Yesterday, June 14th, marked the wildest Flag Day weather I have ever seen. I awoke to wind whipping over the house and begrudgingly got out of bed to go check the thermometer. Brrrr. The house was wintry cold. Even before I drew back the curtains, I guessed what I would find, and sure enough I did; swirling snow catching in big fluffy clumps and meeting in a sort of tornado, intersecting on the east side of our house. The wind seemed to be pouring from every mouth between the mountains on all sides. I threw a blanket around myself and stepped into my hubby’s giant, size thirteen boots by the front door and clumped—Gumdrop the clown style—out onto the porch.
I had to check the better-than-mercury-liquid twice to believe it, but there it was: 34 degrees. Thankfully, we had covered my herbs and the few veggies already planted out on the porches the night before. And we had carried all our seedling trays back into the bathroom . . . yet again. But this frigid front surpassed even what we assumed to be an overly dramatic forecast. We had prepared for low 40’s, but not for mid 30’s!
“I better bring in the glass hummingbird feeders in case they freeze,” I said to myself. But a glance at the feeders revealed that no such thing would be possible . . . at least not without condemning all my little refugee friends.
There they all were, huddled like boy scouts ’round a campfire. Through gusts of wind, they clung to the feeders —blowing this way and that— their wings drooped and bedraggled, little tufts of feathers sticking up in different directions along their necks like very bad bed-head.
The hummingbirds seemed as stunned as me. They held fast with their little feet as the feeders rocked back and forth, glumly waiting out the storm. After all, what else can a humble mountaineer do? One turned his little green head toward another and I imagined him saying through his long beak, “let’s head back to Cabo, brah! I’ll ask my mother-in-law if we can use her timeshare.”
I decided to risk the feeders freezing rather than leave my little feathered friends without their one source of warmth-giving energy. Sweet, sweet anti-freeze. (Thankfully it didn’t . . . freeze that is.)
I ran downstairs to the lower porch to let Yeti out and found —to my horror— that the cover over his kennel had blown off in the night. I almost felt like crying at the sight of him. He was perched on his haunches, drenched through, shivering and shaking in a puddle that had collected in his tray. There is no way of knowing how long he had been in this state. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry Yeti,” I kept saying over and over as I got him out and looked him over. Thankfully, my brother had spent the night and I yelled up the stairs for reinforcements. Together, we managed to carry Yeti’s crate inside the house and set him up with a bed of towels. That’s when I noticed about a cupful of pooled water along the baseboard in the basement washroom. I felt like throwing up . . . but one disaster at a time.
It took the two of us, my brother and I, at full strength to get all 120 terrified pounds of Yeti back into his crate. Thankfully, Great Pyrenees are built for cold weather and Yeti was back to his normal self by the afternoon.
Unfortunately, the pooling water was not as low maintenance. The snow had turned to rain, and lots of it, blowing at an incredible angle and pooling mercilessly on the upstairs mudroom porch. I decided that must be where the seepage was coming from, although I never did figure out the precise location . . . I’ll leave that to the professionals I guess 🙄. I did, however, succeed in jerry-rigging a very effective Band-Aid solution. I hauled up the kids’ sleds from under the house and lined them up on the mudroom porch below the roofline. It worked beautifully for keeping water off the edges of the porch and streaming down the walls to collect at the base of the house. But the sleds were full to the brim in just fifteen minutes. So, all day long I pulled sleds full of water and let them Niagra down the steps, drenching myself in the process. The secret hobbies of homesteaders.
Crisis maybe not averted but definitely alleviated with no more pooling. I’m really looking forward to being on hold with insurance claims for half a day. Always such a treat.
Meanwhile, water streamed down our driveway all day as flooding and evacuations wreaked havoc on the valley below. The river leapt out of its bed and flash-flood warnings rang alarms on cell phones all over the county. My hubby’s grandparents are visiting, and they had to evacuate from the RV park they were staying in. But they fared very well compared to other river-side-dwellers. I shudder to think of the homes along the river and what those home-owners are facing today. It makes my cup-of-water damage claim seem like a first-world flood problem indeed.
Fortunately for us, living a thousand feet higher than town has some small advantages. Other than our leak, the only “flooding” we had was of our own making. The giant square hole we have been digging out for a special project (stay tuned) was a pond by noon. By the way, this is NOT conducive for our plans for this space. Oh well. It will drain . . . hopefully soon.
Regarding our troop of hummingbirds, I’m very sad to say that I’m not sure they all made it through the night. Of the four or five pairs that are daily visitors, today I believe I’ve only seen two pair, one black-chinned and one rufous. I hope that perhaps the others have merely put themselves into extra long comas (called torpor) as I recently learned they will do when temperatures drop. Perhaps tomorrow they will astound me yet again, tiny jeweled miracles that they are.
As far as the “garden” is concerned we actually stayed *afloat* quite well, if only because we, ummm, haven’t really put it in yet. We had planned on putting all our veggies in their beds this past weekend. Thankfully for us, we got behind and everything is still safe and sound (albeit growing pretty spindly) in their warm little starter trays. We are really lucky we’ve been so overloaded with work up here, and even luckier that this winter has been such a long one . . . otherwise we may have lost everything or have been too late if summer had come early like it did last year. Sadly, I have some friends and neighbors who were not so lucky garden-wise. Note to self: seedlings don’t swim. Time to build some hoop-houses. If we had been ready, I would have planted all our veggies two weeks ago and would have undoubtedly lost the lot. It was just a case of lucky eights, I guess. Or perhaps providence, I don’t know.
Thank goodness we have three days of warm temps and sunshine ahead to hopefully wring us out a bit. Then, this weekend, we have more rain to contend with, and possibly lots of it. Drain quickly, little valley.
Wild weather is a good reminder for the homesteader that we are not in charge. At the end of the day, we’re all just hummingbirds clinging to our Feeder. We keep hovering over our task with faith that summer will come, that rain will fall, that sun will shine, that wind will cease. We’re just taking each gust as it comes; clinging fast, soaring high, soaking it in, and riding it out . . . together.
Thanks so much for reading, dear friends! Keep on keeping on!
“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”Genesis 8:22
Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~