Saturday, November 7, 2009

50+ in Storm Mode

The last forty eight hours have been challenging.  My drive home from work Thursday night was an adjustment since I'm still trying to get used to the dark.  After an upper fifty degree day, a low was approaching and driving home that night I faced high winds and heavy rains.

I travel a two-lane highway to/from my office.  A nice rural drive but known for it's many fatalities.  I find myself not as comfortable driving in the dark.  That night, with all the headlights coming towards me, the wind pushing around my car and the heavy rain, my trip home was tough.

Arriving home I barely said hello to my husband as I tossed off my heels and slipped on my muck shoes and rain coat.  Still in my "professional work attire", Hank, our Chocolate Lab and I headed out to check on the horses.  I was in "Storm Mode" but Hank was in "Throw the Ball Mode".  Unfortunately, he didn't get much of that in.

The women who built our place, a past trainer in the area named Sylvia Taylor, put a lot of thought into where she placed the large loafing sheds in each of our pastures.  They are attached to our out building or barn so they are easily accessible for humans.  They are also pointed in directions that meet the demands of any adverse weather up here.  I found our horses warm and dry, comfortably munching their hay.  Since they prefer to be outside, I decided to leave them be.

My next Storm Mode priority was to make sure we'd be ok if we lost power.  At our place no power = no water.  I filled the water trough until it overflowed.  Inside the garage I grabbed my large green buckets.  My husband laughs at my buckets but in our second year up here when we lost power/water for five days, I learned my lesson.  I want to be able to flush the toilet, thank you.

After I filled up the tea kettle in the kitchen (for drinking water or to wash hands), I filled up Hank's water dish and had just enough time to kiss my husband goodbye as he headed out for his annual 4-day hunting trip.  I surely don't begrudge him having his own space but I was not thrilled to have him leaving me this stormy evening.

We are pretty remote and I find myself a little unsettled on the first night I'm alone...well, in this case, I found myself kind of scared.  I could hear the wind roaring outside and the lights kept flickering off and on.  I kept my flashlight and cell phone near me as I moved around the house and Hank stayed close by.  Thankfully I was tired from a day at work and slept pretty well with the exception that I kept thinking I heard large trucks (actually thunder).

Yesterday brought the same weather we had the night before.  I ran some errands in town and on my way home in more wind and now hail, I thought I spotted some of the clouds churning around in a circle.  Later in watching the news they reported a large funnel cloud in our area.  That must have been what I had seen on my way home.  We live in the Cascade Foothills...Hello!!!!?  We had a Tornado touch down over Labor Day weekend and now a funnel cloud?  Don't the Weather Gods know that this is Washington State and we aren't supposed to have weather like this?

Last night Hank and I got the chores done before dark.  He got plenty of ball time in because I was able to stand inside the loafing shed and toss it out into the pasture.  The horses were dry and happy so I left them out again.  Getting up this morning I can see the snow level has dropped and I heard on the news that we should expect a "turbulent day".  Oh really?  What do you call the last twenty four hours?

But what really got my attention was in looking down across the miles of fields around us I don't see a single animal.  No horses, no cattle or even the neighbor's buffalo.  After yesterday's funnel cloud, this was creepy.

So I moved my Storm Mode up a notch, bringing in lots of dry firewood and preparing the barn with water and shavings.  I'm ready to move the horses in a moment's notice.   

My husband returns tomorrow.  Although I'll be glad to see him and even his dirty laundry, I find myself no longer uneasy at being here alone.  For a little bit of time   :)  I won't take his presence for granted.  This experience has been good for me and made me realize how much I depend on him when it comes to chores but also that I can go it alone here if I need to. 

Tonight it's only breezy so the storm must be heading east and things are finally settling down.  Three days ago the trees still had leaves on them.  Tonight when I fed the horses I saw that the trees were now all bare.   Those leaves are probably in Alaska by now from the winds we had. 

Winter is coming and the beautiful Fall we had is over.  The temperature has dropped to the upper 30's.  Tonight is my last night alone so I'll light a fire and some candles, eat whatever I want, watch whatever I want on TV and let Hank sneak up on the couch and cuddle with me.  Life is Grand.  :)


  1. such satisfaction in knowing you are independent. It is often equal to the satisfaction of seeing your husband walk back through that door.

  2. What a great statement, so true.

  3. You know, we never got those high winds down here in eastern Oregon. They were predicted. Glad we did not get them though. Our trees still have leaves on them....they are so pretty, some trees are even still green. I do not much care for the wind at all. Give me lightening! Give me Thunder! Give me rain! But leave the wind be!

  4. My husband has a KNACK for leaving out of town in the middle of bad weather, storms, snow, ice you name it.

    I've learned to cope, but I still don't like it !

    Oh the stories I could tell!