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Thursday, June 29, 2006


Lightening evades the night

I realize that I have talked about the lack of windbreaks out here, but the subject of storms is looming just a county over right now. Maybe it's because my father is here from out of state, and seeing him brought back fond memories. He is the reason that I love storms. Growing up in suburbia, he use to go out side to watch the tornadoes pass as we huddled in a hallway or our neighbors bomb shelter. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? But when you spend your entire life with tornadoes every spring, it's part of life. Of course it is a dangerous but exciting thing to see.

cloud to ground lightening

My first tornado, that I was allowed to go outside and watch, was about 15 years go {it still feels weird that I am now at an age were can say that and I wasn't an infant.} This storm is now remembered as the Andover Tornado. But it didn't start there. It formed over the rodeo grounds in the suburb where I grew up. The sight was more than awe inspiring. I watched as it reached down and touched the ground, I could see homes shredded and it's lumber thrown about. Then something strange happened, it jumped into the big ditch. Suddenly the dirty black tornado was a bright white as it sucked up the water from the man-made river. We watched as it passed within a block of us and make it's way into Wichita. That's one thing I will never forget.

A forming storm

But what does all this nostalgia have to do with homesteading. Plenty I would say. The experience that my father gave me as a child prepared me for a life where the meteorologist won't break in during a program to tell you there is a tornado in your fields. Where you have to know the smell of coming rain, the yellow of the air before hail, and the eery silence that comes right before a tornado takes your home. We have this device called a weather alarm. It's helpful for night, but during the day, it's better to know the signs so you can take care of the things on the farm that needs to be tied down or bring the livestock in. You need to be able to tell if there is hail on the way before you venture out into a "frog strangler" to fix a fence.

With experience comes knowledge, and with knowledge {especially out here} comes the ability to save your own life.

If you have children interested in tornados, I recomend these two books

1 comment:

alrescate said...

I've always loved to watch a storm roll in. I have to admit I'm a bit at of touch with the weather these days. When I lived out in the country as a kid I was better at telling when it would rain, hail or snow.

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