Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Storm: Part 1

A storm came in over the mountains Tuesday afternoon.  I had just finished painting primer on areas of the house to protect the old exposed wood from the coming monsoon rains. At least until we could paint, those areas would be protected. I finished on the house and decided I might as well get started painting the shed. Since the earlier storm blew over, I had hopes this one might at least hold out for awhile. But one storm was coming in from the west, the other from the southeast.  They were headed for a thunderous collision over the riparian river area where I live.

We were finally able to get the chicken coop started only the day before.  It was solid, with a partial tin roof, almost four complete walls, and a make-do door.  We needed to get the shed built first, the coop was to follow right behind.  Between work and getting the house done, we were right on target as home improvement goes... falling well behind!   

Well, monsoons ARE here... so we just expected a good storm, but as the clouds blew in off the two opposing mountain ranges...the proverbial pot began to boil quickly.  

The rains started...

The lightening flashed. 

Clouds rumbled... and on the thermometer I stuck to the window just hours earlier, the temperature was plummeting quickly from the 94 degrees it had reached.

The chickens huddled near the house, where they were used to roosting as they waited for their new home. The sky darkened...

We tried to 'herd' them to the coop before the rains, but they were enjoying grazing in the cool of the day..and were used to being outside, day and night.  Grasshoppers were starting to emerge, and they had no intentions of missing one. A couple hens stayed in... but the rest were chasing 'hoppers'.
The rains came.. and they stayed outside.  

The winds picked up... gusted. Unsecured things were blowing everywhere. We were under severe storm warnings with hurricane force winds... and we had no idea.  

We went inside not too worried about the chickens.. rain won't hurt them.

Then the hail started.  The hail storms I've experienced never lasted too long.  We figured by the time we caught all the chickens, it would be over.

I've never seen hail fall for so long was about 2 hours before it stopped. (and I grew up in the Midwest.) 

I put a motorcycle helmet on and threw on a rain coat.  I didn't have time to change out of my shorts... the chickens were getting hammered.
We ran out to get tenderized chickens to the coop.

It got worse.  The hail went from pea-sized to penny-sized... to quarter-sized.  And the winds were coming in like a hurricane...

OUCH.  And I mean try-not-to-cry, ouch.  For me or the chickens... I couldn't hold them and my coat shut. I'm a mom.  Can't help what I did.  I  turned to take the pelting to protect their little soaked feather bodies..

The chickens let us scoop them right up... except for one guinea rooster.  He wouldn't go in.  He was standing guard, no matter what.  Literally, hell or high water, I guess. 

I've never seen chickens so wet. So cold. Or so afraid.

We were soaked, sore and cold.  We left him, figuring he'd be dinner.

We returned to the house trudging through the quickly rising water...


Coffeypot said...

A motorcycle helmet...hahaha. I would never have thought of that.

Bob G. said...

Good Lord...sounded like a dang "Gully-Washer"...!
I've only seen PEA-sized hail (thank God).

Betcha get a good view of those incoming storms, too.

"Tenderized chickens"

I hope that lone hold-out Rooster came through it OK.

Good post.
Stay safe out there.

Wrexie said...

The Lone Ranger came thru fine, Bob. haha... he's a tough ol' bird for sure.

and CP.. we have bikes, so it was right there in the closet by the raincoat. But all I heard was: Helmet. Put it on! It was an order. had to. It WAS a good idea, tho huh?