8 July 2024

The Aftermath

According to the radar we were on the edge of the storm. It looked like the ‘bad stuff’ was to the north of us. Right over our pasture and the bigger wheat fields. I was worried sick about my cows. My husband was mourning the loss of his wheat fields. Looking good this year and almost read for harvest.

We couldn’t get over to look until the next day, the storm came at dusk and it as dark by the time it finished.

Then my husband was busy with other work and couldn’t come at all. The kids and I headed over. By the time we got to the end of our neighbors field of corn, right next door, we had gotten out of the hail. The south end of the field was destroyed. The north end was untouched. I knew there had been hail by the pasture. I had seen video of it. But maybe not as awful as we had feared?

After a strip undamaged I came to another swath where everything had been destroyed. It was like mother nature had raked her finger nails across the earth. Strips that hadn’t been touched mixed with lines of destruction.

The cows fell in the untouched part and a couple small wheat fields.

Then bad again at the big wheat field. How bad? It’s hard to say. The wheat is still standing but the hard brittle stems, so painfully close to being ready to harvest had let loose their fruit. The ground is scattered with wheat broken loose and lost. Only the yield at harvest will let us know just how much was lost.

We were lucky though. The corn is battered, but still there. It might be early enough in the season that it can regrow? The garden looks rough. But all in all is doing alright.

Just a little farther east of us the storm got even worse. We had gotten much larger hail here on the south end of the storm and it kept getting bigger as it went. Our neighbors a mile east has trees down. Another couple miles on friends had entire fields stripped bare. Nothing left of corn or beans. Gardens beat down to bare dirt. We got lucky and are thankful for it.

My husband mourns the hard work, heart and soul, and effort that went into the crops. The money lost. The death of the crop and the love that went into it.

I mourn our swimming pool. The kids and I had spent the whole day just a couple days before this getting the spot ready and the pool set up and filled. Waiting for it to warm, we hadn’t even swam in it. The ping pong sized hail hurled at the ground had poked hole all the way around the inflatable top. We tried filling it with pool noodles. A hopeless but slightly entertaining attempt at salvaging our beloved pool. But they did nothing to stop the water from spilling over the edges. I forced the kids out to try to swim in it this weekend, resulting in the pool emptying half the water.

Oh well. We’ll need to empty it anyway.

We’ll miss that pool, it’s been a good one.


3 July 2024

Oh Hail

We had gotten lucky up until now. Bad storms everywhere around us, but we stayed between them. No rain, but no hail either.
Didn’t get so lucky this time. And we were towards the edge.
Hate to think what things are going to look like when we go out to look tomorrow. The pasture, my cows, was right in the middle of it.


2 July 2024

A Gift of Wind

One thing was for sure. Something was broken.

The problem with wells is that they’re under ground. There’s no simple way to look and see what’s going on.

The problem with wells and windmills is that the wind has to be blowing to be able to see what’s going on.

This well has a windmill and a solar pump. The combination means that no matter the weather there’s almost always something that make water pump. These are the most reliable, least worrisome tanks on the place. They always have water!

Except now.

The stream was getting smaller and smaller. We could hear the solar pump pumping. It was working. Kind of. But no water was coming out. If only we knew whether the windmill was able to pump water. The trickle the solar pump was producing would never keep up with the cows until someone could get out to work on the well. If the windmill was pumping water they would be ok over night. If the wind would only blow.

We stood there looking up at the perfectly still windmill on the rare perfectly still day.

My husband cussed it. Said there was no way we’d be able to know that. We’d have to just move the cows.

No, I said. God and I have a deal. I have never once needed a windmill to turn, to fix it, or check it, or do some sort of work, just a few turns of the head, that He hasn’t sent just enough wind to get the job done. Just wait a minute.

We sat there waiting. A moment or two that seemed longer in the dust and heat. Shortly there came a stirring. The grass rustled ahead of the breeze. Then the head squealed as the breeze started it going. It cranked just long enough for a solid stream of water to come out of the pipe. Then it eased to a stop.

The well was fine. There was water down there. When the wind picked up again for real the cows would have water until we could get it fixed. I would never be so greedy as to ask for a steady breeze. But that single gust to move the sucker rod to where I needed it or to check the well. Those have never not been provided when I ask. I never doubted it would come.

God and I have a deal and I full appreciate it.


1 July 2024

Baling Ahead Of The Storm

We were rushing home from checking cows, trying to beat the storm. When we saw our neighbors out trying to get their hay in ahead of the storm. This is my version of their work.


No rain drops yet.The clouds were getting darker to the west. Starting our white, fluffy towers in the distance they changed to grey, then purple.Β  Having been able to hear the thunder for some time now, the lighting was starting to hit the ground not around us, but getting closer.

The hay lay in neat windrows across the field. A good cutting for a year that was starting to turn dry. It had made it through the wind of the last couple of days. Heavy enough not to get tossed in the breeze. Now the rain was coming. It was earlier than expected. Even great and terrible storms have routines. They blow up during the hot afternoons and strike towards evening. It was barely afternoon and here it was already.

The hot sun was blotted out by roiling dark purple clouds. The orange of it still shown through the other side in a few places, striped by lines of rain. The wind turned cool and crisp. Quickly turning arms that had been damp from sweat to arms spotted by goosebumps. The movement of the open tractor cooled her further. The breeze chased her with chaff as she raked along with it. Just because the chaff and dirt was no longer sticking to sweat didn’t make the job any less filthy.

If the rain would hold off a bit longer they could almost get the field finished. The could just almost get the hay in without it being rained on.

It was a delicate balance between saving the hay, having good food for the cows all winter, and the lightening that was touching down closer and closer. It was still just far enough away. She could surely get a few more rounds raked. He dad was behind her in a tractor, one with a cab lucky guy, baling the hay. Between tractor problems, wind, and storms, this cutting had been a battle to get in from the beginning. She would fight out this last round. That made her laugh a little to herself as she turned to make one more round around the field. The lighting was just far enough off, it wasn’t chasing her off her tractor seat yet. After all, there were no rain drops yet.


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