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Monday, June 19, 2017

Linda Poole sent this photo of the middle pond loons.  Nice that we have two families of loons on the pond.  The middle pond (and the first pond) is much smaller than where the other loon family is, so boaters need to be extra watchful and careful to give them plenty of space.  It is sometimes difficult to see the birds because they sit so low in the water.  The adults can dive and stay under for long periods, but the babies aren't able to do that.  To read about loons, click HERE.

We are awaiting heavy weather.  For me, it's also scary weather.  The forecast is for T-storms, hail and up to 2 inches of rain.  I simply don't like thunder storms.  That comes from my upbringing on the farm.  Because it was located on a hilltop with almost nothing  higher than we were (except a line of trees in the pasture where we kids had to go for the cows every afternoon), the whole place was pretty much like a pitchfork in the air just daring the lightning to strike.  

My Grandfather Bolton had the notion that lightning rods just attracted the bolts and were no earthly good, so we didn't have them.  We had a big transformer on a pole in the yard between the barn and the house, and for whatever reason, he felt any lightning would strike that pole where there was already electricity flowing, before it would strike the buildings.  The transformer was blown out more times than I can count, and the power company would rush to replace it because they knew we had a herd of 50 or so cows to milk twice a day.

The lightning also struck and demolished the controls on electric fences; it sometimes came in on the old wall telephone, causing it to ring erratically and then fall silent; it welded plumbing so joints of the old iron pipes were impossible to loosen ever again; electric light fixtures were smudged with soot from zaps of surging electricity.  We were instructed to stay away from windows, chimneys and plumbing, and if we were caught outside with no building nearby for shelter, we were told to find the lowest spot on the ground, away from trees or a fence, and lie flat until the storm passed.  

The worst was when a sudden storm came through and caught us while on some machine, exposed, no place to hide.  You made a judgement call - either get off the metal machinery and make a run for it, or head for the barn as fast as possible without dumping your load or damaging the machinery.  More than once I was sent running down the hill to the safely of the house and then watched, terrified, as my father or one of my uncles came hell-bent towards the barn with horses or a load of hay, lightning dancing over their heads.  This often happened on hot summer days when there was no sign of rain - dry lightning, we called it.  The worst.

Hardly a summer went by that some neighbor didn't lose a cow or a horse that had taken shelter from the storm under a tree or next to a fence that was struck by lightning.  And then there were the barns that were struck and burned to the ground, and worst of all, sometimes people were struck.

So what I have is a healthy respect for thunder storms.  Mixed on occasion with a dash of terror.  Here are some safety tips from the National Weather Service.

Be safe.

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