June 13, 2012

A Big Hail Storm

The thunder rumbled. I was on my way home in Carina's car with Aphrodite on June 6, 2012 coming home from goat work-out. A goat work-out is where practice showing goats. I would have to milk Roxy as soon as I got home; I usually milk her at 6:30 PM, and now it was already 7:30. It couldn't rain now, it just couldn't. I looked up at the sky. Sure enough, there were dark, black, clouds overhead. As though they were making fun of my surety that it couldn't rain, three raindrops splattered through the open window onto my face. I anxiously looked into the back of the car where Aphrodite was. Goats hate to get wet so I would have to carrying her under my jacket all the way to the goat shed, and I wasn't looking forward to it. It started raining harder. Carina's mom closed the car windows. By now, the rain was coming down in torrents.

We drove up to my house and I hopped out of the car. I tried to look casual as I tucked Aphie under my coat and bolted to the shed. When I got there I was out of breath. I put Aphrodite down and looked outside. If anything, the rain was getting worse. My milk pail was inside so I made a bolt for the house again. Just as I got inside, hailstones started rattling down. I grabbed the pail and Aphie's bottle and, holding my pail lid over my head as a helmet I ran back to the goat shed.

In the goat shed, the hailstones were rattling on the roof. The noise wasn't very loud. Not yet. It was only so loud that you had to shout to be heard. I held Aphrodite's bottle and she sucked it greedily. She didn't seem to notice the noise. Aphie finished her bottle and I closed the door to the goat shed. All the goats were inside and I didn't want the hail to come in. I opened the gate to the milking area and Roxy jumped onto the milk-stand. I sat down and started milking her. Ever so faintly I could hear the sound of the milk squirting into the pail in spite of the storm. "Well," I thought, "This is one sound the storm can't drown out entirely!" That's when the real hailstorm started. Golf ball sized hailstones bounced to the ground. The noise of hailstones on the roof went from very loud to deafening.

That's when I noticed the puddle. Yes, that's true; when I first came in the ground beneath the milk-stand was kind of muddy. But that isn't what I mean by puddle.  I mean puddle. The puddle beneath the milk-stand was 2 inches deep. "That's funny," I thought. "I didn't spill any water." Then I realized what had happened.

The floor of our goat shed is dirt and the goat shed is also on slightly sloping ground. the water from the rain must have run down the hill, hit the goat shed, and gone under the wall, gone through the goats bedding and under the milk-stand.

I quickly finished milking Roxy. Then I let her out of the milk-stand. I went over to the wall. Slowly but surely water was seeping under it. And all the bedding was wet. All that is, except one corner just big enough for the goats to sleep in. I stuffed as much straw as possible into the crack between the wall and floor. I would have to replace all the bedding in the morning.

Suddenly a terrible thought came over me. What about my baby chicks? What if somehow the power had gone out and their heat lamp in the chicken coop had gone off? The hail had calmed a little so I held an empty bucket over my head and ran to the chicken coop.

My heart stopped. The heat lamp was off! Then my heart started beating again. the heat lamp was unplugged from the extension cord. I could fix that. I plugged it back in. My heart stopped again. The heat lamp didn't go on!

I rushed to the house and shouted for my dad.  I told him that the heat lamp wouldn't go on. He took it very calmly, I couldn't believe that he wasn't panicking like me. He simply said, "Maybe the connection is under water." It takes two extension cords to reach the chicken coop from the house and it was the connection between the two extension cords that he was talking about. "Of course it's under water. Everything is. But what does that have to do with it?" was my stupid answer. Patiently my dad explained to me that when an electric cord gets submerged it shuts off. Otherwise things could get very dangerous.

After my dad turned off the electricity, I went and unplugged the cord from the house, followed the cord until I got to the connection, unplugged the cords from each other, carefully wiped them off, plugged them together again and set the connection on top of our green-turtle sandbox to keep them out of the water. By now I was soaked in spite of my rain jacket. After I plugged the cord into the house and my dad turned on the electricity, the chicks, who had been huddling in the corner, got up and looked around. When they started running around as normal I decided that they were safe and went back to the house.

I had forgotten to collect the eggs from our chickens, and I had left the milk behind. I would get those when the rain stopped, but tomorrow I would sure have a mess to clean in the goat shed!