Sudden Storm & Resiliency

I was having a (mostly) fruitful day in the workshop working on the top-bar-hives (our bees were very busy today getting oriented in their new world). Though the day was for the most part partly cloudy with plenty of sunshine … at one point … from a distance we saw dark gray clouds approaching and they arrived very fast. Then, all of a sudden, a storm broke out … intense winds and a powerful hail-storm … within minutes there was no visibility. I was still in the workshop with plans to continue working … but the rain blew into the workshop … so I quickly closed it and ran to the house.

I’m inside now and I’m stuck with one powerful image. Our western windows are covered with white-looking stains … these are flower petals that came off a tree in the hailstorm. That means that we won’t be enjoying much (if any) fruit from this tree … most of the flowers were destroyed within just a few minutes.

We have been reading a book called The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times by Carol Deppe. The first part of the book goes into detail about the kinds of challenges that modern day food-growers have to deal with and then goes on to outline mitigating strategies that lead to resiliency. When it comes to climate Carol suggests that the obsession with global trends like global warming are irrelavant to gardening (despite global warming, the last decade has been one of the most climatically stable and abundant periods in the last few thousand years). Averages don’t mean much to plants and gardeners … extremes do.

It took a few minutes of hail to almost wipe out most of the food-production of a tree. Last year it took one late frost to kill all the flowers on local prune trees – no prunes were to be had. We have an orchards of hundreds of trees behind the house … and we didn’t see a single fruit. Prunes were very expensive in the markets – we had to buy some to make some jams and compote.

It’s one thing to read about these forces and another to witness them at work. We managed to cover our little improvised green-house just as the storm hit us. A few minutes later and we could have lost all of the fragile plants growing in it. It continues to be an englihtening process of discovery for us: direct experience draws a very different picture then abstract theoretical concepts.

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