WOW, what a night, huh? Thunder rollin’, light’nin’ flashin’! Had a little dab of rain, pinch of pea hail and a whole lot of wind. Thank ya, Lord!
Naturally enough, our good rain brought others’ pain and suffering. Huff Post is reporting five people killed in a tornado that swept through Woodward, OK, early this morning. Judging from all the weather chatter yesterday ahead of overnight storms that swept the Plains and Midwest, casualties and property damage could have been much higher. Scant comfort to those who lost loved ones, homes and jobs. We’re prayin’ for them, too, this morning, Lord!
The TV talkingheads were talking yesterday about the importance of having a NOAA weather radio in times like these. I say, first, get yourself a top notch weather guy! My go-to guy on the Rolling Plains is Meteorologist Bryan W. Rupp over at KFDX-TV 3 (NBC) out of Wichita Falls. Don’t let Bryan’s Tim-McGraw-style fedora fool ya, the boy knows his weather, not to mention our weather. He’s tireless, too, in pursuit of the wildest weather–he’s a chaser in addition to being a savvy reporter–and constantly sends out critical updates on all the leading social channels. Like Good Old Joe Brown used to say, I’m proud to recommend Bryan to ya, and, no, Bryan is NOT paying me to say that, damn it.
We were all set to camp out at the lake this weekend. That, of course, didn’t go. OMG (that’s “Oh, my gosh” for the hypocritical social police set out there who may be reading this but don’t want any of their fellow travelers to know it), we have not had a good escape to the woods since Horny Moose Camp in…when was it?…’96? That was a weekend!!
Ended up staying home and turning to busy-looking chores in the back quarter (as in the 1/4-acre patch behind our socially-respectable-looking house); reassessing garden plots and raising the eye pokers, low-hanging branches that exist solely to fetch out an eye of a daydreaming mower. Kept wondering to myself, there is the faint solitude of our backyard, what would I be doing if I were out at the lake? Probably puttering around with busy-looking camp chores while really keeping a watch on the developing weather; thankful, I pray, to be clear of all the power mowers screaming and rubber-tires whining along Speedway!
OH, SHIT!! Damn near half past ten and I haven’t yet checked in on Big Red and Ezra!! Pardon my French, children, but this pair of red-tailed hawks have a nest of three eggs that will begin to hatch any day now. We’ve been watching these two going on three weeks, now, starting shortly after Red laid her 2nd egg. The nest is in Ithaca, NY, 80 feet in the air on a light pole overlooking a parking lot on the campus of Cornell University. Live 24/7 streaming is being provided by the bird nerds who run the Cornell Lab of Ornithology here. No hawklings yet….
AS I was saying…we puttered around the yard most of yesterday, waiting to see what the weather was gonna do. Early afternoon Bryan posted expectations of a high-end tornado watch being issued by the Storm Prediction Center up in Norman, OK. First I’ve ever heard the modifier “high-end” applied to a weather alert. Seems the folks at the SPC coined the term during the 2006 outbreak, referring to storms packing especially severe (F3 or higher), life-threatening tornadoes, plural.
Our east-side neighbor lady has this tree with small clusters of white blooms hanging over our privacy nook where the A/C compressor lives. I was going to trim some low hangers back when I noticed a mob of red admiral butterflies storming the blossoms. Wind was gusting pretty steady around 40mph out of the southwest, so I was kind of surprised to see this level of butterfly activity.
A couple of red admiral butterflies out of several working on Latin Lady's tree.
Given the windy conditions, got me to wondering if this was some kind of swarming behavior, seeking a place to hole up until the blow was over. Seems I’m seeing considerably more butterflies working our patch this season. Mostly I’m seeing scores of LYBs (little yellow bastards) working the dandelions and what remains of the grape hyacinths. Also seeing a ton of crane flies this year. I know, folks call these fragile fliers mosquito eaters, but that is a misnomer, children. Adult crane flies do not eat at all–thus, they cannot bite you!–and the larval stages feed primarily on decomposing matter.
We thought about taking a cruise in the Blazer toward evening just to get clear of the city for a couple hours. But by the time we had wrapped the yard chores, dark was setting in, not to mention the fatigue of the aged. Ended up calling it a night, as usual, in front of the TV with nothing on worth watching.
So it was a stormy night in River City. Love lying in bed during a rip rumbling thunderstorm, which, truth be told, beats lying in a leaky tent during same. The morning woke to partly cloudy skies painting swatches of yellow sunlight on sparkling greens. The doves and mockingbirds were in fine tune, too. Bacon from the oven, pancakes in a cast-iron skillet and coffee out of Black and Decker tastes almost as great as breakfast around a campfire.
Maybe we will take that drive out to Lake Arrowhead this afternoon.