I woke this morning to the sound of…nothing. Well, not quite nothing. The wind was howling, but I expected that. The region had been warned days in advance this wind storm would move thru – secure light objects, put weights on small pets, etc. The standard stuff. It also warned of power outages, the root of my nothingness. A tree had taken out the power lines less than a mile away.
I didn’t mind the house being a bit cold. Though I always make a hot breakfast, I wasn’t too concerned there either; granola is a good enough fill-in. What really irked me was the cold coffee. I drink it hot, no matter the temperature outside. I’ll do ice coffee if it’s over 90F. Today was definitely not going to be one of those days. However, even cold coffee beats no coffee: I sipped in the silence of my house, contemplating my morning work, wondering how the day would unfold.
I don’t much care for wind. It tears stuff (substitute that other word) up. I’ve seen it tear the top off a barn, blow over trees, tilt barns over, and move chicken houses to the next field (I still wonder how the chicken house literally hopped the fence…). My house occupies the high point off the Patuxent River. At 160 feet above sea level, with few trees around to break the wind, this little hill I sit on can really get it. The barns are situated in such a way as to create wind tunnels. This time of year, the strong winter winds always blow out of the northwest and will nearly always follow a period of moisture.
The shingles from my house litter the yard. The gutter on one of the barns has partially blown off. The roof on the hay shed is peeling off piece by piece, flapping in the wind till all the tin has been ripped loose from the nails holding it to the sheathing. Once one piece goes, it’s like a domino effect. Pieces of roofing litter the field; the sheep keep their distance.
I’d covered the front end of the henhouse in plywood earlier this fall. It now lies broken near the tree line. The chickens will be alright, but we’ll use the back door to enter the house this evening for feeding. All in all, I’ve lost a day’s work, in addition to the aforementioned damage. And so I write.
My computer doesn’t always like the way I say things. It is busy telling me I didn’t quite pay attention in Ms. Phillips’ English class. Tough. A farmer is only going to be so proper anyway. I’m writing about wind, for crying out loud – it’s not an orderly subject.
It will eventually die down; dry spells only last so long, flood waters eventually recede. And we’re left with the clean-up. As a country person, I do nearly all my own work – what I can’t do often gets left undone. It is a defect, I know. The worst will always come first.
Eventually, I’ll walk thru my forest. Trees will be down, firewood and lumber prospects. I have a couple buddies with sawmills now. Repair projects await. If there is anything I’ve learned in this life, it’s the unpredictability of it. I love this farming life, no matter the obstacles.