Golf Balls from the Sky

 In CSA Newsletter

hail storm: April 3, 2011

I learned this evening that Zea sleeps more soundly than I ever realized. A severe thunderstorm   came through tonight with the largest hail we’ve ever seen. Golf balls of ice hurtling down from the sky. Mike and I stood in the porch and watched (and listened) to it fall. We were quiet, both thinking about the damage to our greenhouse, our buildings, our vehicles, the garlic that recently sprouted out of the ground.  I went to check on Zea. It sounded like a thousand hammers pounding on the roof. I was completely amazed by both the enormous racket of the hail hitting our roof and our daughter’s ability to snore right through it. I listened to her sleep and just prayed that the hail wouldn’t bust through the greenhouse.

After it stopped, Mike and I slid our feet into muck boots and went out to survey the damage. There are two layers of plastic on our new greenhouse, and the top layer was punctured many times. Balls of hail were wedged in between the two layers of plastic.  Had I remembered to add the new greenhouse to our insurance policy?  How many hours will this take to repair?  How fast can they ship us a new piece? Will the loss of the second plastic layer, an insulating layer, make it difficult to keep the greenhouse warm enough? Should we have turned off the fan that inflated the layer prior to the storm… would this have led to more or less damage?

The questions roll through our minds more or less silently. As we look out across the greenhouse space at thousands upon thousands of baby veggie plants, we feel enormous relief that the plants are okay. We turned off the light and walked back quietly in the dark towards our brightly lit home.

When the weather radio bleeped its warning 25 minutes earlier, we briefly discussed what damage might ensue. Before the storm even hit, our voices were already resigned.  So often in farming, all you can do is let the __________ (Fill in the blank. Possible choices could be: storm, drought, frost, bugs, disease) roll through and deal with the aftermath.  As farmers there’s a fine line between what can and can’t be controlled.  What can’t be controlled is the most difficult part of our vocation.

That lack of control is what makes farming so risky, and what makes CSA such a wonderful way to support family farming. Tonight, we are so grateful the plants are safe.  We are also extremely grateful for the 335 CSA members who have joined us in this delicious, yet risky endeavor called farming.  On nights like tonight, your support helps calm the swirling worries.

p.s. The garlic in the fields looks okay. Most plants only have a couple of inches out of the ground. We’ll just have to cross our fingers that the damage on their leaves doesn’t comprise their ability to fight off disease. Here’s hoping.

April 2011, Spring Update