Friday, January 13, 2012

What A Difference The Wind Makes

Growing up in Kansas, you're always aware of weather.  Heck, you've got to be.  EXTRA AWARE--those tornadoes can come out of nowhere.  An addiction to radar is almost inborn.

I have never, in all my life, called a tornado a "twister."  Twister is a game with dots on the floor that I'm not sure I should even attempt anymore.  We don't have twister warnings, we have tornado warnings.  People (IMO) who call them twisters either aren't from here or don't know what they're talking about. A raw force of nature that powerful should be called by its name, not diminished by a nickname.  Also, true Kansans tend to run outside to watch the tornadoes when there's a warning. 

While I have (thankfully, knock on wood) not been IN a tornado myself, I have seen the destruction firsthand.  A big one passed my hometown rather closely when I was a kid.  After it passed us, my brother and I went out to chase it.  We watched it go through a nearby town, parking well out of the path.  I kept wondering what those little "poofs" were.  Then I realized they were houses.  People's HOMES. 

I drove through Greensburg on a dog rescue shortly after the devastating tornado there.  It was on my regular route, so I was familiar with it before and after.  It was hard to stay on the road because my eyes kept tearing up. 

I weathered a couple of tropical storms when I lived in South Texas.  While they weren't actually hurricanes, it seemed to me that we'd been through worse thunderstorms here back home.  Granted, I did have to put on my combat boots to go out and feed my horse because the ground was so soggy that it sucked regular boots off my feet.  I succumbed to the mania at the stores before I finally stopped and realized:  I have THREE different kinds of peanut butter in my cart.  THREE.  I had umpteen cans of food that I would never eat.  There were fights breaking out over the last few cases of bottled water.  I was even going out and breaking dead branches off the trees in my backyard and putting them in the garage so we'd have dry wood in case we needed to make a fire to boil water.

Then there's the lingering dread.  You know it's coming, usually for days.  Endless time to contemplate whether or not your house will hold up, if you have enough food, water, and fuel, whether your animals will be OK, and exactly where it's going to hit.  And to top it off, as soon as the first fringes come in, your satellite dish promptly cuts out.  So much for up to the minute reports from the Weather Channel. While I don't hate radio, I like to watch the radar images for myself. 

So, I'll take tornadoes over hurricanes any day.  Yep, they come out of nowhere, but your chances of not being in one are lots better.  They're over sooner. 

Now it's winter.  Winter is SO not my favorite season.  I can deal with it if it snows, but I hate cold for cold's sake (aka no nifty white stuff).  And it will literally take your breath away if it's that cold plus that windy.  Yesterday was one of those days.  Granted, it only got UP to 32 degrees (17ish for a low) but the wind was howling around at 40 MPH.  I borrowed my hubby's Carhartts and wrapped myself up in fleece, and was STILL cold.  Interesting how the chickens were still goofing around outside.

Today made it up to the middle 40s, but when I went to do chores, it was still 25.  (Yeah, I know you folks further north than me are laughing about how "hot" that is!)  However, the sun was shining and there was no wind.  I bundled up again and actually got HOT while forking hay to my lovely beautiful manure machines, also known as horses.  Folks, it's hard for me to even get WARM in winter, let alone hot.  I like to hang around the propane heater or the furnace vents, and I'm always wearing multiple layers.

Here's me suited up to go out in almost 2 ft of snow to do chores last year.

In this pic, I'm wearing lots more than you think I am.  Long underwear, jeans, ski pants, long sleeved shirt, hoodie, wool lined denim coat, headband, dickie, insulated gloves and wool socks.  I look rather lumpy, but as long as the critters get fed, it works.  Still, I look forward to spring:  jeans and wellies, maybe a slicker, but nowhere near the 10 or so pounds of clothes I'm wearing here.

Spring will bring its own challenges--planting the gardens, new chickens, and controlling the gawdawful poison hemlock, but I'm looking forward to it again.  That is, as long as the snakes stay out of the nestboxes.

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