Our Rural Roots

On Weather Watch

(Pamela Smith)

Few monitor the ebb and flow of Mother Nature more closely than a farmer. Knowing the signs of pending weather without the aid of a cell phone or weather radio was, and still is, vital in the country.

Our parents and grandparents routinely pointed out the signs of coming weather -- the meaning behind a drop or spike in temperature, the smell of a storm versus a spring rain and the sound of wind rising. Even on the brightest blue-sky day, we exited the house with a quick scan of the western horizon and paused to gauge the breeze.

We had an action plan when a weather event appeared. First, move the horses from the front pasture to the back pasture. Put away garden equipment and lawn furniture. Close shed doors, garage doors and barn doors. Then, gather in the enclosed sun porch and wait.

The porch was our personal movie screen to Mother Nature's latest action-packed release. Howling wind, blazing lightning and rumbling thunder. With each crack, our hearts leapt. I still praise the Lord we never had to evacuate to the basement.

I married a weather watcher. If "My Farmer" wasn't a farmer, he'd be a storm chaser. He stands in the yard, bent against the wind taking in the pending storm, then returns to our wrap-around porch proclaiming, "It won't be much." A few minutes later, it isn't.

He's taught us about the shape, color and movement of the clouds. He explains the colorful swirls shifting on the radar screen. In the deepest section of our porch, our family huddles waiting for the show. Wind slams into the house. The rain races across the field. A low lengthy rumble, like a bowling ball rolling down the alley, announces the arrival of another spring storm. We are ready.


Katie Pratt writes, tweets, farms and watches the weather from north-central Illinois. Find her blog at theillinoisfarmgirl.com, and follow her on Twitter @KatiePratt4


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