Posted by: morrowsl | February 24, 2018

Mother Nature Seems a Bit Pissed Off

Our local weather dude, Pete Delkus, knows his stuff.  He is right more often than he’s wrong.  Unlike the cable weathercasterwannabes, he only mentions “severe” when he sees there will be severe weather.  I have never heard weathergeddon come out of his mouth.  He is not into forecasting fear and doom.
Going into this week, the Delkus was talking “weather event”, which covers a lot of ground, as Pete was quick to point out.  He warned about freezing rain.  He cautioned about sleet.  He was very firm on rain.  He was not ruling out snow.  The only thing he didn’t say was we’d get it all in about a four hour period.
I’ve met Pete Delkus.  He’s a nice guy.  Approachable.  Friendly.  Funny.  Intelligent.  So, if he nailed every weather possibility in the coming weather event except duration, I am willing to forgive him.

Sunday, just ahead of the incoming weather, I raked a big pile of leaves into the chicken run.  This serves multiple purposes.  The leaves act as an insulator, helping the ground stay warm.  They also provide slip-free footing.  And they give the girls something to do.  I wanted all of that, since it looked like I was gonna need it.  In spite of having the windows open all day, I still tried to think ahead to extreme cold.  I washed all our heavy clothes, jackets, and gloves.

The rain started Monday evening, but our overnight total was a scant quarter inch.  By Tuesday morning it had started coming down in buckets.  I went down to deal with the chickens, opting to hang both feeders inside the coop where it would stay dry.  The girls were standing in the deep puddles left by their energetic digging underneath all those leaves.  Thankfully, there was a leaf pathway from the door of the run to the door of the coop.  I tucked them in for the night and promised oatmeal for breakfast.

Wednesday was insanity.  The cold front moved in and sat right down over Remote and the surrounding countryside.  As promised, I took oatmeal down to the chickens for breakfast, but had a moment of panic when I realized the entrance was completely under water!
We’d had a hard rain shortly after moving the chickens into the coop and so much sand washed down the hill into the run that I had to dig it up and haul it out.  The area in front of the door was especially susceptible, so I dug it lower than the footer, lined it with four-by-fours, and filled it with gravel.  What I never saw coming was how much water would wash over the four-by-fours and fill the cavity.  I managed to get the door unlatched and watched in amazement as the water made waves over the threshold as the door closed.  Nothing to do about it but hope it would recede.  I gathered eggs, and trudged back to the house to fill the seed feeders and suet holders.

Sometime after lunch, the event portion of the weather event hit.  Rain turned to freezing rain.  Everything was soaked first then frozen.  Freezing rain turned to sleet.  There is a difference.  If you don’t know what that is, look it up.  Sleet turned back to rain, which came down so hard at times it felt like we’d just lose our mooring and start to float.  By nightfall, the damage was done.  If there wasn’t ice on every surface already, the lowering temps would take care of that.
I opted to leave the coop door open so the girls could get out if I couldn’t make it across the ice.

Thursday morning was, thankfully, dry.  The temps came up sometime in the wee hours making crossing the rock and gravel to the coop a lot easier than I’d expected.  Things were beginning to drip.  The run door was iced over, but the huge pool of water was gone and I had a stick to whack the ice with.  All of the chickens were huddled into one area of the run, soaked to the skin and highly irritated.  I couldn’t figure out why they weren’t coming to the door to greet me like they normally do.  They seemed almost afraid to move.
Then the run door slammed shut and a sheet of ice from the hardware cloth roof fell down onto my head and back, spitting little ice cubes down the neck of my hoodie.

Oooohhhhh!  Now I get it!

There was very little high ground for walking, but enough to allow me to circle ’round inside the run, whacking the ceiling with a hoe and knocking down sheet after freezing sheet of ice.  The chickens wanted no part of this and scattered anytime I got near enough to be seen.  By the time I’d finished, they were ready to be inside the coop, parked at a full feeder.  I guiltily trudged down to the barn and filled both feeders to the top, then hung them both inside and bid my girls good night.

They made no reply.

Today I walked around taking pictures of the damage.  Sister tells me ice is Mother Nature’s landscaper.  From the looks of our trees, Mother Nature isn’t very good at choosing her employees, or she is REALLY pissed off.  Given the state of weather worldwide these days, I’m going with the latter.


This privet was bent completely to the ground by ice. I’m hoping some sunshine will help it stand back up again.



One of the Altheas took a hit.


We’ll cut it back.


It should be fine.



The huge evergreen behind the pool also took a hit. So far, I can’t find the end of the limb.



This one as well, out by the back deck. I love it’s unusual shape. We’ll see what it looks like after the limb is gone.



Most heartbreaking, for me, is the Desert Willow.


This is one of two main branches that gave it its open cup shape.


Losing the limb will completely alter the appearance of the tree.


And the top broke off of the other main branch.


It ended up in the flower bed.



But, hidden under the leaves in the yard, flowers are waiting to bloom.


Not the quince.


The quince said to hell with ice.

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