Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Foul fowl weather

The last few days have certainly been interesting. It all started on Saturday when things got really windy. We lost electricity in the late afternoon. We've learned over the years that if it isn't back in a few seconds, it won't be back for awhile, so Mike tried to start the generator. Key word: tried. It wouldn't start, so he spent the next couple hours working on it. The sun went down, and he kept working with the help of a flashlight, then the barn lights came on.

Good news: Electricity is back.

Bad news: We knew that Sunday's weather was predicted to be worse, and we still did not have a working generator.

Sunday morning, we were lounging in bed, sipping coffee. Mike was texting our daughter who now lives in Ft. Worth, and I was gazing out the window. Suddenly one of the turkey's moveable pens lifted off the ground, flew high into the air, and came down on top of a 12-foot tall pine tree. Mike's head immediately popped up from his cell phone, and as soon as he saw that I was staring out the window with my mouth wide open and spewing expletives, such as "Holy cow!" he whipped his head around in time to see the pen landing on top of the pine tree. He flew out of bed, and as we exited the bedroom, we met Jane, who was also running out of her bedroom. Because I was still in my gown, I was glad to see that Jane was dressed.

She and Mike ran out to the front yard as I ran for my camera. It seemed like it would be entirely inappropriate for me to yell after them, asking them to wait to remove the pen from the top of the tree while I switched to my zoom lens, which is why I didn't manage to get a picture of it. Those pens are not at all heavy, which was good for the tree and good for Mike and Jane, as it was easy to get down, and it had not broken any branches on the tree.

Once they had the pen down, they had to herd the turkeys back in there. Interestingly enough, the other turkey pen did not get blown away at all. We think it's because it was positioned at a 90 degree angle to the one that did get blown. As long as the wind could blow straight through the pen and under the tarp like a tunnel, it didn't get any lift. Unfortunately, the forecast was calling for the wind to shift in the afternoon from the south to the west.

The forecast was also calling for even stronger winds in the afternoon. Ultimately we decided to slide the pens up against the wooden fence, sticking the skids until the fence and tying the pen to the fence. Jane and Mike piled cinder blocks on the two corners of the skids that were not under the fence.

Mike went back to work on the generator, while Jane and I started chores. When we were feeding the sheep, we saw a ram lamb mount a ewe, which should not really have happened because the ram lambs were supposed to be castrated. Jane grabbed the little guy when he wasn't looking, and I checked for the presence of the family jewels. I thought that I felt two testicles that were very uneven in size. Since I had used a Burdizzo to castrate the little guy, I assumed that I had somehow missed the cord on one, so I was heading to the barn to grab the Burdizzo and try again. At that moment Jonathan was hurrying into the pasture to tell us that we were under a tornado alert.

"Well, we have a testicle alert here!" Jane shot back, as she was holding the little ram. I know tornadoes are nothing to play with, but we already had the little guy, so it should only take a minute to redo the job. I grabbed the Burdizzo from the barn and brought it out to the pasture. As soon as we were done and let the lamb go, I heard the roaring that was unmistakeably the sound of a tornado. I told Jane, who is from Baltimore and knows nothing about tornadoes, and we both started rushing to the house. Once we were close to the house, however, she wanted to stay outside and see everything. Amazingly enough, we were getting zero rain -- not even a drop! -- even though the radar showed purple and magenta over us, so we should have been getting buckets of rain. Later we learned that the tornado was only a couple of miles away.

We wound up losing Internet because the tornado knocked out electricity where our service provider's tower is located, but considering all of the people killed and houses damaged, we were extremely lucky. We are only an hour from Washington, IL, which made national news as it had some of the worst damage, and we have a friend closer to Chicago whose neighbor's barn was completely blown to bits. We've also seen a video of a twister touching down near Pontiac, which is only 12 miles from us. So, all things considered, we really can't complain.


MichelleH said...

Crazy! Glad you're all ok! Except for the poor ram... :)

Michelle said...

Whew; that's too close for comfort! Glad you're all okay, and that you witnessed the ram lamb in order to fix that little problem!


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