Photo courtesy of The News RecordSnowballs? Hardly, it's August. No... this is a picture of what joined us on Thursday night after a stressful day at the doctors. Just before dark the skies darkened and turned ugly.
The clouds opened and rain pelted down followed by hail and more rain creating a white out in comparison to a bad winter blizzard. Some say thirty minutes and others forty-five was the length of this outburst, I don't know but I do know that much disaster was left in its wake.
Hail washed by the torrential rains and dammed up. This photo is courtesy of a friend who lives just on the other side of the hill from us.
It is the natural consequence of 3 inches of rain, 1 foot of hail, with 70 mile an hour winds in such a short period of time.
The hail raped the trees. This is one of our plum trees that was once full of leaves and plums, but now stripped nearly bare. The bark looks like it was in a free for all bar room brawl. There goes my vinegar making supplies. One of the things I was going to make with the plums, apples, and grapes that now do not exist. Okay, they do but they are all unripened fruit on the ground so battered and bruised that nothing but the mulch pile will do. This is the first year we were going to get plums too. Last year there was few fruit and the wind took them. The year before the aphids got the plum trees so the blow was extra potent.
The torrential rain created a run off equal to a small creek running through the yard. It's what they call a flash flood.You can see the path through the fallen leaves. I'm concerned. What will happen to the trees? What will loosing so.... many leaves and the loss of photosynthesis do to the heart of the trees? In the winter no big deal because the sap is sucked back inside and a natural antifreeze is pushed out leaving the trees dormant for a period of time. But August with no time to recover before winter?
Yes, winter is around the corner. I'm thinking it will be early this year. I noticed that a few antelope bucks were mixing in with does way earlier than usual. I've noticed spiders coming into the house a month earlier than they should be. I've noticed that the goat's coats are growing very rapidly during the usually hottest month of the year. Meagan, our two year old dairy goat came into esterus the end of July. The earliest we've ever had is October. Things are indeed strange and I'm wary.
A year when The Bread Basket area of California is in a drought with few crops and the midwest flooded frequently and here I sit with a garden gone. Grass that was in bad need of a trim in the corners of the garden that once were well over a foot tall was reduced to 2 inches. The prairie doesn't look any better. The antelope that once grazed outside of town are eating what few leaves are left on the bushes in residence's yards. They haven't figured out that just a few miles out of town all is well and the grass though not lush, does exist.
Today I will check to see if there are a few potatoes lurking beneath the soil, the only thing I will get besides the one cucumber and a few tomatoes in a salad. If there is one thing I've learned raising a garden for 34 years of marriage is plan for years just like this. Years when your peach, pear, and fruit guy calls from Colorado to say that their blossoms all froze and there won't be anything come fall. A year like this when hail wipes out your garden or grasshoppers come in and eat everything to a stubble.
It's why you maintain two years or more of bottled or frozen beans, beets, corn etc. because there will be that one year where the harvest is minimal or non-existent. I'm so... glad we have another year of produce on our shelves. We will probably run out of this or that but I'll just choose to see it as a blessing to empty our jars and start anew.
I'm not worried about things because there is after all the grocery store and Bountiful Baskets to fill in. But I can't help but think. How would we fair if they weren't there as our back up? The day is coming, scriptures tell us and many economists too. It will be good food for thought as my jars empty and I count my blessings. I will plan more carefully as lessons unfold this year and it will enable us to prepare more fully for that day.
Besides I can't get mad. The Lord did tell me that a garden wasn't a big priority for us this year. He's never said that before but after I ordered lots of seeds I had the impression not to put in anything more than the plants I started and the potatoes and such we had ordered. I thought it was just that we needed to put our efforts into working on the house. I had no idea this storm would desend. If I've learned anything in my life it is this. It is not mine to ask why but simply to obey. I may not always understand the reasonings but the Lord is never wrong. Don't get the wrong impression. I'm not always obedient. I'm rather stubborn that way but I'm learning day by day.
As for the house, we got by fairly well. We lost all the screens to holes and rips but no broken glass. The brand new front screen door looks like a baseball pro through golf balls at it repeatedly but the vehicles were safe. Our roof ridge line needs repaired but we've been having trouble with it since it was put in a few years back and a new way of doing it was needed anyway. I've a little more mud to mop up from the basement floor where some water came in the window wells but not bad. Many had their basements flooded, sections of roofs gone, windows broken, siding that looks like an oozy let loose on it, and vehicles dented and vehicle window completely spider webbed.
Yes indeed we were blessed. And when Kirk and I were knee deep in hail filled water, rain pouring down, my legs shaking uncontrollably while we scooped bucket after bucket of water out of window wells, we were not struck by lightening that flashed all around us. We were not hit by lightening while we pushed aside hail that kept damming up the water that flowed into the yard and around the house. The cause of the water coming in the window wells. We were not struck while the lightening flashed down and hit the neighbors clothes line melting the wire and leaning the posts drunkenly. The Lord is indeed merciful.
Though in one week our son was diagnosed with Tuleremia, my husband after seeing two specialists and undergoing hours of testing was told they had " looked at all the horses and now someone else needed to look at the zebras", and our home was mildly damaged - we are very blessed. The third doctor figured out what was wrong with our son and he has medication, my husband's specialists having looked at all the normal diseases, some of them scary things like ALS and MS, are contacting a number of specialist's specialists to see who will take Kirk's case and look for zebras or in other words, exotic diseases as a cause. And we can replace screens, buy another front door, and have the roof fixed.
I can always see blessing though the storms rage and the closer I look the more I find.
It is why I love the saying, " Sometimes God calms the storm and sometimes He calms his child.” ― John H. Groberg.
I'm tempted at times like this to be depressed, a natural out spring of diseases I'm challenged with and my Autism, but I keep reminding myself that to be depressed is to be without hope and ungrateful. How can I be unhappy when I count so many blessing? The greatest of which is a Heavenly Father who is always beside me. I just need to reach out my hand to clasp his. Together all things are possible.