You Still Have To Fly The Plane!

After The Storm

You Still Have To Fly The Plane

What? I thought that this blog was about homesteading? It is; you’ll see how that saying pertains. Two weeks ago we lived through that event which was officially classified as a tornado. We suffered much tree damage, which is good for the firewood gathering efforts, but not so good for the roof of the house. It suffered a direct hit from a fourteen-inch diameter maple falling on the structure, and costing us much expense to repair. Those repairs are nearly complete now, and things are beginning to return to normal.

We garden about a quarter of an acre, and it is about all the two of us can handle during the growing season. In addition to that, Danielle has to deal with all of the milk that the goats give us each and every day, whether we want it or not. And I am the primary animal care-giver, rising very early to milk and then repeating the act in the evening. It’s okay, don’t feel sorry for us. We both enjoy every bit of this, but it is much hard work. We were just barely able to keep our heads above water.

Then the storm hit. On the exterior I seemed to be taking everything in stride. But inside, I had gone into a bit of a funk – a sort of depression. Much of the garden was wiped away, the garden we depend on so much, and that we are so proud of. We plan the garden in January, and have dreams of working in it. Then in a span of fifteen minutes that whole dream was wiped away. It was several days before I could take a walk down to the garden area and make a close assessment of the damage. It was really bad. All of the plants that were outside of the greenhouses or not covered with white cloth were ripped to shreds from dime-size hail. It was astounding! I’d never seen anything like it before. It looked a little like machine gun fire had taken place. Our heirloom tomatoes that were in the outside garden were all stoved-up. Two thirds of the potato plants were pretty much killed. The plastic was partially dislodged from the large greenhouse. Plus, we had this huge tree on the house. Plus, the power had gone out for two days. We had to haul water from a nearby lake for the animals, and for washing, because the water we had collected from our rain barrels was not enough. I felt pretty bad inside.

When I was much younger I flew airplanes quite a bit. I recall one time during a training session. I was flying a glideslope to the runway carefully, concentrating very much. A powerful gust of wind came along and blew the plane off its approach, and I just threw my hands in the air in an act of resignation. I had given up. But the instructor was really good. He said, “You still have to fly the plane!” And of course, he was correct. I immediately placed my hands back on the controls and got back on course.

When we walked down to the greenhouse and looked at that plastic, right then I knew that I had to ‘still fly the plane’. There was much work to be done. There was still garden that could be salvaged. I got the ladder out, and with Danielle’s help we tugged the plastic back into place and clipped it tight again. Took about fifteen minutes. That act seemed to be my turning point. We took stock of the tree damage and went to the lumber yard with a list. The repairs seemed do-able for me. I got the chainsaw out and began cutting sections of the tree apart, and the next thing I knew I was on the roof of the house throwing the limbs to the ground. We were on our way back to normal. The power even came back on.

After a weeks time the garden looked as if it might in part grow again. After two weeks time we were picking salad greens, and of course things like carrots were under ground and they were all fine. The potato plants did not look healthy, and now after almost three weeks it has become evident that they will not live. The potatoes in the ground are fine, and I guess that is what really matters, but they will not grow any larger or more numerous because the foliage on top have all died back. I am taking samples of the tubers every couple of weeks to make sure they are not going bad, as I do not really have time right to harvest and put them up yet, usually a September activity.

So that is about it. This should be the last time you will hear about the storm from me. But just remember: If things are looking difficult, or you are going through a bad spell, you still have to fly the plane.

Stephanie Reiser

About Stephanie Reiser

After many years in retail sales, writing, and part-time editing for a small newspaper in New York, I began studying organic gardening and farming, and animal husbandry. I began to read a lot about homesteading, off-grid living, consumerism, materialism, economics, and economic history.