Wednesday, August 25, 2021


Apparently, this is what I get for writing and sharing a blog about how I pay attention to the weather (which I shared just yesterday) - even when I am in the middle of a meeting for my PAN job.  I get another "opportunity" to show my ability to be weather-aware.

Thanks.  I think?

The day started early, with Tammy needing to head in to Waverly early.  Today was a "bird moving" day and I (Rob) had a long list of chores to get through.  That didn't really bother me because I knew it was coming.  In fact, I am just glad I have recovered and I CAN do all of the chores without any help.

As we approached mid-morning, it was apparent this was going to be a warm day.  And, like most really humid August days, this was the one where we were going to load in some straw bales that we had purchased.  Happily, this year wasn't going to be just me doing all of the loading.  Matthew and Elijah delivered the bales and helped unload and stack - and I am grateful for the help.

Of course, we did this during the warmest portion of the day.  At that point in time, the dewpoint reached 80 degrees Fahrenheit and the temperature hit its 91 degree high.  

Still, that was nothing a couple of cold mugs of iced tea and a change of clothing couldn't remedy.

But, as I went inside seeking those comforts, I took a look around.  There was some energy in the air and I wanted to check it out.  So, I looked at various weather sites and found no real change in the forecast.  Slight risk of severe weather (of which we were barely on the edge for the zone with the risk) and a 20% chance of precip.  

Ok....  Well, my weather sense told me that wasn't right.  But, whatever.  I needed to do some work for PAN.  I had an early lunch and set myself up to do work.

After a while, I felt more uneasy.  So, I took some looks outside.  That made me wonder a bit more about things.  So, I checked weather sites again AND the radar.  The weather sites still said little about storms, but the radar confirmed that I had better consider my plans more carefully.

To make a long story less long.  I was able to go out, close things up as the cloud cover rolled in.  Then, I even had a couple of minutes to grab a few photos of the wall cloud that was approaching the farm (all shown above).

I know I did NOT park that trailer there.

I went inside and prepared to watch the storm roll in.  Things went as they usually do for this sort of storm at first.  And then... once the wall cloud had passed... the real storm hit.

Let's just say I backed away from the window fairly quickly.  Then I took one more look to see if a severe thunderstorm warning had been issued (it hadn't).

And about that time, amidst the thunder, heavy wind and sideways rain I heard a sound like a pile of bricks falling onto the roof.

Hmmm.  I was sure there was a chimney on that roof a few hours ago.

Just a note to all of the non-farmers out there.  When THIS farmer hears that sound, he finds himself going to the basement....  Perhaps even before the last brick had settled.

At this point I couldn't see out of ANY of the windows.  It was as if the rain was being driven into all sides of the house at once.  I had a moment where I felt pretty bad for Inspector and Soup.  I had noticed that they were smartly sheltering on the leeward side of the garage near their food.  But, now there was no leeward side!

For those who might worry.  Both of our farm supervisors are fine.  They just got VERY WET (and were not pleased about it).  They did get sympathy from the farmer later.

I guess we'll get half of the cherries next year?

The winds lasted far longer than most windstorms we experience here, lasting for somewhere just over ten minutes.  There was significant lightning and a fair amount of rain to go with it.  I was starting to get a bit more appreciation for those who were in the path of last year's derecho.

I even texted Tammy.

That says enough right there because those who know me know that I don't text much at all.  

The text read "Nasty storm."  and I followed that with "...really nasty."

Our neighbor (about 1/2 mile away), Eric, called me because he heard something about a storm coming and he was away from his farm.  I know he was hoping to ask me to go close up his high tunnels.  But, when he called I was already in the basement and I wasn't leaving it at that point.  

Poor Eric.  He knows I don't just run to the basement for a little squall.  So now he had visions of his high tunnel floating 500 feet in the air to the next county.  (Spoiler alert, Eric's high tunnel was fine - thank goodness.  I really felt bad about not being able to help, but the timing didn't allow for it.)

It took awhile before I could go out and do much because the lightning stuck around!  I don't know about you, but I'm not going to survive a storm just to get hit by a bolt of lightning at the tail end of it.  

Once I did get out, I had to pull some large branches off the road so traffic could pass.  And I did a cursory check of the farm.

Then I tried to get to Eric's to check his place out (the road was blocked by some sizable limbs).  After a check in by phone with Eric (where I did little to make him less worried - sorry again Eric!), I went back to do what I could around the farm.

Now I KNOW that's not where I left that building either!

The poultry rode out the storm largely unscathed with only one broiler chicken sporting an injury after one of the buildings moved itself into the bushline.  Although, with the winds we got it is possible a couple of birds are in the next county and we'll never know it.

Otherwise, damage was mostly to things that were already in some disrepair, like the walkway building that ran between the Poultry Pavilion and the Harvestore silo. 

Unfortunately, our sunflower season came to an abrupt halt.  At least we planted them earlier this year so we got to enjoy them for quite a while.  

Sadly, they are now going to make harvest of our winter squash and pumpkins a bit of an adventure this year.

One of our apple trees is down, as is our lone apricot.  (yes, we know one apricot will not result in fruit.  Talk to the other apricot that died a year or so ago.)  Gretel, our Austrian pine, is leaning at a 45 degree angle and Crazy Maurice is looking disheveled. 

Oh.  And the barn looks different too.

We had this tiny, little part of ourselves that thought we might rehab and try to use some of this portion of the barn at some point in the next couple of years.  

Good thing it was only a tiny, little part.

Corn and soybean fields in our area did not fare particularly well with this wind, reminding us of some of the damage we saw in last year's derecho to the south of our area.  We'll see if some of it stands back up, but I am not optimistic on that front.  The town of Tripoli was hit pretty hard with lots of tree damage.  In fact, there were a couple of semi-trailers tipped over just south of town and storage bin was dismantled an placed in the middle of a soybean field too.

So.  I am glad I can recognize weather patterns and it is good that I still have this farmer sense when the weather is about to turn.

But, it really wasn't necessary that we had to exercise it quite that much, was it?


  1. Anonymous9:45 AM

    Whew! Glad you were alert and came through with no bodily harm. Mother Nature always has the last word, doesn't she.

    1. Mother Nature does what she will... and is getting tired of us thinking we can too.


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