A quiet morning

The weather, having made up its mind to change, brings cooler temperatures to our little Farmlet.  I having made my rounds to check chickens, turn out geese, and feed the Keets, return to the house to start chores there.  Slowly, it comes to me, the realization that the air conditioner has not come on.

It is time!

Quickly I go from room to room throwing open windows.  I want to let the cool breeze that so refreshed me on my errands outside… inside!

In this quiet time of the morning I make the bed and as I do I am serenaded by crickets in the deep grass outside my window.  I hear the birds call out as they greet the morning and punctuate the cricket’s cacophony.

It has been months of dryness, heat, and dust which forced me to shut out the sounds that I love so dear… but this morning, this cool refreshing morning, I let them back in.

…and I survived it all too.

This has been a wonderful and terrifying week here on the Farmlet.  As you may know, we fixed our well two weeks back, and now this week brings the rain.  Isn’t it ironical that when you get it in your mind to finally do something about a situation, that the situation is suddenly resolved of its own accord?  Such was the case with the water shortage we have been experiencing this summer.

So, on Monday we had rain.

And in only 15 minutes we had three inches out our back door!

The  front of our little Farmlet didn’t look much better.  As you can see we had the beginnings of a stream going down the street.  Ha ha ha… much to our chagrin, you will also notice that now that we have the new garage/barn, we leave the truck parked in the driveway anyway.  (Except when we know it is going to hail since we get golf ball sized hail around here!)

Although Cheeky, Polly, Spot and Molly didn’t seem to mind it at all!  They had a blast bathing and dibbling in standing water that rose to their knees!

Which reminds me… Molly has discovered this week that if she runs fast enough, and flaps her wings hard enough,  that she can make it over the fence and into the neighbor’s yard.  I cannot even begin to describe the look of surprise, nay, SHOCK on the face of my neighbor when he saw her invading is yard.  He just stood there, rooted to the spot and unable to move… I guess he has a real phobia when it comes to geese.  Who knew?

And that brings me to Tuesday morning when it began to rain buckets again!  I looked out to see that there was a moat of debris built up, and it was holding the water causing it to back up into the chicken’s run.  Donning my wellies and grabbing my umbrella, I stood on the porch and listenend for thunder. Hearing none on I went, braving the rain, to break up the dam and save my chicks from wet feet.

Well, I nearly had the job done when I heard this strange sound in the trees behind me.  Sort of electrical, but on a massive scale… I turned in time to see a bolt of lightning materialize out of thin air and stab the earth in three places.  The shock wave from a lightning’s thunder blast of that scale is perceptible  and frightening beyond belief.  I seemed unable to move.  In a book it might read:

She stood there holding her breath, frozen in fear and unable to move.  Then hearing the electricity crawl up and then down again, with a sound not unlike some behemoth generator buzzing behind the trees, she broke inertia and dove into the chicken’s run for safety.

I tried to rationalize what I heard.  I told myself it was harmonics from the sound waves hitting the metal buildings, but the sound was coming from the woods, NOT the buildings…

Intercloud lightnings over Toulouse (France). ...

Image via Wikipedia

So here is what I found out about lightning – and I will not even try to put it into my own words because… I can’t:

“Lightning is usually initiated within the thunderstorm cloud when a faint, negatively charged channel called the stepped leader emerges from the base of the cloud and propagates toward the ground in a series of steps of about 1 microsecond in duration and 150-300 feet in length. The stepped leader reaches from cloud base to ground in about a hundredth of a second. As the stepped leader approaches the ground, streamers of positive charge rush upward from objects on the ground. When one of the streams contacts the leading edge of the stepped leader, the lightning channel is opened, negative charge starts flowing to the ground, and a return stroke, lasting about a tenth of a second, propagates through the channel as a bright luminous pulse.”  *Sometimes, following the initial return stroke, one or more additional leaders may propagate down the decaying lightning channel at intervals of about a tenth of a second. These leaders, called dart leaders, are not stepped or branched like the original leader, but are more or less direct and continuous. Like the stepped leader, however, they initiate return strokes. These return strokes are what we call lightning.”

(From the National Weather Service at: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/fgz/science/lightnin.php?wfo=fgz  )

Right about then I was feeling like this lady…

Needless to say I was ‘adrenalized’ for the duration of the day!

I Later told Bob that my Guardian Angels were “…working at WARP SPEED,”  to which he replied, “Their wings must have been singed too!”

So, after all that, it is good to tell you that our week ended on a sweet and gentle note.  We have a new resident on the Farmlet!

Meet *Little-Bit

Back history:  We lost Fatty Cat about a month ago.  It was the usual story… she went out one night and did not return in the morning.  She has left a hole in our family and was sorely missed by all…  especially Claus who was missing his  playmate.

And so it was, that on Thursday when I took the Boys to the vet for allergies, I chanced to meet Little-Bit…  and realized she needed a home.

Well I ask you… How could I say no?


* I now believe this was the “electrical behemoth” I heard in the woods.

**Yes, she’s named after that Little-Bit from Fried Green Tomatoes!

No rain is a pain!

My first summer here was very pleasant.  The weather stayed in the 80’s for the most part and we had enough rain to keep everything green, and unbeknown to me a three-year drought had ended.  Now last summer things heated up a bit but we still had enough rain to keep everything green and happy.

However, this summer it has been unseasonably HOT.  Temperatures are in the mid to upper nineties for days on end.  The humidity sears your skin and keeps you ‘glistening’ while you work… which by the way you get up early to do and try to be done before eight or nine AM!  That is unless you like feeling like the Wicked Witch in Oz when she shrieks,



“I’m melting, Oh!  What a world, what a world…”

There’s been rain and rumors of rain all about us, but our little enclave is dust.  We see the rain and occasionally get a tease of rain, but it is so dry that the scorched, and cracked earth just sucks it up before you even get to see a puddle.

The lack of rain has taken its toll on our lawn and gardens, but I don’t care so much about that.  I worry more for the farmers here who rely on the rain to grow their crops.  Cotton and soy are holding their own, but the corn is dying where it stands.  The leaves point up to the sky as if in prayer for rain, yet none is forthcoming.

Here on the Farmlet I have endeavored to keep at least the gardens from dying and have watered the grass out back to keep the geese in fodder, yet it is barely enough, and so costly.   Our water bill and usage doubled (strike that, Bob just said it…) tripled last month.

Now the good news is this:  We have a well on our property.  It isn’t running because the pump and tank need replacing.  This is needless to say expensive. The cost to have someone come and replace it is about $1,400.00 and we don’t want to dip into our savings for that expense.

So how is that good news? You ask.

Well hold on, I’m getting to it!  The new neighbor fella across the street from us works on wells for a living.  He came over this morning and confirmed what the well repair company already told us, “Yup, it’s all got to be replaced alright.”

Now the next part of this is positively Providential!

He went home, made a shopping list of every part I would need for the job –  pump, holding tank, pipes, wires, tape, glue, simply EVERYTHING. I asked him how much for the labor…

And then he said:  “I don’t want nothin for it.  I’ll help ya’ll out for free.” and “Just wantin’ to help a neighbor in need, doing the right thing, ya know? ”

I tried to insist, but he is refusing to take anything for it.  So, I guess my new neighbor is going to be in free eggs for the duration, and at least one of Bob’s smoked chickens in the near future!

What a blessing!


Our heat index for tomorrow is predicted to be 108 to 112 degrees.  Hotter than the day this picture was taken.

The rain came down in Madison, hit the pavement, and immediately went back up into the sky.  Remember in grade school those picture diagrams your teacher showed you in class trying to explain how the water cycle worked?  I think this makes the process self-evident.

Back in the chicken yard the hens are all lazing about and panting…  I am worried for them in tomorrow’s heat.

In the meantime we bake and wait for cooler weather to prevail.