Friday, July 27, 2012

Busy Summer

This was supposed to be our summer to catch up, to get things into order, and work on projects here on the farm. Apparently, it wasn't meant to be. It has been a crazy busy summer. It has been good, but we've been busy off the farm instead of on the farm.

This summer's project was The Wild Ramp. We are so excited for this store to be open in Huntington. In the long run it is going to be a fabulous resource for us, but this summer it occupied far more of our time than we ever thought it would.

Here we are at the end of July. The kids have had llama shows. Kellen is currently gone at CTY, a three week camp, and Tim is neck deep in his busy season of work. August is jammed packed with another llama show at the WV State Fair, visits to Grandma & Grandpa, and I may want to start thinking about school. Oh my head is spinning.

I haven't even started canning. We got a good early start on the garden, but then kind of stalled. We've been enjoying eating out of the garden, but are just getting ready for canning. We trellised the tomatoes Florida weave style this year for the first time. I like it! Some of the rows are too close together, but this trellis works wonderfully! Keeps the plants supported and the tomatoes off the ground.

We had a horrible hot dry spell. The first planting of beans has not produced anything. This is a second planting. Hoping for some good production!

The first planting of corn is almost ready. This is Cherokee White Eagle. It is the tallest sweet corn I've ever seen. In fact, it may be the tallest corn of any type of I've ever seen! It has held up remarkably well through the windy storms we've had this summer! We'll see how it tastes.

This summer hasn't gone quite how we had planned, but it is all good. Those projects aren't going anywhere. They will be right there when things slow down a little.

Sunday, July 08, 2012


Der what?

I had never heard the term derecho  until one passed through our woods, and a few neighboring states. I've heard it described as an on land hurricane.  Wikipedia defines it as "a widespread, long-lived, straight-line windstorm that is associated with a fast-moving band of severe thunderstorms."

Tree broken in half.
Nine days ago in the late afternoon the kids and I could see a storm coming. We could see the black sky. I was hopeful for the rain. When the wind started the kids and I ran out to put up vehicle windows. We had new piglets and headed down to the pig house to be sure they were secure. That was when the real wind began.

The winds were fierce. We could hear trees falling. We saw trees snap in half.  The wind swirled up the hill toward us from the hollow below. You couldn't tell which direction the wind was coming from. The kids thought it was great. I was a little scared.

The wind of the storm didn't last long, maybe fifteen minutes. Following the wind was nice steady rain. After the storm passed, it was eerily calm.  The calm was only in the weather. The storm had left chaos in its wake.

The calm after the storm.
Tree on the fence
We were fortunate. We counted roughly a dozen trees down along the driveway and around the buildings. We didn't even attempt to go out and look at the rest of the wooded property. The only damage done was to some pig fence. Our electric went out during the storm. Tim was driving home from work during the storm. It took him hours and several tries to make it   up to our ridge and home. Trees were blocking every road, and he ended up helping a group of neighbors to clear one of the trees so he could finally get through.

The storm damage was widespread. The power outages were everywhere. Our power was out for five days. There are many in our state who still do not have power nine days later. No power plus a grueling heat wave makes for a lot of grumpy people.

We fared well. We have a generator. So, no food losses. We were able to cook on the outside cook stove and grill. The generator will power quite a few things. The first day Kellen figured out how to hook up the wireless router. You know, because internet is a necessity. Well, at least to a 13 year old. Our kitchen counter became the charging station. We charged our phones, kindles, and the kids' DS. You see the other "necessity" we had to plug in; the coffee maker. I ran the vacuum. I used the washing machine. We just couldn't use everything at the same time.

charging station
It was hot. Thankfully most nights it cooled off significantly. We were able to open the house up at night to cool it off, and shut it down during the day. It was tolerable.

We also found we aren't quite as prepared as we could be. We were caught with low supplies of propane and gas. We were able to go out and purchase these. That may not always be the case. We never lost water, but many did. We have a rain collection system we use for animals and gardens. We need to be able to purify that water for our use. If this happened in the winter, we'd be scrambling to keep the house warm. Must get our wood burner in. I'd love to pick up a wood burner with a cook top.

So that was a derecho. I hope we never meet again, but we can say it was a character building experience. It was a good learning tool. I hope all my friends who are still without power get it back soon!