I cleaned up my yard today, which was just small twigs--no major damage. For those who did lose limbs, you need to make sure there is a clean cut where the branches fell off. Loose or dangling branches, jagged wounds or broken limbs can lead to decay and potential disease or insect damage. In driving around town the past few days, there are limbs and whole trees down in many neighborhoods. The storm that blew through was fierce. We knew when we saw yellow, green and orange skies that something bad was on its way.

Luckily it was fast-moving and didn't linger too long, or just think of what damage we would have.

I have also gotten quite a few questions about the safety of vegetable gardens after the flood.

Flood waters are contaminated with all types of potential problems. Any vegetables that were under floodwaters should be disposed of. I have read some things saying to triple rinse and cook the produce, but I would not take any chances. Clean up your garden spot, and till the soil once it has dried out. I would personally wait a month or so to give the soil time to recover. Then start planting a fall garden.

Today is the first official day of summer and we definitely got a taste of heat and humidity. I think we have had enough dramatic weather events. Let's hope we have an easy time throughout the rest of summer and fall.

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