After the tornadoes. . .

April 29, 2011

We live 4 miles from the Alabama / Tennessee state line.  So yes, we were in the middle of all that tornado trouble this past Wednesday.  We had no electricity all day Wednesday (it went out sometime Tuesday night), and spent a large part of the day in a dark basement with little battery-powered lanterns for light.  I got plenty of exercise running up and down the stairs!  We’d think the storms were over, go upstairs, and uh-oh, the weatherman says another is coming and “take your tornado precautions!”  And there we’d go, back down to the basement.

There are toppled trees all around us.  Others have been split by the high winds or actual tornadoes, and part of the trees are broke off and on the ground.  The Bradford Pears that are so popular in subdivisions don’t fare too well in high wind.  That soft wood just can’t take it.  But there were oaks toppled or in pieces too!

We were very fortunate that we didn’t get a direct hit from the tornadoes skipping around the area.   We had a lot of tree limbs down, but not any entire trees.  (Well, we haven’t walked back in the woods… no telling what’s happened there.)  Our walnuts, oaks and elms lost a lot of small branches and some bigger ones.  One big branch fell off a walnut tree and landed right by the peafowl aviary.

picture of fallen limb by aviary

A Near Miss!

Of course, several smaller limbs DID hit the aviary and it looks a little worse for wear, but at least the netting didn’t get all torn up like it would have if the bigger branch had smacked down on it.

There were some branches blown into other odd places, like this one:

picture of branch through tree

That's a little strange!

And we had to move branches like these off the driveway so we could drive out.

fallen branch

One of many fallen branches!

Most of the day the guineas stayed out in the rain, even though they have shelters!

picture of guinea in the rain

One bedraggled guinea fowl!

I suppose if a tornado had went right through here, it would have ended up pretty fowl!  No telling where the guineas would have ended up.

Once the winds and tornadoes were done for the day, the water started rising.

picture of flooded road

Here comes the flood waters!

That’s not unusual.  After particularly heavy rains, the creek usually gets out of bounds and goes over the low part of the road.

But it didn’t stop there.

Nope, for the first time since we built our lovely spring-fed pond, the flood waters got up and over the berm, and flowed into the pond.

picture of muddy flood water getting into pond

And the contamination creeps in. . .

I took the above picture from the far side of the pond, between it and the creek.  I didn’t get to stay there long. The water just kept getting higher, and pretty soon it was where it had never been before and I had to MOVE!

The water not only flowed into the pond for the first time ever, it came on out the other side and flowed around behind it also, and into the bottom pasture.

picture of flood water coming out of pond

Flood flowing through the pond.


flooded area

The Farmer checks out his flooded pond.

Not only did the pond get contaminated and water flow through it and into the pasture, but the water got so high it completely covered the bridge across the creek.

flood waters over bridge

See the arrow? There's a bridge going under water there!

That’s something I’ve never seen in all the years we’ve lived here!  There is usually one high spot visible during a flood.

Yesterday we started cleaning up.  The critters enjoyed the leaves off the downed branches.

picture of sheep eating tree leaves

A usually unreachable treat!

And although we didn’t loose our roof, we picked up some roof and soffit materials from someone else’s house… who knows where.

picture of soffit blown off by storm

Wonder who this belonged to?

Despite the inconvenience of no electricity for a day and a half, we are much better off than neighbors to the south of us who will not have electricity for 5-7 days.  And maybe we’re all lucky Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant didn’t take a direct hit, but just lost all the feeder lines.

Just a couple days after the storm and it all looks pretty serene here. . .

picture of muddy pond in sunshine

There was a storm here?

We’ve pretty much cleaned up around the farm, and if it wasn’t for the muddy pond, you’d never know we had such storms.

Sadly, it will take many of our neighbors that took direct hits from the tornadoes a very long time to put things to right, and some things will never be the same.

More Rain, More Floods

March 9, 2011

We’ve had a lot of rain lately, and it rained pretty much all last night and on into the morning.  Anytime we get very much rain, it means the creek bordering one side of our property is going to flood.  Fortunately, it floods the road AFTER you get past our driveway!

picture of pond and flooded rural road

Flooding makes it hard to get to the dead end part of the road!

The water had receded somewhat by the time Toby and I went out to the mailbox, so this isn’t as bad as it got.  Otherwise we might not have gotten cheeky enough to walk through the flood waters to get to the bridge.

picture of farm collie dog standing on flooded road

"Hey, you coming or what?"

I figured if Toby could make it, so could I, and off we went.  I stopped mid-way and took a picture of the water going off the edge of the road. . .

picture of water running off road

Enough froth for a latte!

 And here’s the same section of the road, and more, taken from off to the side.

picture of creek waters over road

Creek is definitely out of bounds!

The cat-who-thinks-he’s-a-dog was still enough of a cat that he declined to join the party and frolic in the water.

picture of white cat

"Are you guys totally CRAZY???"

We took our crazy selves and walked towards the top of the bridge.   I took this picture right before we got there.  It’s the side of the creek flowing to and under the bridge.

picture of flooded creek and culverts

Two Culverts & A Flooded Creek

There are actually TWO culverts, but you can’t see the one closest to the front of the picture.  It’s completely submerged in the flood waters. 

The water really rushes out of the submerged culvert!

After we got our exercise walking around in the flood waters, we headed back home.  I noticed we have a new little reflecting pond in the back of the The Farmer’s pick-up truck:

picture of water in bed of pickup truck

Now all we need are some koi in there. . .

And that’s the way it is, on another rainy day of the monsoon season in the south.

Even More Weather Changes

March 2, 2010

So we went from a sunny day on Sunday, gloomy on Monday (all sounds kind of appropriate, doesn’t it?)… and today… it’s snowing.

For a while it was coming down pretty hard.


A little snow, or a lot, it doesn’t seem to bother the cardinals.

Cardinal in snow storm.

Snowy days always seem like a good excuse to go walking in the woods and alongside the creek.

Snow on banks along creek.


Creek with snowy banks.

Some of the snow was getting slushy and falling off the trees into the creek with little “splats!”

There’s not really a lot of snow on the ground, but Toby had fun running around in the woods.

Toby having fun in the woods.

There was a little snow along the slews.

Slue and snowy ground.

Spot decided to come out and see what we were doing when we got down around the pond.

Spot walking through snow.

The bottom pasture was also snowy of course.

Snowy field.

By then it was getting so slushy, and so much water kept dropping on my camera lens, I just gave it up and went inside.

Toby and I were tired out anyway.  (Okay, maybe it was just me.)

Snowy In The South

February 8, 2010

So now instead of rain, we have snow.

It was coming down pretty heavy for a little while. Big fat flakes blowing in the the wind.

The cardinals don’t seem to mind. I can’t resist taking pictures of them because their bright red color looks so pretty against the falling snow.

Northern Cardinal bird (Cardinalis cardinalis)

As usual, Miss Nosy had to get her face up in the camera and see what it was.

Llama with snow on face.

Llama up close and snowy.

She was looking for a treat.  I’m afraid she and her buddy, Samson, are rather spoiled, are hoping I’ll give them a handful of sunflower seeds.

Llama and Shetland sheep ewes.

As you can see by looking in the background, the sheep and dogs don’t mind a little snow either.

Samson was out looking for a treat too, but he doesn’t get too close to Keira.

Male llama in snow storm

She’s kind of cranky and doesn’t want to share treats, so I have stretch one arm waaaaaaaaay out towards Samson with a handful of sunflower seeds, so he can get some while she eats out of my other hand.  If she finishes first, she threatens to spit at him. 

Keira threatening to spit at Samson.

"I spit in thy general direction!"

Being a smart boy… he moves.

Samson in a snow storm.

"What did I do to deserve such treatment?"

I hadn’t planned on going for a walk today since I was sick all week-end and still feeling kind of puny.  But the snow was rather enticing, and Toby walked to the gate no less than 3 times, and looked back at me with those puppy dog “plllllleeeeaaassseeee” eyes.  So we went.

The creek is always a big attraction.

Creek and tree in a snow storm.



There is leftover rain water mixed with snow.

Snow, water and tree roots.

On the way back to the house, the peacock showed me his snowy feathers.

Peacock feathers with snow on them.

Snowy peacock feathers.

Some of the chickens and roosters were congregating under the window sill in hopes of getting a few sunflower seeds any wild birds might knock down.

Chickens in snow.

Looking for a hand-out (fall-down?)

Of course, I think the wild birds aren’t really looking to share.

Wild birds eating sunflower seeds.

"Yum, seeds just for us!"

Just as we were ready to go on the back porch, there was a Buff Orpinton hen in the rose bed.

Buff Orpington chicken

There is usually a bunch of the old lady Buff Orpingtons there.  I think they like to snuggle up against the house on winter days for a little extra warmth.

Our little snowstorm didn’t amount to much, but it was pretty while it lasted!

Soggy in the South

February 5, 2010

There sure seems to be a lot of rain lately.  Of course, I guess that’s better than the snow some places are getting.  But it’s awfully soggy around here.

Toby and I went for a walk to the mailbox, which means going by the pond.

Pond and flood waters over road.

Rain, pond and flood waters.

As usual when it rains for any length of time, the creek is backed up and overflowing across the road.

Water from backed up creek flowing over road.

Creek waters overflowing across road.

Also as usual, there is a big chunk of tree stuck in front of the openings of the culverts under the road.

Tree floating in front of culvert in flood water.

Tree stuck in front of culvert.

Of course our farm collie Toby doesn’t mind traipsing through a little flood waters!

Toby, our farmcollie, walking on flooded road.

Toby walking through flood waters.

In fact, he considers it such a leisurely stroll, he even stops to get a drink.

Our farm collie gets a drink from flood waters.

Ummm, flood water is a nice treat!

And since HE is walking through flood waters, well he figures the human should too.

Farm collie looking back.

"Well, are you coming???"

Okay, okay, what’s it matter if I get cold, wet feet!  I’m coming already!

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