10.23.2012 Gotterdammerung

Sunday evening, the weather geeks started wetting their pants.  Weather models were suggesting that in 7 day’s time, a massive freak, hurricane/noreaster hybrid storm would slam into the east coast.  Maybe a mid-Atlantic strike.  Maybe north of the Mason-Dixon.  Either way, it has the potential for massive destruction.  Gotterdammerung was the word that came up in discussion.  I saw the model maps, and yep, pretty frickin’ scary.

But weather forecasting being what it is, they could be totally wrong.  We might only get a little wind and no rain at all.  The storm might turn and go out to sea and miss the east coast altogether.  However, I have to proceed as if Gotterdammerung/Ragnarok/Armageddon is coming.  If I don’t prepare and the storm hits, then I have unnecessary property damage.  Besides, the be prepared ethos is in my DNA.  I can’t help it.

I have thus far filled all my fuel cans and topped off the tank in the truck. (Well nearly topped off.  Joe Truck has a big tank and gas stations have dollar limits).  The propane tank for the house was recently filled, and I’ve got a bit of propane for the grill.

Other than harvesting the garden, there’s little else to do.  My pantry is pretty well stocked from the summer garden. (But after a couple weeks of Apocalypse, we’ll be down to pickled things. I have lots of pickled things.)  I am waiting until Friday or Saturday to go through the garden so the beans and the peas have as much time as possible to develop before harvest.

Knowing that I have to hand thresh and winnow (and dehull if I want to make pancakes), I have harvested as much buckwheat as I care to.  This is just an experiment, after all.  I still have some drying in the barn from last week’s harvest.  Yesterday’s harvest is drying in the sun on a tarp in yard.

The yard is mowed probably for the last time this year, although we’ve yet to see a real frost.

I have decided to let the chickens weather the storm out in the pasture.  Their present location is actually quite sheltered from winds.  But if forecast winds are high, then I will anchor the chicken tractors with the dog screws.  I’ve put tarps on the back of them again to discourage raccoon attacks and to keep the birds warmer, but that means the chicken tractors have kite potential again.

If the storm does come, I’ll put the horses in the same pasture, with an extra electric strand around the chickens to keep Opie from raiding the chicken feed.  There are trees and hills for shelter should the horses desire it, not to mention a small patch of oats and buckwheat to fill their empty bellies.

Every time I go down the barn, I take a “flighty thing” with me – coolers, boxes, chairs etc., you know, the sort of stuff that accumulates on a porch.

There is locking down the beehives.  But based on what happened today, that’s going to require my full bee suit and done only if it looks like we’re going to get winds over 35mph.

The bees, you see, are in a really foul mood.  Not sure why.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous today. But as I zipped past the hives with the riding mower, out they came to express their displeasure.  Three stings – two on the forearm, one on the index finger.  Lovely.

The horses too are in a really foul mood.  I got hints of it yesterday, but we were able to work through it as I exercised them in the round pen.  Today however, Ophelia put her Percheron on, and it was a full hour of “not gonna and you can’t make me.”  I was lucky to secure a draw with her today.  For a long time she was winning.

Venus wasn’t nearly as pissy, but she insisted that no one was deserving of a left lead today.  Not even that very smart lady who came to play mind games with her.  You see, we have a prospective buyer for Venus and this buyer really got into Venus’ head on Saturday.  Venus has deemed her worthy, though I am not sure the prospective buyer really wants to play mind games with a horse every day of her life.  Ophelia has deemed it a done deal and is sulking like Venus is already gone.  Opie’s been around the block – she knows what it means when a stranger shows up with a saddle in hand.

So the bees and the horses.  Behavior has changed.  The horses have some legitimate excuses.  The bees . . . could it be they know something about Tropical Storm Sandy that weather forecasters might like to know?  I haven’t a clue, but storm prep continues, just in case . . . And for what it’s worth, I did not consult the chickens.  They’re chickens.  The sky is always falling and every day is the twilight of the gods.

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