Blog, Weather

Why Does Everyone Talk About the Weather?

Miscellaneous American rural scenes, 1925-30, Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-54356

I remember asking this question when I was a little girl. I grew up in a rural environment where everyone was dependent on either a personal garden or some commercial agriculture for their winter survival.

We all had a responsibility toward the family — even the children. I have written before about picking beans and stringing and breaking them in preparation for canning. We helped plant the garden while learning about crop rotation and weeding. It was not unusual to work helping with gardening chores.

What I did not understand was how the weather impacted the lives of everyone in our little valley. I remember early morning television and radio broadcasts dedicated to the farmers. People would ask each other “Think it will rain?” when they ran into each other at the store. My grandfather never went to bed until after he watched the evening news and weather forecast.

I only remember once or twice, when the creeks overflowed their banks and once when my dad and grandfather went to help fight fires. That was frightening.

Today, fewer and fewer people look to the weather because of gardens or crops. We are more concerned now about floods, fires, property damage, and conservation. This morning when I opened FaceBook, the first thing I saw was our drought map.

The area where I live is in a D2 Severe Drought area. This is extremely concerning because of the risk of fire is a valid concern. We live in the foothills of the mountains and we are surrounded by trees. As more dry leaves fall, they can serve as fuel in the event of a fire.

Our local town just sent out a notice asking for voluntary water conservation. We are not on city water, but it is good for everyone to be cautious. There must be concern about the water tables.

I think I talk more about the weather now than I ever have. From hurricanes, to fires, to blizzards, to flooding, to droughts…the weather is important. It may not be our survival because of a garden or crops, but it does indeed impact our survival.

How’s your weather?

Blog, father, Fear, growing up country, rainy day

Storm Memories

Day 327

Yesterday we drove through a few ugly storm cells. Then when the storm moved, the dark clouds continued to linger above the highway. Seeing the clouds reminded me of my years growing up in the little valley we called home.

Growing up there gave us a lot of freedom. I had very little fear. I was not necessarily fearful of poisonous snakes, but I was aware and taught how to protect myself from them. Most every house could be found with the front doors open with a screen door to allow the mountain breezes to move through and provide a much appreciated breeze. I remember being afraid when my father went out as part of the volunteer fire crew to fight forest fires. And once or twice, we would hear of someone breaking into an isolated cabin ‘up on the mountain’ but it was a rare occurrence.

Weather was no different. We had plenty of thunderstorms with lightening, but I never feared the thunder or the lightening. We knew how to determine the distance of a storm by counting the number of seconds between seeing lightening and hearing a clap of thunder. All of the older two story houses were equipped with lightening rods with decorative glass balls on two ends of the roof structure. The lightening rods are connected to a grounding rod buried in the ground. The glass balls served a purpose as well. The theory was that if the rod was struck by lightening, the glass ball would shatter letting the owner know it was time to check for potential damage.

While we had thunderstorms, more often than not, we had rainstorms. Just saturating downpours which nourished the gardens and fed the creeks. This was the non-destructive rain that everyone hoped for.

Our home was nestled in a valley surrounded by four mountain peaks. If you were attentive you could see sheets of rain move across the mountains toward our little valley. As kids, we swam in the creek. We had three ‘swimming holes’ but the most popular was the one we referred to as The Millpond.

During the summer we spent most of our time swimming and sitting on a towel spread along the rocky creek bank. This is where almost everyone learned to swim, me included. I remember the older teenagers applying a combination of baby oil and iodine on their bodies in an attempt to get a tan. Yikes!

When we could see rain clouds and the leaves turn upside down, everyone headed home. The Millpond was in the holler which meant the trip to our house was along the road, across the bridge and on home in a u-shaped path. The closer the sheets of rain were, the faster we moved until we were in a full run. This became what we referred to as trying to outrun the rain. We seldom made it home without getting drenched in the cold summer rain. Such a great memory.

Later in life, I went home to visit. In this valley, almost everyone walked everywhere. I was alone, visiting before going to a training class in D.C. for my job. I started out on a walk one afternoon. As I stepped off of my father’s porch, he said “It looks like it might rain.” I nodded and continued on my way. I missed that freedom and wanted to take advantage of walking while I had the chance.

I was about 30 minutes into my walk when the rain came up behind me. First, a few heavy drops, widely separated. Then more drops until a solid sheet of rain was upon me. I was soaked. Then, I did as I had often done as a child, I stepped onto the covered porch of a house no longer occupied to wait out the rain.

Within minutes, I saw my father’s car driving down the road. He saw me on the porch, pulled up and motioned for me to come to the car. As he had tried to do so many times in my life, he came to my rescue.

Such a bittersweet but beautiful memory.

birds, Blog, rainy day

More Rainy Days

Day 257

Today we entered into what will be a long week of rain. Too much rain, unfortunately. It will be hard on the garden because we are predicted to receive between 5 and 8 inches of rain. Today we have already received 2.81 inches today.

Last year we had some horrible rainstorms and flooding. Unfortunately, we also had some loss of life. Our home is on a bit of a hill, so most of the water runs off. Most of the land surrounding our house has a good bit of trees and vegetation which helps prevent any erosion.

The prediction for the worst rains is supposed to be along the Blue Ridge Escarpment. The Escarpment is the line where the mountains are reduced to foothills. It is full of waterfalls and deep drop-offs. Since I do not understand it very well, here’s an educational video about the geology of the Blue Ridge Escarpment:

For now, the rain has held off but it will pick up again tomorrow and continue for several days. I am hoping the rain is less than what has been predicted and there will not be any damage or loss of life. The threat of mudslides is always looming when we get saturating rain that lingers for days.

In the breaks between the weather today, the squirrels, chipmunks, and birds were very active around the feeders. We always have an abundance of birds at the feeders when it rains which is the opposite of what I would have thought.

 

I managed to catch a little activity on some video loops which didn’t loop. I guess I need to download that app and update these tomorrow. Bear with me for now.

This weekend I am off to spend a week with my daughter-in-law and grandchildren while my son goes out of town on business. I’ll be blogging, but I would imagine they will be short and sweet, just like my loops above. Have a good weekend and a good upcoming week.

 

Blog, tornado, windy

Pennies From Heaven

Day 193

It is a rainy Sunday. We have threats of severe weather this afternoon and evening. Not a good day to be outside so I decided to try to get my blog published before Mother Nature blows some high wind our way and knocks out the power and our cell service.

When my sister was a little girl, she stood with her face pressed against the window and would just lament “pouin’ down rain”. It made me smile thinking about her this morning. Every time it rained, one of her siblings would always look at her and repeat her childhood words back to her.

Most people seem to find the rain depressing or it reminds them of less happy times. I started looking for songs about rain I found most of them to be about love gone wrong or heartbreak. I wanted to post an upbeat rain song. I narrowed it down to two songs, but The Weather Girls’ “It’s Raining Men” lost out to this number by Count Basie and Frank Sinatra:

Yesterday I spent some time outside taking photographs of plants and flowers. I am glad I did because if the high winds and heavy rain continue, a lot of the blooms will be destroyed.

The text I just received indicates we are under tornado watch until 8:00 p.m. I can see the trees moving as the wind gusts move through ahead of the storm. Our trees are only feet away from our house.

So, before we lose our connection to the outside world, I think I will hit publish and go find a good book to read.

Yes! There are the sirens. Our watch just became a warning.

Blog, gardens, Spring, sunny day

Spring Gardening

Day 182

Today marks the halfway point of my goal to blog every day for a year. I thought there was no better way to celebrate this milestone than to share some photos of my day in and around the garden.

Gardening is hard work — especially after the winter we had. Our trees lost a lot of branches from some very heavy snow. Hubby had already cleared the large branches away. Today I cleared the smaller pieces and we have a 4′ high pile of broken limbs to deal with. I decided not to share photos of the hard part of the gardening so as not to discourage anyone. 😊

After the branches were gathered, I proceeded to scrape moss off our brick walkway. Last year was a very unusually wet year here (90+- inches of rain). The result was water standing for much longer periods of time. The moisture added to the shade from some large trees and overgrown bushes were the perfect environment for moss. We try not to use pesticides and weed killers so we can have a pollinator-friendly environment. I scraped until my arms gave out – more scraping later this week.

There is a lot of clean-up to accomplish after the winter months. Leaves to rake and raised gardens to clear and fortify with new material before planting. We do have one of our gardens planted with lettuce and spinach and broccoli. Soon new herbs and tomatoes will be planted and the growing season will be off to a good start.

I also noticed there were bees making use of our ‘bee house’. I could not see what type of bee but I did snap a picture of the house.

IMG_9250

My morning meditation had me in a funk. A good day outside in the sunshine and the dirt really helped change my outlook. It turned out to be a fantastic day.

Happy 6-month ‘blogiversary’ to me!