Tuesday, April 19, 2011


So we've hired and we've advertised and we've fought the mortal enemies and the fickle foes and now comes the big test.  Now comes the big test.  It's finally here.  D-Day.

Last week I ran missions preparing the farm for opening day.  Thursday I went to Southern Container to get some pulp quarts and pint clamshells to put berries in.  Friday I spent all day on the road to Greensboro to Lewis Shipping Company to pick up flats from Mid-Carolina Packaging and to Hillsborough to pick up buckets and ice cream from Maple View Farm Dairy.  Not to mention the various errands around Goldsboro to get signs, pay for advertising, buy miscellaneous supplies, etc.  The Boy and I were on the road pretty much all last week. 

Finally it arrives, the day we've all been preparing for, Saturday April 16 2011, D-Day.  We knew all week they were predicting awful weather (remember, I'm a weather geek).  I wake up that morning around six thirty to you-pickers waiting on me.  I run out the door without even my phone in a rush to get there and let them pick.  My scale wasn't even out of the box.  My help arrives, Tiffanie and Keith (aka Red Robbin the hayride driver) and we get started folding flats and whipping the place into shape while the wind whips us into shape.  The bee man comes and we get an up close and personal look at the hive (this was super neat, even though the smoke smelled awful that they use to subdue them and the sight of all those stinging creatures buzzing around me and crawling around did give me the heebies, I persevered, got within a foot of them, and got some nice pictures, even one of the queen!)  All the while I've got the National Weather Service pulled up on my phone and we're watching the clouds just boil knowing something big is coming.  Saturday also happens to be my mom's fiftieth birthday (my mom is the best mom ever, without her and my mother in law I wouldn't be able to get half the things done I do) and my dad has planned a party for her.  So The Boy and I leave The husband, Tiffanie, and Red Robbin to it and go celebrate.  As I'm sitting there letting my food digest (in THE most comfortable chair ever.  I don't know where Uncle Pat got it but it's a-mazing.  He says he's going to use it to hunt in, I think he'll be doing more sleeping than hunting) I pull up the radar to see the line of storms at around the Greensboro mark.  The entire line is filled with tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings.  That's when I knew that this was for real.  Normally when the meteorologists on TV go crazy about severe weather it turns out to be nothing really, it's when they don't talk about it that it's bad.  This time they got it right.
All Hail the Queen!  She's the one at the top right corner of the knife.  She is all golden colored and has a longer abdomen from the others.

Creepy Clouds

Opening day U-Pickers
I get back to The Stand and we have some pickers who couldn't make it to the air show.  I'm watching the radar constantly.  When it gets to the Johnston county line and we start getting thunder, Tiffanie and I give up and pack up The Stand.  The Husband and I are freaking out because we just know we're going to get hail at least.  Strawberry slush anyone?  We've already resigned ourselves we will.  Power goes out before the storm hits and our phones are dying (that's the problem with smart phones, especially my Droid.  I can't use it a full day and it hold a charge.  I love it, but I'm glad I invested in a car charger).  The storm hits out of nowhere and the wind and rain are so bad I can't see out of my windows.  I'm staring at the ground, looking for the inevitable menace, those horrible little white balls of ice, hail.  Miraculously, I see none.

So this was how our season opened.  The next day we had no electricity at our house and they closed our road for no reason at all.  Like I said in an earlier blog, everything that can go wrong will, and it will, but we were so fortunate that we didn't get the worst.  Some of our fellow strawberry farmers in the county lost their entire crop, and that's nothing to the poor folks who lost everything.  My heart goes out to them all, and every time I look at our berries and my unscathed house I get goose bumps thinking about how fortunate we really were.   

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