Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Spring winds -- we will survive.

Windstorm 2016: We will survive.

Spring is the time for strong winds in our area, always and forever. I learned this the hard way the first spring we lived here, when I had an entire batch of home-sprouted heirloom tomatoes snapped off their little stems during one particularly blustery afternoon. We will survive to endure summer's heat, of that I am almost certain. We always do.

I now wait until May to plant most things and use a variety of wind shields to protect them -- cut up milk cartons and gallon jugs, Solo cups with the bottoms cut out, placed around the plants like a growing sleeve. Live and learn I guess.

When the weather folks give the forecast for this area, they always say something like, "30 - 40 mile per hour winds, with higher gusts on inland hills and mountain peaks." We live on such a peak. Sure, we have a spectacular view, but there's a price to pay and it's the fact that the wind plays havoc with everything that is alive and is purview to the awesome scenery we get to enjoy.

Yesterday we almost lost the fig tree in our yard and an apple tree down in the orchard due to the winds. (I'd just been bragging to someone about how awesome my fig tree was looking, so the term "pride goeth before the fall" has been lurking in my consciousness today). About mid-afternoon, I had to call Big Ag to come home and stake the trees before we lost them. While they've certainly sustained wind damage, we've secured them so that they will not die from falling over. 

Apple tree: will survive.

Wind damage on fig leaf.
Of course the white iceberg roses lost about 25 percent of their petals in this wind event, so between the turned over chairs, strewn petals everywhere and solo cups over the plants the whole yard looks like we had a wedding reception that turned into an Animal House frat party, which if you knew us (or our friends) you'd know could totally happen.

I may also have to thin the fig tree in the future, as its size gets larger than these stakes can protect -- something I'm hating the idea of, because the shade the tree gives is so lovely. The apple tree will be fine, but as it started getting uprooted just as it was blossoming and leafing out, will bear little fruit and have very few leaves this year. But at least it will live to produce next year.

Funny how when you farm or grow anything, next year becomes the repository for so many of your hopes and dreams. We don't imagine next year will be any less windy (or cold or hot or wet or dry or insect-infested, etc.), but we have at least the belief that whatever got us this year is something we'll be prepared for next time around.

Big Ag had rough winds all over his vineyards, too. Sadly, he told me about an old cottonwood that blew down with a hawk's nest in it. There were no young ones, but all the eggs were broken in the fall. Luckily it's early in the season and the hawks have plenty of time to hatch another clutch of eggs, but it's a reminder that everything suffers in these winds.

And now after yet another Big Blow, we're hoping for still air and sunshine, or even rain very soon. Really, anything but wind would be fine at this point.

Gloria Gaynor: will also survive.


  1. So interesting that you can't really plant that much before us despite being so far ahead! At least you don't have to worry about mold or fungi on your tomatoes as it sounds like they get ample air circulation! Do these spring winds have a name in your region? I agree that disco is key to survival as well. Sorry the roses suffered a bit but I'm sure they left beautiful confetti. We've actually had way more wind this year. Not terribly problematic except the way it violently shakes my exhaust box on the roof of the salon!

    1. Ha! I know that sound, we get it here on the exhaust vent over the cooktop (when I am not playing disco too loudly to hear it). Sometimes these winds are called Santa Ana winds, when they come up at night in summer they are called Sundowners. Spring is by far the worst season for high gusts. Yes, I think our planting season starts about the same time as yours due to frost/wind, although at the winery I put everything in early and already have tomatoes! It's not on a hilltop though. We've never had a problem with mold or fungi on tomatoes...on the other hand, the air is often so dry that you can get static shocks from touching anything!

  2. Oh yes, it's been crazy-making wind this past week. I haven't planted a garden the past two years because I think the wind just takes its toll on the tomatoes. I have done container gardening because of the gophers. I still want to try but it's just so disappointing when it doesn't work out.

    1. I SO agree, Denise! Sometimes I see all the damage in the vegetable garden and it just makes me feel hopeless. We definitely live in a hard place to grow things...except grapes of course.