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Just another day on the farm, maybe the last 6 days

Posted 5/22/2017 1:38am by Valerie Tachenko.

The forecast said rain for the next 2 days, so I decided to head over to our daughters and fix the plumbing problem before the sunshine came back because this would be the last chance for many days. I loaded up, but the weather, it hadn't started to rain yet... "maybe it will soon" I thought as I headed down the road to La Grande to make the weekly egg delivery. Yup, raining in La Grande, but nothing at home, it always is that way! That has been the norm for several years now, we can keep working the gardens and it rains all around us, "sure glad we have a good snow pack this year, 118% of normal." That was the last report I had heard.

Made the drop in La Grande and got on the freeway to Pendleton and Hermiston to drop Hanging basket flowers, Wham! I drove into a wall of sleet and rain the wipers couldn't keep up with! then it let up a bit and quit before the Ukiah exit, but not for long because it started to rain again and then snowing like the middle of winter before Meachem exit. "look at that, there's a chemical truck spraying the freeway" and it is only 33 degrees, and the shoulder is getting white with snow, and it just got worse until I caught up with 2 more snow plows blading the whole freeway and the snow was now over 3 inches on the shoulder, it quit after the scales on top of Cabbage Hill. When I got to Mollie's house, still lots of sun so I went to work to finish digging the project out, I wanted it cleaned out so all I had to do was go pick up the pieces I needed to put it back together in the morning and head back home.

Meanwhile back at home, Valerie went to a social media presentation, and Ryan was plowing the ground for the corn maze. Valerie called me as she was going to town and said that there was a bad storm to the west of us and hoped we did get any hail from it because it sure looked bad.

My phone kept buzzing me in my pocket so I took it out to see what the problem was, pictures, from Valerie, looked like we had a snow storm. I'd taken a picture of a small tractor and sent it to her earlier and said "future rototiller tractor"!!  Under the first picture was the words "We don't have anything left to rototill."  Just a little snow... so what, but alas, it was hail.

As I drove into the yard, the aroma of fresh cut hay, just like I smelled back home as a kid, my favorite time of year!! The only problem was, there wasn't any mowing machines, or swathers sitting around the fields because it is the wrong time of year for us, they were still in the shed or parked on the hill from last season.  Then it hit me... this was a real hail storm, you know the kind, "the one that happens to someone else"!! When you looked around the countryside, all you could see was grass cut off about 6" high, the thistles looked like they had beed sprayed, and the trees, well they were naked for the most part, all the leaves gone from the northwest side, some totally gone, some fruit trees lost their bark, and the apricot tree that was totally loaded now looked like a ghost in some movie, with just sticks and a few leaves on the south side of it, if look really hard, you can find a few apricots, but the rest, the tree was loaded in spite of a bad frost, were gone.

The hail was still in piles on the north side of buildings and the greenhouse. At the barn it was red with the paint that it took off in the storm and the house lost the paint on the facia boards, they are ready for paint, :-)

In the garden, the row cover which didn't save the cucumbers and the $5 per seed zucchini during the frost the week before, was looking more like a window screen with 1 in+ holes in it.  All the other stuff that was planted in that garden was not up yet so it is wonderful!! The potatoes are poking their heads out, and the beans are just sprouted and a few zucchini survived, even found a couple cucumber plants that survived under the row cover. 

Down to the next garden I went, this is where we had hoped to capitalize on early market, the garlic looks like its been in the shredder, the peas that were just starting to bloom were flat to the ground, the spinach looked like it was a target board for a shot gun range, with leaves and pieces everywhere!! the 8" potatoes that were froze back some, were now flat to the ground and the weeds that were protecting them looked like they had been mowed off with the lawn mower. Oh the radishes, leaves everywhere, but they are in the dirt so we will have them to sell without tops this year. "I wonder if they will keep growing without tops?? They are the perfect size!" Time will tell. The kale, swiss chard, Bok choi, and cabbage, several trays of them were planted out, no idea if they will come back, yes some are still there but looking bad shape. Sure glad we hadn't planted out the last 6 rows in that garden yet...

On to the next garden in it was the fresh laid mulch. We were going to plant out the tomatoes on Monday, but since the weather called for rain and maybe snow, we chose to wait until Thursday to plant them out when I got back from Mollie's house. The plastic doesn't have any holes from the hail, it has holes from the sticks in the dirt, the stems from the plants that didn't decompose during the last winter, it is stretched but still in tack.

WOW what a blessing it could have been worse!!! No windows were broken in the house, no holes in the greenhouse plastic, no dents in the metal roofing on the house that I can see, no dents in the vehicles, because they were gone when the storm hit. Ryan hasn't washed his pickup to see if there are any dents in it, says he's in no hurry to find out.

On Tuesday it will be 1 week since the storm that looked like 99% loss, and things are looking up!! The potatoes that hadn't come up are coming out of the ground. The spinach was mowed off so it will be back with small leaves this week and nice ones for next week. We will replant the kale, cabbage, bok choi, and whatever else that was planted there that doesn't come back and in a few more days we will forget that the crops were lost in a storm!!

Tomorrow we will be planting tomatoes and sweet potatoes, as there are many trays that are ready for the dirt and screaming to get out of that hot box!!

Have a great week!!