The winds of recent pulled apart this shademobile.
This well-constructed piece of engineering fell prey to intense winds this summer. In like manner, our planned occasion for spreading seeds in wetlands last Saturday had to be rescheduled (for Monday Jan. 3) because of the fallout from the tornado, which came through the region that day. The NOAA in Wilmington apprised we would see 40 m.p.h. winds, which would blow a tent over or hat off. The next day I stopped at a neighbor's house and witnessed this tree upon his roof.
Similarly, we found trees upon our fence lines, tempting those enclosed.
We also received close to 5 inches of rain overnight, again, inundating creeks and fields.
The picture on the left reflects our new sloping creek banks and on the right the older format, upstream from renovations. The soil at the roots of the trees on the right has been eroded by fast moving water. Those trees will soon die and fall into the creek. New plantings of trees on the renovated areas are on the sloping sides not the edge of the banks.
The storm also brought standing water to pastures, as below.
Below is a recent example of a difficult decision to cut down two handsome trees planted by my father about 30 years ago. They had become too close to the house for comfort. Strong winds could bring them upon the structure. They also have kept part of the house moist, inducing some rot to be repaired. We love trees, but these were strategically in the wrong place, creating worry and cost rather than pleasure.
How are we responding to this increased intensity of weather?
1) We are renovating stream banks so we don't lose soil downstream,
2) We are expanding wetlands, so cows aren't asked to graze in standing water,
3) We are removing trees that put houses at risk,
4) We will close up shademobiles at night and when not in use.
A current activity, which is artistic distraction rather than economic productivity, is to build a stone wall at the entrance to the laneway to our house. As you may recall, the land-owning entity of our farm is Red Stone Farm, named by my father for the abundance of red sandstones in the hillsides. They also were the primary building material for decades in the region, prior to cement block and concrete. The stones are beautiful, with racing iron-rich colors and striations throughout. They were also cut by hand, which is an amazing task.
As we have taken down old houses and barns, many such stones lie in their foundation. We have been saving them for projects, such as the fountain this fall and now this wall at the front gate. We have learned from previous stonewall-building projects that a cement foundation is most helpful, or the wall begins to tilt over time as soil beneath gives way.
We are harvesting the last of our hogs for the year, along with beef and lamb, so our freezers are filling up, in anticipation of the winter ahead.
Below is our famous Sunshine Burger, a sausage paddy on a Blue Oven English muffin, with some jelly, and a fried egg. Makes for a great lunch.
Bob, Susan, and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday at MadTree. This will be the last market until after the New Year, on January 9.
If you would like to join us for seed-spreading on Monday January 3, let me know.
As perilous winds accrue, may our hats be secure, our skirts cinched, our shademobiles closed, and our houses protected from falling timber.
Drausin & Susan