There she Blows

Spring Wind Storms on Zen

Tis the season of the winds up here on Zen Mountain.

Past Winter Winds

I will grant you that there really isn’t a season without; Winter winds still hold the record of most damages, normally coming out of the South.

The worst storm to date in the last nearly thirty years was a winter wind coming in at over 75mph, destroying things.

Before I had a station up here, I had a winter storm come through that demolished my gazebo .It flattened my mud room to the ground; walls, roof, doors, all piled against the door leading out. Fortunately, I had more doors to get out. I spent the next day removing the remains and then starting over rebuilding. The same storm also flattened ALL of my wind fences..Every single last one. a 14 foot fence that had air gaps to let some wind through and was anchored not only by 8X8″ posts every 6 feet but also anchored at either end to shop at the south and pump house to the north. There was also a lean-to on the leeward side.. all flattened to the ground. Another fence; anchored at either end and 6X6″ posts every 6 feet that was 10 feet tall was broken to the ground…The North end was anchored to the mud room frame. All posts were broken off at ground level. A third fence; 6 foot tall, anchored every 4 feet with 4X4″ posts PLUS metal fence posts on the leeward side of the 4X4s as well as diagonals on all three fences was flattened and metal posts bent over into stylish serpentine designs…Jolly.

Of all the fences, posts,and so on, a single 6X6″ post remained…with a bird house on top of it…Some how, the birdhouse simply hunkered down. The weather had warmed before the storm, making all that frozen grounds covered in snow melt into the slop that we get from our clay soil before it turns to terra cotta for the summer. None of that helped during the storm, giving it a place to start as it weakened the wind fences I set up for the constant winds out of the West and North West. Angled supports meant nothing to a wind coming from a different direction, actually ripping them out first as that was the most friction.

Damage starts around 55 mph up here. Pretty much anything that can’t stand a straight on 55mph wind has long gone or never was. 55 mph winds had lifted my old roof causing the lovely water features I enjoyed for decades….

” Oh Look! A waterfall! …………In the living room…”

” Sweet! rapids!…. In the bathroom….right in Front of the shower..convenient…Yup. “

” Well is dry, but at least I can get water from the bedroom… Right at the middle of the doorway as well as landing on my pillow…”

I would repair the roof..year round, but always, winter was the worst. The next wind storm would hit and then the next bout of rain or snow and the roof would leak through out the house again. Insurance refused to pay, even though the storm that did the original damage was bad enough and large enough that we were considered a natural disaster area by the government and were suppose to get help….Such is my luck as anyone that reads the post knows… Weird shit just happens to me. Oh well.

The latest Spring wind storm

And now back to the present:

A week ago Saturday we knew a wind storm was coming in as well as rain and thunderstorms. They were talking winds up to the 40s and 50s..

Those get very uncomfortable..Yes, they can, and do, take down branches from our few trees, but more so, as we get the winds straight on, no buildings, trees, hill sides, etc.. We have a 360 view. No matter what direction the winds come through, there is nothing slowing them down.

Take the wind enjoyment test:

I have people ALL the time tell me they enjoy the wind…They are thinking of breezes, not winds… In the Pacific area we have mountain tops and shore lines that get these winds…Thank goodness we don’t ( normally) get tornadoes and its kin….

Stick your head out the car window going 55mph…Now keep it there for the next couple hours…Refreshing still?… 30-45mph winds are the norm up here.. They can, and have been blowing for weeks on end..Generally picking up speed around 10am , as the sun starts to warm things and cool winds get pissed off, wanting to chill the area back down..Sooo stick your head back out the window of your car again , drive 40mph..now keep going for two weeks non stop…Ya still enjoy wind?…Now try doing the same thing but drive behind a rig going the same speed…. through the desert..Get that dirt and sand flying in your face at 40mph for the next couple weeks…Take a deep breath….Yup.. Welcome to Zen.

Sooo anyway…

We watched the storm come in, rain started and the winds picked up. 30-40-50mph. I ran outside to tie a few things down that looked iffy though I had already gotten ready for the winds…. I had thought….

60mph!… Ok, now I am losing my cool , as is Ma…60 plus is down right scary up here. Ma saw that, even though I had wrapped and tied the umbrella, the wind saw the nothing but a pole, mostly in a secure area as a challenge and tried to push it into the house. I ran-ish out the door, only to be hit by a gust that literally lifted me up into the air, catching me mid step, I had to get into ” Hummie Garden which meant going through a gate that was being pummeled by the wind as well. One of the pair of gate ” doors” swung back, clipping me in the ear… I was NOT amused. Running through Hummie , I got pushed into the next archway then slapped by several of the plum laden branches in the face…again..not making me feel all warm and fuzzy. I got to the umbrella. I had to pull it out of its stand. A series of gusts hit right then,,course.. I am pulling away from the house as the wind tries to push both the umbrella and myself into the entry way . The winds were binding the pole into socket I was trying to pull it out of and as each gust hit, one after another, I was thrown off my feet and into the glider. Finally the gusts held back , leaving just the 60 mph more or less ( not at the station to see at that time ) and I was able to pull the umbrella out, only to have the next gust hit with me holding the umbrella like a javelin heading towards a large window. I caught my feet again, literally jerking back, I was able to get away from the glass. I made my way through Hummie again, and again getting clipped by the gates. Fighting the winds, I finally after some time, got the shop door open and umbrella in there . Heading back out , I got hit in the face with the shop door as another gust pulled it out of my hands.

I made my way back to the front door only to have another gust literally lift me , tossing me bodily past the entry….Finally got back into the entry with one last clip on the shoulder from that door..

Then I remembered the ply on the other side of the shop...CRAP!

I ran back outside, now raining like crazy… The rain mixed with hail and being forced horizontally across our entire property at 60 mph.. That will wake you up. I couldn’t wear a hat to slow the sting to my face as a hat wouldn’t have made it out the door ( try the car test with a cap if you doubt me) I had to head directly into the weather to get to the other side of the shop. Fortunately, one of the pieces had flipped, locking the rest as it was wedged under the utility trailer.. So That was safe enough, I didn’t want any of that hitting the house or one of our trucks.

I stepped into the entry and….. CRAP!

I needed to go look at the dumpster which is a good fifty yards out..yup heading back towards the storm again. Walking down the drive as I am getting hammered with ice and rain, I had to get right up to the dumpster before I could look without getting my face battered. It was still locked down… awesome. Stumbling back, the storm pushing me along, stinging me for good measure, I listen to the trees over head, as well as looking at the few new branches around me…CRAP! That was a little unnerving .

I was able to look at the roof as I walked back, as well as I can see that far now.. I saw some edges lifting , but all in all, it looked good. We had lost some roofing shingles during the 70+ mph winds , so I was happy to see I wouldn’t have to track down replacements.

The aftermath

I looked around some on Sunday but I had actually gotten beaten enough I wasn’t up much for exploring..also come to find out , the headaches I thought was from being twisted were from ticks.. can’t see well enough to tell small ones from who knows what else I get into; splinters dirt and more as I work up here each day…

I had found damages and fixed a couple things but headed back in for the rest of the day…

Ma caught some damage to Lil Eden’s fence. I headed out there the next day to find a LOT of damage… Let’s keep in mind that the fence is an 8 foot livestock fence.. It keeps out deer and elk..not wind….. The wind had ripped the fencing from the posts…but first.. It bent the metal posts… ALL of them.

It also uprooted a tree that was in the lee of an evergreen…

The wind also scoured all of the gardens we had been working on. All of our veggie plants were sanded to the ground and the soil scoured to hard pack. We lost all of our Zucc plants, Cant plants, peppers, pumpkin and so on..just..gone… We can all of those fruits and veggies to keep us going all year round and we just lost an entire crop. More than half of the plums were ripped off as well as the cherries, a few apricots made it. Elderberry branches ripped away, dogwood bush had part of it ripped out of the ground and the rest permanently pushed over. One elderberry bush was stripped of all of its branches..fortunately, she is working hard right now putting some more on,,,well two…and more damages everywhere…

The wind hasn’t stopped yet…It is staying in the 20s though for the most part..Which is more of a breeze to us, but, again, try the car thing even at 25mph down a dirt road for a couple weeks and get back to me on it. Even at 15mph when the bushes and trees and new plants are hit non stop, try to keep them growing when you are always at drought stage, there is no shade or protection from the winds…and everything to the West ( windward side) is clay based flying sanding material..It shreds plants in a day, let alone weeks on end..oh and temps are barely above the 30s at night and in the 50s during the day so not a lot of growth going on to begin with..and the final insult to injury; a friggin batch of moles I can not seem to stop at the roots of everything, killing off several evergreens this year as well as a few bushes and some of the brand new plants.

Now on the brighter side… we got a ton of rain during the storm, It rained so hard that it looked like waves going across Zen. I tried to get videos but the good spots to record from were in the storm its self so not happening and what I did catch is hard to see because of the boiling clouds at and below our level,,well and the most impressive part of the storm, I was out in it. Rain water came down so fast and hard that there was inches of water on the deck chairs’ seats,,even though the wind constantly was blowing it off, it rained just that much harder than the wind for a while.

As crazy as it sounds, and was, it just just one of the things we deal with up here…Like squirrels wiping out a year’s crop of apples in a day while I was at work, or a herd of cattle that came in and destroyed a couple of my apple trees. Or falling into the snow and finding an under the cover new fast moving river of sorts, that pushed me dozens of feet under the crust trying to drown me..Or blacking out falling into the well with only me around, having a boot lock into place , holding me upside down with nothing to grab and yet again almost drowning … Falling off the roof in a wind storm trying to do repairs…Getting lost in a snow storm at night..Being attacked by a swarm of hornets at the bottom of the property , when I am allergic to stings..Buggers chased me all the way into the house,stinging me..Face to face with a mother cougar and her kits running to the other side of me…in the middle of the night some fifty yards from the house with only a flash light..A cougar hunting me while I was out hunting with a bow….Getting stuck in the middle of a rampaging herd of elk when someone shot at them somewhere down below me, being bounced from side to side as I got in their way..Being gored by a buck….Chuckle…. so..yeh…

Just another day on Zen Mountain.

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