Weather


For those who don’t know I live on the area of North Carolina which was just devastated by a series of tornadoes. . . . Don’t feel badly for us though! oh, no, we did lose power for about 22 hours. . . but we were among the luckiest. . . we did not have damage at all.  The storms that crossed the state went south of us and north of us. . . . I just don’t know how we got that lucky…..
However living for a day like this was almost a study in how one would manage if we had to in a real catastrophe. . .  Without power life seemed to slow down a bit.   There was not the sense of impending doom if I didn’t get to the latest Face Book message. . . or watch a specific television show. . .   Funny how technology has gotten a hold of me.  Power has a power of its own!  I didn’t realize that I was addicted to it like I am.   Perhaps that is saying something…..Hhhhmmmm.

I discovered that I really did miss at least having a radio in the house.  I may have to invest in one of those wind up ones.  Maybe I’ll order one on-line (because I can now!). . . .    

We slept with the windows opened over night.   I can’t remember the last time I did that.  Troy doesn’t like to sleep in cooler temperatures so I was concerned.  But he did alright.  I love the fresh air that flows into the house when windows are open.  You can hear the sounds of the cattle as they low or crickets and peepers in the distance.   I enjoy falling asleep to those sounds much better than a blaring television.  It’s more natural.  Also you can wake up to birds cheerfully searching for their breakfast and the cattle talking to each other. . . actually its’ mostly the bulls; they just have to tell each other how great they are!

In the morning I awoke to a less than pleasant sounds however.   Troy brought the generator up to the house on the Gator and proceeded to start it up for coffee.  He needed power!  Nothing says “get out of bed, woman!” than a generator in your ear!   That is okay it was almost 6 am!  That is “sleeping in” for me on weekends.   So we began the day plugging in the refrigerator and coffee pot to the generator and also charging our cell phones.  We had temporary power

Since I’m not a coffee drinker, I heated water for tea.   Since we have a gas range, it wasn’t going to be a problem. . . . however, isn’t it funny how your mind has a reflex . . . I forgot about power when I tried to start the stove.    Electricity (power) normally lights the individual burners.  So I had to find the “clicker” to light it.  But it was much easier than starting a wood fire with a match!  

The day before I purchased the first strawberries of the season.  Yummmmm.  I had not done anything with them since we didn’t have power.   I wanted to make jam but I wanted to sanitize the jars better than I could hand washing them.   I “needed” that power again.  It was beginning to bother me.  Did I really need it?  So I put water on the stove in the biggest pot I had.  And yes I used the “clicker” or lighter to light the stove; this time it didn’t bother me.   I washed dishes in shifts since I didn’t have enough hot water to do them all at once.  You see I had left some in that dang old dishwasher and they were waiting for power!   Power we didn’t have.  So I washed and dried and then did it again.  It was a good reminder that I can do things without that danged old power I kept reaching for. 

Oh, no!  I realized I had not gone to the local college to water the garden.  The local community college had begun a sustainable agriculture program.  The hoop house does not have an automatic watering system.   So someone must go there to water the potted plants and trays of seedlings every day.  I have been doing this for several months now. . . .on a volunteer basis.  Anyway, while I was up that way I wanted to see if I could what happened in Sanford.  I tried but the police had most of the critical parts blocked off.  No power!   Stores were closed and there wasn’t much traffic.  And lots of clean up that they didn’t want people gawking and causing more traffic problems. . .  Okay I wanted to be a gawker but they wouldn’t let me. .. . .I drove home.

So  I came back home where I knew there were things which needed done.  If you are like me you can allow things to distract. . . I walked by the garden (which desperately needs planted) and started pulling weeds and grass.  No need for anything but people power!  

We drove south into town to see if we could get propane for the grill since we ran out during dinner the night before.  The closest grocery store was out so we drove further on.  We needed gasoline too for that generator. . . . At least we could have power to keep the beef in the freezers frozen.    While we were out we stopped at the Sonic and got a couple of BLTS.   By the time we got home. . . guess what? 

                WE HAD POWER!   Yay!  it was amazing!  Lights, Television. . . . oh the race is on!  No more starting the stove with a lighter,  we can use the grill when we want not because we have to!  And oh, the Internet is back!    I did learn that there are things I can still do and survive without. . . . . But I missed having Power!

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 Our first winter here in the Carolinas was wonderful.   That Christmas Day I was out side walking with the dog (Caesar) in my shirtsleeves.  It was 70 degrees.  I decided at that time that I could get used to living here in this weather. 

Fast forward 18 years and we are living in a different Carolina!   this year has gotten quite cold very early.  Usually these temperatures don’t reach us until well into the New Year. 

We’ve had to add additional straw to the run-in sheds and feed the ladies much more hay to help keep them warm.   It’s a good thing we put int he automatic watering systems that don’t freeze.  We’d be breaking ice every 12 hours or so if we hadn’t.

It’s funny how weather affects us as we get older. . . or should I say how we get older changes the way we allow the weather to affect us?  I never liked the heat when it gets above 90. . . but now I find that I don’t like the cold when it’s below 32. . . one of those things that makes y0u go  hhhhmmmmmmm.

But winter on the farm doesn’t change the need to properly feed the animals. . . as I said before they need more to eat to keep them warm.  This week I’ve been helping DH get hay to the “ladies” and bulls so it doesn’t take him as long to care for them.   We get to eat quicker too because he then helps me get it on the table.

  

There is the tale of Smiling J Lake.  For several weeks we have been getting rain while those in the North had snow.  One weekend though, we had a Deluge of 5 inches. . . in one weekend!
That was just about the final blow after the rainiest winter I can remember.   Although my memories of North Carolina only go back 17 years, it is quite a long time.     

We noticed after each rain that a spot in the drive and on the North-east side of the front pasture water would collect.  Within a day it would usually recede.  The sandy soil here is good for drainage.    But after so much rain (thank you El Nino) the land was saturated.   Thus was the beginning of Smiling J Lake.       

After much rain; before the Deluge       
        After the Deluge. . . Boating anyone? 

       Lake Woe is Us. . .       

  It was very good for the Robins who over winter here.  If there were any bugs in and around the top of the water, they went right in to get them.  The Bluebirds who are arriving back early also enjoyed a drink.      Is this the Blue Bird of  Happyness ? ? ?      It was fun watching them fly over and dip just their  beaks in as they swooped down.         

Soggy Front Pasture. . .       

But driving through it to get to work was not fun.   The first time I tried to drive through the lake my brakes got wet and scared me when they were spongy near the stop sign at the corner!   So for a few days I was required to take and alternative route and use a neighbors driveway.  Thank goodness for nice neighbors!           

As it recedes it attracts Starlings by the hundreds!                Look the Lake is finally Receding. . .      

 
Call Hitchcock. . . I found his birds. . .
 

Anyway it has taken about two weeks for the lake to dry up.  We are going to have to get clay and build up that section of the drive and then put gravel down on top.  In light of that fact, Cupid brought DH a special resent for Valentine's Day. . .  He traded in his John Deere for one with a bucket loader!  He is so proud of that thing.  I have to admit letting him get that was a bit mercenary on my part. . . I would like him to break the ground up around the new garden area.  He has a disk tool for that, but the heavier tractor will make it much easier!   I can't wait for a bigger garden!          

 Anyway, we may still get a lake in the driveway area when it rains badly.  But if we build up hte driveway enough we'll be able to negotiate it even through another Smiling J Lake!         

 

 We do appreciate the rain  that we get.  It ensures that the water table is ready for the spring planting season for the farmers of green things.   But too much makes the fields mushy and unworkable.  I’m ready to say ENOUGH!   Here is a picture of what the cattle have to deal with after so much rain. 

It’s a bit messy to slog around in, but they managed.   Poor Angie is just about to have that baby.  We’d really like to see it born when it’s not real cold and rainy.  I’m sure that the baby will be okay even if it’s rainy, but this is our first and it would be great if it was a pleasant experience for all of us.  

Our Portly Lady – Angie.  Doesn’t she look like she’s about to pop?   We have her segregated from the rest now.  It should only be a few weeks.  

   DH was busy, since it was sunny, getting and restocking a load of hay for the ladies.  He found some not far from us and the bales are bigger than what we have gotten in the past. 

  BUT it rained and rained again on Sunday night!  Now we have ponds and swamps which we have not seen before.  

                                                            This was worse earlier in the morning; not fun to drive through.   Driving out the driveway was a challenge this morning on the way to the office.  By the time I got to the end of the driveway my brakes were wet.  It scared me at the end of the road trying to stop.  Traffic is not very forgiving and there is a blind curve.   I had to pump hard on the brakes!  But now I know to do that before getting out on the road.

When I got home I wandered around to get pictures before the sun started going down.  (I got home a little early today)

                                                  The birds enjoyed splashing around in the water and catching the early bugs.  Yes those are robins and it is January!  I have wondered if they winter here in the Carolinas.  

                                                 More ponding.  This is the front pasture.  if it had frozen we could have had an ice skating party!  Just kidding. . .  We hope that the water subsides before any freezing takes place.