Break out the rain gauge

I never thought I’d write about a gully washer twice in one summer.

Then again, I never thought I’d see a storm like the one Friday night.

It was perfectly sunny when I left at 6 to fetch the kids. It’s a half-hour round trip and I tacked on a few minutes to grab milk at our little gas station. Clouds gathered in the distance but still, it was pleasant outside. In those two miles from store to farm, the sun bathed the corn fields in a golden glow.

But home was a different story. The ridge was already swallowed in a purple wall of clouds. The front was rolling in and it curled around the valley like a cat’s tail. Dipped in white, the tip of the tail was off to the south-west. The body of the storm was heading toward us.

The horses felt the weather brewing. Normally, they’re pretty indifferent to thunder and lightning but on this day they bolted for the run-in shed before the first rumble.

The clouds were so heavy with moisture they looked dirty-brown and smog-like, and when they finally arrived they were low enough to skim the silo.

There was no gentle rain, no gusty wind or fat drops warning of what was to come. The storm just took a big breath and descended. It closed in until there was nothing beyond a white tunnel. The power cut out immediately.

The poor kid cowered in the crawl space under the stairs sobbing quietly, and there wasn’t much Martin and I could do to comfort him. We were too busy chasing drips.

It’s an unsettling noise — the sound of rain in the house. And pretty soon it wasn’t just a few errant drips…it was pouring through the window frames like water in a sieve. We set out bowls, then pots and pans and finally emptied the linen closet and piled mountains of towels beneath the windows.

Afterwards, it looked like a tornado had passed through. Sure, the walls were standing, the roof was intact but with the towels and the cooking gear and the furniture hastily shoved aside, the place was a shambles.

The rain returned later that night, but not before the sky lightened and we all emerged from hiding.

I raided the barn fridge for beer and we watched the kids test the pothole depth in the driveway. The horses crept from the run-in shed, the cats slunk out of the weeds. Watching life emerge was easier than mopping up the house.

instant swimming hole

Aside from the leaks along the seams of the house, it could have been a lot worse. And with camping lanterns and a battery operated fan, we successfully weathered 10 hours without power.

But that’s another story. Another blog.

no sign of power as far as the eye can see…