Thursday, August 6, 2015

Harsh hail, and new evening routine.

After some rough weather which I'm going to focus on for most of the post, the weather today is gorgeous. Before we get to the damage from the weather, I'm taking a moment to talk about something that we learned quickly about the turkeys, but finally have a photo of. They fly with ease. They're BIG birds, but I let them out, and within seconds they'd hopped out, and with what almost looked like a jump, one was on the just over 6' roof of their coop. Powerful creatures when they choose to me. I have gotten down an evening routine where I put the turkeys into their coop, and separate out the chickens to go back to theirs. It's a remarkably simple thing. I feed them in the evening instead of the morning, so they follow me. Why herd, when you can draw, why fight, when you can get cooperation? It's working so far. The other chicken update is, one of the chickens has started crowing. I hope it's the rooster we know, because otherwise one of the chicks is a rooster.

So, back to the weather. I wasn't home for the storm proper, but the lady of the House and the Critter were. The Lady of the House in interests of safety given the wind and downpour, stayed away from the windows for the worst of the hail, and started getting photos after things had settled a bit. Left is a shot during the calmer stages of the storm which ended up with about 15 minutes of hail, and 15 minutes of pouring rain. It did a lot of damage around the property, including to the driveway which needed work anyway. As you can see though, the rain was hitting hard and fast. Below you can see a bunch of mostly melted hail with leaves ripped off the trees in the process of coming down. At their biggest the hail was somewhere between thumb and golfball sized, which can do an awful lot of damage to anything it hits.

 The chickens and the turkeys were out during the storm, and fortunately were smart enough to get deep under cover, and are in perfectly good shape. There was some feather damage to one of the turkeys, but that seems to be the worst the chickens suffered in the storm. Mysteriously birds that are descended from jungle fowl know how to shelter in hard storms, though I suspect hail is somewhat unusual for chickens. The lead in is something they're used to, and pine trees remain good cover for most forms of precipitation.
The real casualties of the storm are in the garden. It isn't unrecoverable obviously, but leaves got fairly heavily damaged. The bean plants as you can see with their horizontal leaves got hit fairly hard in places. The lower leaves are in better shape, but the higher the leaf, the more damage it has on it. Some just got ripped clean off where a hailstone hit the stem instead of the leaf proper. For scale those holes are about the size of the first knuckle of my thumb on the larger end. the smaller ones are where the hailstone hit the moving leaf and ripped it as it went by.
The ground running cucumber plant is in somewhat rough shape, and all of the blossoms for the day got completely shredded.  The leaves seem to have been a bit heartier than the leaves on the bean plant, and definitely are better off than the tomato plants which are bent over, have cracked stems, and torn up leaves. One of the main concerns for me with all of this is, with the loss of a bunch of flowers it will delay, and reduce our crop production. I just hope that there is enough warm weather left for things to recover, re-flower, and set fruit again. Probably the worst damage that we managed to get a photo good enough to share was on the potato plants. No longer nearly as full and bushy, in a number of places their stems got hit and just ripped off. Potato plants are hearty enough that they will recover, and keep going. It's just a really startling thing to see things going so well, and then weather happens that you have no control over, and no way of knowing is coming to protect against. Again, I'm really glad I'm not doing this at a time where weather like this could be a death sentence due to reduced storage over the winter.

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