So Patou is afraid of thunderstorms. He’s also afraid of gunshots (he hates the first day of hunting season), but this time of year it is thunderstorms that set him off. Long before the black clouds gather on the horizon, before electricity is crackling in the air, before the barometric pressure plummets and summer’s heat seems to fall out of the very air, Patou somehow sense the impending storm and he goes looking for trouble. Then he does ridiculous things that he would not normally do–he runs through my vegetables; he rushes the front door of our house whenever someone opens it; he buts his way into my car when I run over to roll up the windows. He spent one recent storm inside my Mazda Protege, fogging up the windows from the comfort of the driver’s seat, all because I didn’t see him coming, and once he was in, there was no removing him while thunder roared and lightning flashed. In light of his storm aversion, our apprentice, Graham, decided that “Patou” must be an acronym for Precipitation And Thunder Observation Unit.
We’ve had our fair share of storms these past few days, and as a result Patou has been up to all of his old tricks. But beyond the environmental storms that have cooled our afternoons and spoiled my morning’s hoeing, we’ve also been enjoying the storms of plans running awry.
Those of you would frequent Facebook have probably noticed the enormous walk-in freezer we recently installed. It is quite large. We are quite excited to make it our primary meat storage location. Unfortunately, every time we try to turn it on, it cools to about 10 degrees, then malfunctions, and quickly heats up to about 60. Our freezer installation guy has visited us three times now, and has three times told us that the problem is fixed. The temperature in the freezer, as of 8:30 this evening, was 61 degrees. I’m not sure who is more unhappy, the freezer guy, to see Andrew’s number on his cell, or Andrew, to be calling him yet again.
This would all be a mere inconvenience were it not for the fact that we have four pigs’ worth of much-needed pork waiting for us at the processor. And, as we’re leaving the Bethesda Women’s Market this weekend, we have a bunch of meat that needs to come home. Meanwhile, our chest freezers are are capacity (unless we throw organization out the window and just pack the freezers solid. Having experienced how fantastically frustrating that is, I’m in favor of plan B. Any plan B.). Our friend Rob has offered a temporary fix, and will be letting us store some of our meat in his walk-in freezer (thanks Rob!!), but we process chickens every week, and have four more pigs leaving the farm soon, so we really just need a funtional walk-in freezer!
As an added bonus, today’s thunderstorm brought with it one uncomfortably close lightening bold (I have never exited the high tunnel so fast!) which fried our main fence charger. Luckily, Andrew noticed the dead fence before the cows or the laying hens did (the pigs are on a separate, battery-powered charger). But, of course, all of our old, spare chargers are too weak to really put much heat on the miles of fence that we now have. So this evening, when we closed Meryl in with the laying hens, she swiftly informed us that she would much prefer her bed under the porch. And there was nothing we could do about it.
Amidst all of this farm triage, I can at least recognize one silver lining: it’s the crazy days that give you something to talk about.