Tuesday, October 28, 2008

And the Wind Sets In

Last night the wind started to howl for the first time since last spring. The weather report predicted a "breezy" night, which for us seems to mean 40 to 50 mph gusts. Technically, we can't say how strong the gusts are, since we don't have a wind gauge, but in the past it's been strong enough to blow open the front door and blow panels off the greenhouse. I don't think I experienced very much wind in my life before we moved here in 2006. But since then I have decided that it is my least favorite weather event.

I woke up about 5 this morning, which is good for me, because normally when we have a wind storm I can hardly sleep. But after I got up and used the bathroom, I couldn't go back to sleep. Then I realized I had trapped one of our cats inside the bathroom, and got up to let her out, and then I just decided to get up and get the fire going again. So as I'm stoking the fire, I realize that there's a bit of a breeze in the living room. I jumped up and ran into the kitchen, where the door was wide open. That's when I realized that only two of our five (indoor) cats were accounted for.

I ran back to the bedroom and woke up Todd, who was pretty much awake anyway, and we threw on some clothes and shoes and grabbed the flashlight. We went out into the front yard where I immediately saw our hard-to-miss (even in the dark) orange tabby Maine Coon cat, Pooker. He is a total scaredy cat most of the time and I don't know what he was thinking going out the door. He is about as equipped to be an outdoor cat as I am a fashion model. He immediately ran towards the front door and I let him in. Todd rounded up the other two, our somewhat adventurous girls Luna and Baby Girl, who seemed plenty happy to be back in the house. We were so relieved. I had visions of combing the whole farm for hours, calling cats that hardly know their own names (or frequently choose to ignore them). So now everyone is happy and warm inside the house. And the door seems to be staying shut.

In other news, our backyard hoop house seems to have mostly made it through the night. Last Spring we tried to build one in the field where we plant our crops, and it lasted about two days before the wind ripped it to pieces. We managed to salvage most of the material and we decided to try it again on a smaller scale, over a raised bed in our backyard. We put the plastic on last Friday, so it's had about four days of no wind, and all the plants inside are looking healthy and happy. (We planted chard, lettuce, scallions, leeks, and various brassicas.) We knew last night would be a test. Todd went to let the chickens out this morning and he reports that there are some rips in the plastic, but the plastic is actually on the structure, and he thinks we can repair the damage and prevent further damage by adding more clamps to the PVC pipes. So we'll try that once the wind settles down, probably tomorrow. We've learned through experience that it's no use trying to manipulate giant sheets of plastic when the wind is blowing. You might actually lose your mind trying.

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