January 15, 2005

Gully Washer

We had an honest-to-goodness gully-washer last night. Driving, pounding, unremitting rain.

While hard rain always concerns the hillside farmer, I did enjoy listening to the wall of sound produced by our tin roof. Not many tin roofs these days. Ours is a hundred years old, and I've had to patch it in a couple of places. I'll have to paint the roof this summer, a task for which the acrophobic are constitutionally ill-suited (I've jumped out of helicopters, but by God I hate being on a ladder ten feet in the air). Despite the trouble, rainy nights make the tin roof worthwhile.

I had left a wheelbarrow leaning against the barn. The goat, pain in my spanked tuckas that he is, had shouldered it down and it landed right side up. There was three inches of water in the barrow (attention Analphilsopher: ought it to be "was three inches" or "were three inches?" Lord, how my borderline literacy must drive the sentence diagrammers mad). Three inches is a great deal of rain to have overnight.

All the animals were cozy in the barn, but as I walked out to check on them this morning, I notices toads leaping about underfoot. The gully washer must have driven them out of their rapidly filling hidey hibernation hole homes. This has been a very mild January, but I think active amphibians is really going a bit to far.

When I went inside the barn, some of the toads must have followed the light beam - toads like to cluster around lights because the lights attract yummy insects.

Why are you looking at me like that? I just happen to know a bit about toads.

Shut up! I'm not a geek!

Toads in the barn alarmed me. I am afraid that your average toad will not fare too well when stepped on by a two hundred pound calf. So, softy that I am, I ended up on my knees, hand-catching the little guys (and gals - I checked!). I carried them out of the pasture and let them go near the house.

My Samaritanism (is that a word?) is probably futile. The temperature will drop to 20 degrees tonight, so I suspect most of the toads will freeze to death unless they have found new spots to hunker down.

Well, it mattered to those toads for today.

UPDATE: The paper said we had 3.1 inches of rain overnight. I didn't do too badly with my wheelbarrow estimate.


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