Monday, April 12, 2010

When the Wind Blows

imageWind reached an estimated 192 mph in Arvin and lifted in excess of 25 million tons of soil from local grazing lands alone. The wind was strong enough to cause drifting sand to pile-up and plug highways, bury cars, blow-out windows in vehicles, and denude the landscape. The raised dust from the event dimmed the sun as far north as Reno NV.  That was December 1977.  The photo above was taken in the skies above Arvin which is just a few miles southeast of Bakersfield.  I remember that day.  Anyone that was in the San Joaquin Valley then remembers that.  And they probably hate the wind just as much as me.

Usually the wind ushers in the promise of a rainstorm only to blow so hard that the rain goes some place else.  Yesterday, it was windy.  It wasn’t 192 mph windy; but it was dirty windy just the same.  It was windy all day long.  Yuck.  The tomato seedlings were whisked into the shed for protection.  Anything that might blow away was moved or tied down.  We spent the entire day inside watching the dirt get thicker in the air.  Then it finally rained.  It rained most of the night then on and off today.DSC_1493_3908

Today, I surveyed the damage.  My giant whirligig twisted off the shepherd’s hook it hung from.  The wind chimes got a bit tangled.  Some potted plants tipped over and were up righted.  The tender growth on many of the trees and vines had damage.

DSC_1482_3897 Wisteria -  Both the wisteria vines have similar damage as if the leaves are melting.

DSC_1484_3899 Santa Rosa Plum – The plum tree damage looked as though caterpillars had had a food orgy on them.

DSC_1487_3902 Granny Smith Apple – The leaves have been bashed about so much it looks as if they’re bruised.

DSC_1488_3903 Warren Pear – This damage looks as though the leaf had been slapped around a lot.  The leaf could have been slapping against a post.

DSC_1490_3905 Fantasia Nectarine – The wind must have whipped these leaves around smashing them against each other until they broke.

DSC_1491_3906 Blenheim Apricot – This guy just looks all tired out.  The leaves are flopped over to one side.  Here’s how they look just a few days ago.DSC_1497_3865

Thankfully, the peaches (O’Henry) are hanging tough.DSC_1485_3900

The rain had settle the dirt out of the air so much that I could see the base of the grapevine very, very clearly (The hill going south to LA that Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen made even more famous.).

For anyone who thinks that 1977 was a long time ago, for anyone that likes hot rods, or for anyone that would like to hear good ol’ Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen…enjoy!


Melissa said...

Oh, Maybelline. Who could blame you for hating the wind? Sorry about the damage to your plants. It's heartbreaking to see something like that after all our hard work, isn't it? I pray that the worst is over and you'll have a productive harvest this year.

And to answer your question, we can grow blueberries here in Alabama! I have a humongous old blueberry bush that is still producing berries. This spring, we purchased new vines/bushes for kiwis, grapes, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries. I am beyond excited about this!

Christine said...

I lived in Bakersfield 12 years between the mid-80s and mid-90s and never heard that account of the Arvin windstorm. Amazing! I hope the inclement weather is mostly behind all of us in the San Joaquin Valley and also wish you better gardening days ahead.


*Melissa - I may consider blueberries.

*Christine - If you had been here in the mid 70s you would have enjoyed an immersion in Valley Fever spores.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

When we used to live near Sacramento it seemed there was nothing to stop the winds between the Napa Valley and us. The worst that happened was that the neighbor's 'Costco-Special' gazebo blew over the fence and embedded itself in the stucco on the side of our house (and took the fence and a couple of window screens with it). Nothing like Arvin though, but after living in the Central Valley, I'm glad to be coast-side again, where our winds seem to only come with rain, and are much more tame. Your Santa Rosa plum looks like ours did after the deer broke into the orchard a couple of weeks ago. The only good thing is that this has happened early in the season, when new leaves are still pushing, and hopefully in a few weeks the damage to your trees will be less noticeable.

We just planted a Warren Pear, I'm curious, do you get good fruit set? Do you have other pears as pollinators?


*Curbstone - The pear is in its 2nd season and has never bloomed yet. It's dwarf. I purchased it with the impression it was self fruitful.

Erin said...

We had a huge wind storm down here last week and I lost every.single. apricot on our tree. It was the FIRST year fruit set on it and there were a minimum of 50 fuzzy apricot babies on it before the storm. I almost cried. I may still!


*Erin - I know the feeling. It's just nature's way of thinning. This year your tree will dedicated its energy to growing strong enough to hold its fruit.

Erin said...

I hope so Maybelline! It's a huge 10 year old tree. This was the first year I had a pollinator for it (took me a few years to realize it wasn't self-fruitful and then another few years to find a mate who bloomed as early as this one). So sad!


*Erin - Hope this season's setback will make the next season's fruit superior.

Ron McDonald said...

Good Old Commander Cody, those were the days! Put down alot of beer to "Hot Rod Lincoln"