Provided by Alice Liles
Note from Alice: This story first appeared in my blog The Bright Lights of Muleshoe on May 5, 2022. We had one hell of a hailstorm that Sunday May 1st, which left us with two shattered windows, a shattered skylight and a meter of dead leaves, broken branches and damaged plants. Having cleaned up afterwards, I can’t imagine having to after a tornado, which some people had to deal with after that storm, and I’m thankful we weren’t affected by it. Ours was precious little destruction compared to tornado damage, so please forgive me for whining. It was a pretty good storm, though, and here’s my version of the next day.
Sunday night we were given this mundane weather report that we could experience golf ball sized hail and high winds. We had hail, but this time the weather gods really sent us Golf ball sized hail ! The wind was blowing hail in an almost horizontal line from the south, the deafening noise in this metal roofed house was like being in a pinball machine on steroids, downright scary, and we were bombarded with icy guns for what seemed be an hour, but was probably only about two to three minutes. But it was annoying. I know it could have been worse, but of course you still think your experience is the worst.
Needless to say, this photo doesn’t do the hailstones justice. They were really big and made the yard white as snow. Besides their size, they came down with such vengeance that they had a double whammy in terms of damage.
Of course, we were lucky to only have to deal with hail, not tornadoes spawned by the storm, and I appreciate that, but we had our share of damage. I’ve heard horror stories of every window on the south side of houses being demolished, and I know of others with roof damage all over town. We lost two windows to the south and a skylight, so the damage to the house was relatively light, compared to what it could have been.
And then the rain came. Well, sort of. We have a measly two-tenths of an inch, may be. But then, after everything had calmed down and the storm had moved on, I went outside to assess the damage, only to find the insult to injury – giant holes in the gutters funneling rain into my rain barrels! The barrels are almost empty of water, thanks to the drought. and stayed that way, thanks to the hail. Not fair!
Dead leaves and twigs covered everything, the yard, the garden. I didn’t take any pictures of this as it’s all green and doesn’t show up as much but those of you who haven’t had to deal with the aftermath of a hailstorm can’t relate to what a pain it is to have to clean up all that mess! And it’s much worse than these pictures show. We had everything pretty clean on Tuesday, then damn it, that night the wind came back and added the broken stuff that hadn’t fallen from the trees yet, so we have to clean again – and again because more wind will come and blow debris from trees.
The next day I walked around the garden looking for any damage the plants might have suffered, knowing that most cacti, thanks to their thorns, usually deflect hailstones and don’t hurt as much as fleshy succulents. But then I found out Espostoa melanostele, one of my favorites, had taken a hit. As you can see, it lacks the large, strong spines that would have protected it more.
The agaves weren’t as lucky as the golden barrels, ferocactus and others that have these large spines covering their bodies, so the agaves ended up with holes in some of the leaves. The wound won’t kill the plant, but the leaf won’t repair the hole.
My old, big tomentose cotyledon and Sedum Cap Blanco the plants have lost all kinds of leaves.
And I could go on, but you get the idea.
It’s a funny thing about rain, though, even if it was only two-tenths of an inch. As I surveyed the damage, I was also greeted by patches of color, cacti that had weathered the storm with their buds intact responding to whatever precious moisture they were able to absorb.
Bless their prickly little hearts! A bigger plan is always in motion.
Little orphan Annie was right: the sun rises tomorrow.
To see more flowers after the storm, go to www.aliceliles.com.