The mother of invention

DSCN0375 The air smells of wounded pines and churning earth. Hail in sprawling drifts looks like snow, then piles of rough-cut diamonds, then destruction. The grass is flattened in the ditches, in our yard, and any depression, however small, is full of red mud water. The hail evaporates, feeding the growing presence of fog hanging heavy in the air.

DSCN0384After making it through all previous hail storms relatively unscathed, two weeks after the storm that took down a few trees and filled our ditches, our little valley was pounded again with rain and hail. An inch and a half of rain, and hail. The garden is gone, more trees and branches are down, and water is pouring into the dam. Even though it was too dark to see, I could hear water rushing in the corrals, in places where there is never water. Our ridge became a waterfall, and more rockslides happened.

DSCN0386The aftermath is quite enough to dampen spirits. Mom worked hard on the garden, and to a certain extent we were counting on it for this fall. However, I know God is good and gracious, and he is not a God of whim or malice. I think back to the pioneers, the first homesteaders, who weren’t just counting on their garden: their lives were depending on it. The survival of their crops meant enough money to buy food to last through the winter into the next growing season. It meant a surplus of five dollars to add to the dollar they already had in the bank. They depended on it. We only hoped our garden would turn out this year. It looks like it won’t. But I’m already working on some mental notes for a hail screen. Necessity is the mother of invention.

Laura Elizabeth

Too much of a good thing

DSCN0392.1You know, in a week or so when it dries out, or later this summer when it isn’t raining anymore, we’ll all be wishing for more of this weather. And I know, I know–In comparison with the flooding down south, in Texas and Oklahoma, I’ve got nothin’ to complain about. We are now in a record-breaking June, as far as precipitation is concerned.

DSCN0391.1A thunderstorm rolled over the Hills this afternoon and dumped 1.4 inches on us in about an hour. The ground is already saturated and before too long the ditches were all churning with muddy water. A nearby practice arena was a lake, and a dam on our driveway that never has water in it probably had at least four feet of water!

DSCN0384.1I drove in from work, noticing all the water along the driveway, but was shocked to find that two of our huge cottonwood trees had snapped off. One of them completely blew down, leaving ten feet or so of trunk, and the other lost half of its bulk when one of the trunks broke off.

DSCN0371There was hail, smaller than pea-sized, piled on the mat in front of the door and I immediately wondered if we’d have a little water on the floor inside, since the seal around the door isn’t very tight. I was greeted with a mess. Water was everywhere, and I couldn’t figure out where it had come from! It was splashed about on the table, a rug by the hallway was soaking wet, the floor was puddled, and the dry erase boards on the refrigerator had smeared and dripped.

DSCN0381.1Then I realized the windows were open. We have a five- or six-foot overhang on our roof, so usually the open windows are fine during a storm, but the same straight-line winds that toppled trees and bent over some garden stakes blew straight in our kitchen window and soaked everything, including the refrigerator across the room. Jars with silverware in them had a good half-inch of water in the bottoms, the chair cushions were damp or soaked, and I’m sure the kittens were terrified. What a mess!

Amazingly, nothing much was permanently damaged, and we were able to dry the kitchen out. And the tree by the Miner’s Cabin miraculously didn’t topple on the cabin itself! We have a few more rock slides along the driveway, or the slides are getting bigger, but all’s well and safe. Two hours later, the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the birds were singing again.

Laura Elizabeth