We have been in a state. Not suffering from the horrors of the first massive hail storm. But a second one that is due to blow through here tonight.
So forgive the brevity. We are going to risk connecting to the internet briefly. And all being well (and pictures the right way up) you can see some of the fun stuff from last week’s biblical storm.
Before I write about this week’s one.
Here are some pics. First the damage
Road washed away.
Lots of the vegetable garden turned to mush.
It’s a good thing I had those spare seed potatoes lurking in the potting shed. I can plant them now. I look to have lost the potatoes that were growing merrily at the top potager. And in the actual potager from a distance it all looks okay. But all the leaves are shredded and the tomatoes are a goner. And the broad beans, the peas, the basil, the courgettes, the cucumbers, all the things I planted on the Thursday before I left.
Silly me I should have left them in the shed.
I think a lot of the dahlia foliage survived – thicker, tougher leaves – bit it’s too soon to tell. My lettuce is hilariously slimy and not looking like a field of lettuce at all. More like pale green goo.
But actually I did have some goodies left over that were too small to plant out in the potting shed, so not all is lost. Just a major pain in the butt setback
But not any little basil plants. It’s more of those unnecessary decorative stuff like Agastache and rudbeckias. I have already done a delivery around the area for other gardening friends who have lost their crops and their pretties. But I have plenty to replant. When I get round to doing something creative rather than just ambling about with a rake.
Tedious, but there you go. And worst of all they are predicting a crazy heatwave from Tuesday. Really? I won’t have recovered from the hail storms by then.
At first when I drove up to the farm I was so relieved to find things still standing. But after the first cursory euphoric sweep I started to look at the detail of the damage.
Just before I left I had spent a cheery afternoon painting my rill that gorgeous rich dark grey.
Now it’s all bashed off. Stripped off by hail. And you can see that the poor tree is shredded. And the grape vine is half the size it was. But as my neighbour lost every single leaf off his vines I think the hail did as much as it could have.
The road was the trickiest damage. We could barely get the car up. One of the only times you are pleased you have a 4X4 that is put to use getting you home.
But how about this for amazing? I love our Bulldozer septic tank people. I emailed the office late on the Tuesday night when I arrived to tell them that the road had washed away and the gravel and road was all over the terraces. (They had booked the tarmac people to finish the job after all the pipes were layed. But of course they didn’t turn up because they are so insanely busy and it’s a small job compared to resurfacing all the roads round here.)
I don’t know what magic dust Audrey, the office manager sprinkled but suddenly it was all hands to our farm. Just hours after my plaintive email bleat, the bulldozers were back. And the truck of soil. And three workmen including my favourite Guillaume.
And the road and the terraces were repaired.
I could have done without a troupe of horses cantering up on the soft just-tarmacked sections, but I had barely recovered from the speed of their repairs.
Besides, it’s only when you stand on the terrace and look down do you see the hoof marks.
Our nearest town was so badly hit and it was the only conversation at the market. A sort of competitive how bad was it for you chat. Luckily we didn’t have what most people have – damaged cars and broken windscreens.
I had planned to go up to the insurance office to put in a claim. But really, it’s only one panel of the potting shed roof that is utterly pocked by hail. And you can’t claim back all the hours and hours of gardening that is utterly destroyed.
I will just add another panel on the inside.
I did an ambling loop the next day and was so baffled that one tree was stripped of its leaves. And right next to it you have this:
Sadly the soft fruit orchard took a beating. And there won’t be much eating this year. Our precious jostaberry crop is down to about 20 percent of its normal glutty capacity.
All the apples have big bruises on them and there won’t be enough leaves to photosynthesise.
Hilariously I thought a hare had got into the potager. No Swiss chard. Or spinach to be found.
And everywhere you walk there is a carpet of chestnut leaves underfoot. All crunchy from the heat. I need to rake everything up. Adding to my chores.
But instead I did a spot of replacement shop therapy at the market early Thursday.
And Damien my ‘basil dealer’ had a few that didn’t get ruined when the canon blast of hail pocked his poly tunnel so I scooped up his whole stock. The benefits of going early to the market paid off. I knew that another gardening friend / fiend who has a gorgeous garden and potager in the next village also lost the lot …I went by early with some plants for her that were in my potting shed. And I know her well. Last year when she was hit by a similar hail affliction she made a beeline for Damien’s stall and scooped the lot.
All is fair in love and basil. And I didn’t want to miss out. I will no doubt relent and take some round to her. But right now I’m too busy catering for a party of ten guests.
So on that note it’s time to plug in the internet briefly. Just time to send this and hope for a quiet night. Two massive hail storms in one week are more than my nerves and this farm can stand.