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May 22, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Blow, ye hardy plank

Man carrying donkey.(English Fairy Tales/Batten) (USPD. 1891, artist life/

Darn it. When I say ya’ gotta get in the barn, you might consider I have your best interest in mind.(USPD/

Residents of Tornado Alley are either brave, mad, or gamblers – maybe a touch of each.

Kits, cats, and dogs ignored the open invitation for the couch opting to scooch under it instead on Monday night when they were all called in.

The resident house cats normally would have been totally miffed to the point of battle at the invasion, but, in times of crisis, strange alliances are made for mutual survival.

Always a toss up about the horses.

The barn offers protection from flying debris, but could be a death trap. Being loose gives the option to run.

Forget outrunning baseball-sized hail vicious enough to smash through the roof.

Past storms managed to break every single window in the farm house. And the defenseless pickup? Sigh. Gonna need more than a car wash for that one.

A few days ago we continually hit “redial” until family out on the ranch picked up. 

All clear on their places, but SIL was in a truck heading out to check on a friend’s aunt whose house had been in the tornado path and her out of state kids could not get in touch with her. That’s done in smaller places. Neighborly assistance. The aunt was safe with only branches down.

Persian cat staring. 1907. book illustration/LoC/, artist

“Look, they aren’t moving indoors permanently, right? Once the rain stops?They’re covered with what they say is trail dust, but we wonder.” (USPD/

Monday, it was fingers were crossed again. The radar looked so bad even long time ranchers were concerned.

We kept checking in. Ride it out there or go across the way to a sturdier house that belonged to a 91 year old farmer who’s in no way or need of a retirement/nursing home? He’s seen many stormy years and takes it in stride.

OK at 9 pm (We watch the radar on tv together and speculate…I know. It’s dumb.)

OK at 3 am. So far so good.  (The radar glowing on the tiny cell phone screen looks like it’s gonna miss them.)

Whew. All you animals back outside. There are varmints to chase.

Another stormy spring week survived.

I’m not a big fan of living in Tornado Alley.

Wonder how my former neighbors are doing in their new home near Dallas. The wife was a nervous wreck here in hurricane country.

(But hey, you have plenty of warning for hurricanes and time to do what you need to do. Tornados are the erratic paranoid schizophrenics of the weather crowd. Flip out into total destructive mode in an instant – and so often at dark.)

When husband retired, she demanded they relocate far far from the coastal dangers….The realtor lied.

We looked at their chosen location and mentioned the possibility….

“Oh,” she perkily chirped, “our realtors said it’s not in Tornado Alley. We’re perfectly safe.”

Hope someone notified the Tornado Union that their traditional path was being rerouted due to a Developer’s promises.

Tornado and dark sky. 1977 LAkeview, TX (USPD.NOAA gov. photo/

Yep, this is near where they moved. Sample TX weather. 1977.(USPD/

The only place they could have chosen worse would have been Little Rock, AR.

Seems like every single terrible storm aims directly for that place. Stomps down with both feet.

If Little Rock was a person, you’d say he/she must have really done something bad in a past life to suffer so in this reincarnation.

They do have one of the best city tornado warning systems I’ve ever seen. Storm trackers stay on air (radio/tv) and tell you exactly which street the tornado is barreling down and which streets/cross streets are next in the direct path. Those real time on the ground updates are really comforting and you know when to dive into the bathtub and pull the mattress over you.

Either brave, mad, or a gambler

“Bad weather always looks worse through a window.” (Tom Lehrer, American musician of pithy humorous songs, satirist, and mathematician.)

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just soft people.” (Bill Bowerman, American track and field coach, inventor, and entrepreneur)

“Bad weather makes for good photography.” (Ansel Adams, American photographer and environmentalist)

“There is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” (John Ruskin, English Victorian, author, art critic, draughtsman, watercolourist, prominent social thinker, and philanthropist. )

That’s the way the wind blows.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

tornado sighting along road. 1976OK (USPD. NOAA gov. agency/

Storm avoidance says you’re supposed to go perpendicular to the path of the storm, but they are a bit erratic…(1976.OK/USPD/







  1. sustainabilitea / May 22 2019 7:00 am

    Glad everyone made it through safely and with farms/houses/et al intact! Scary stuff.


    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 22 2019 8:12 am

      We have all sorts of technology with severe weather conditions. Difficult to imagine what life must have been like on the prairies – every time the wind came up, panicking from uncertainty? Although the great skill used observing the skies and immediate environment they used are not as common among the average person now….you have to turn off FB to relearn what once was common knowledge of nature?
      Thanks for swooping in with a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kate Crimmins / May 22 2019 8:57 am

    When I see those things I always worry about the animals. I hope they have an innate instinct for survival that apparently humans do not. Glad everyone’s safe.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 22 2019 2:24 pm

      Hang on squirrels! Guess many dive into burrows – animals seem to know first, so you have to hope they have ninja grips or able to share the hole in the ground. (Interesting Disney hasn’t had whirling bunnies in a movie tornado…probably being written as we speak…is the how all those critters got into OZ? Sleeping Beauty’s forest? Hmmm.)
      Today I’m warning neighbors to keep an eye on their outdoor cats as another coyote has been seen loping through. If it’s not one thing it’s another. But jut not going to risk fate by living in Tornado Alley – just too nut for me. Thanks for herding a comment this way

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Maggie Wilson / May 22 2019 9:02 am

    I have a recurring dream involving tornadoes. I think it’s because of repeated viewings of the Wizard of Oz. Plus I do love a stormy sky and a hefty clap of thunder. From a safe distance, mind. I’d be a nervous wreck living where you do.

    Regarding your comment above, about turning of FB. I think we need to turn of the weather network, too. I was just thinking this the other day when the forecast was for sun and the radar was clear, but it was raining in my world.

    The use of computer models to forecast the weather is great – software is super at crunching numbers, but you still need a set of human eyes looking at the whole enchilada to confirm the computer’s results.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 22 2019 2:34 pm

      That old movie probably has spun many nightmares? We’re not in Tornado Alley although hurricanes can spin those up like an occasional thunderstorm does…usually north of us. Had one go over on night where we used to live. Only time I’ve seen pine trees pushed flat against the ground and spring back up. So many of the trees were snapped off about 10 feet above the ground.
      Actually we are close to a NOAA facility/radar and look at their data/radar/analysis in their discussion – or the aviation sites’ data/forecast there rather than the Weather Channel who only seems to focus on the weather right around their neck of the woods anyway. There are more accurate sites for real information. It can be dire deadly storms here and all the Weather channel chats about is the potential in a couple of days of some fronts maybe moving across there. Most tv forecasts are pretty much like inciting hysteria and ambulance chasing.
      You’re right. Nothing like looking out the window. Thanks for pouring up a comment into this puddle

      Liked by 1 person

  4. easyweimaraner / May 22 2019 9:22 am

    glad you all are ok… I would fear for the worst if I would live in a tornado alley… I just promised myself never to moan over the constant rain here… it could be much more worse… even through a window ;O)


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 22 2019 2:41 pm

      Knock on wood, we rarely have tornado issue. No way are we inclined to settle in Tornado Alley.
      Every time there’s a discussion with family about them building a new house on the ranch, we always mention some solid storm shelter might be included n the plans…that little underground hole shelter out back doesn’t look too inviting. Although I wouldn’t feel comfortable with a “basement” type shelter under the house – what if the house falls on top of you (shiver). Reinforced “safe” rooms are possible with new construction. Worth the money I would think if you are determined to live there…(the cats and dogs vote “yes”)
      People have to adapt to the environment – ’cause it ain’t gonna change its’ ways for you HaHa.
      Thanks for spinning up a comment to leave.


  5. Anne Mehrling / May 22 2019 9:37 am

    Oh! The terror of a twister hitting in the dark! It’s bad enough in daylight. I’m glad nothing hit you this time.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 22 2019 2:48 pm

      No storm chasers are we! But some family on the ranch seems to deal with it. We do touch base with them in seasons when these massive cool fronts crash into the very warm Gulf air like this past week. Spring snow in Denver and 90 F here. What a year. Thanks for checking in and stopping to chat


      • Anne Mehrling / May 22 2019 5:44 pm

        John was emailing a friend in Colorado who had snow yesterday or today. I love snow, but surely it’s time to stop for a spell. I hope your warring fronts will calm down.

        Liked by 1 person

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 22 2019 7:37 pm

          Snow in Denver/Boulder/Ft. Collins this time of year means storms headed across the midwest – and hopefully not this far south. It’s windy and the Gulf is pumping in hot air and moisture like crazy. The tides are very high and we need to go down and check out the big surf crashing on the piers and sea wall…just to look. Rip tides too strong for me. Nothing like an energetic spring – the winds and clouds keep it cool-ish…not as cool as the Mts, but will have to do.


  6. Beth / May 22 2019 4:15 pm

    My entire family is from Dallas, and I remember as a kid watching the skies for that green hue, being bundled up and taken to my grandmothers while Dad would insist that nothing was going to happen. (He was very young at the time; hadn’t fully come to terms with not being invincible yet. Hrmm… come to think of it, I’m not sure that’s ever kicked in with him. :)) Mom was more cautious – wouldn’t take a chance with her daughter. Thankfully, nothing ever happened, but it could have in an instant. I dislike tornado alley (as most do; it’s a sensible distaste), and I wish a realtor could actually point to a neighborhood and say with certainty, “ah yes, well tornados follow this very predictable pattern – they typically hang around the I-20 corridor, and if it’s a Thursday in May after a full moon, they’ll occasionally stroll down Beltline near Mockingbird Lane between 11pm-3am.” You gotta love realtors!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 22 2019 4:35 pm

      Ditto on the sensible – and the realtors!
      That green is so spooky – and the unstable feeling in the air.You don’t forget it – and there is that train sound. Totally weird.
      My parents retired and moved back to old E. TX. haunting grounds near Dallas. Piney woods are lovely, but their town did get hit by a tornado. Very sudden and totally unexpected.Luckily they had little damage, but it was very much like a battlefield. Mom drove around barricades to get home from shopping; dad had come in early from the big garden on the farm. We were lucky to get a phone call in before the lines were still working / all got jammed. That town still has scars. and places closed and never reopened.
      I’m just not a residential gambler.(Yet this is hurricane country…). Thanks for winding up to toss in a comment on the wind!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Beth / May 22 2019 5:37 pm

        Recently, I drove to see a friend’s show in La Grange. I didn’t know the route well, and turned on the GPS. La Grange had been hit by a tornado earlier that day, and truthfully the rains on the trip there were awful in parts. After the play, one of the building managers said, “more inclemental weather it’s on its way, please head home and be safe.” I hopped in the car along with my cousin, turned the GPS back on when I really should have gone the safest way I knew. We ended up on windy roads, away from the main highways, and a few times it tried to send us down roads closed due to high waters. It was scary, and it took us about 3 hours to get home (normally this is a 1 1/2 hour trip). I got so mad at the GPS, and now I think there should be a toggle where I can say “BAD WEATHER!!” and it send me the safest, not the quickest, way home.

        Liked by 1 person

        • shoreacres / May 22 2019 7:02 pm

          I smiled a rueful smile at your GPS story. I’ve used one of those devices exactly once, in the middle of Kansas while searching for a cemetery. What the GPS didn’t know was that there was a washed-out bridge on the road it recommended. A farmer in a pickup drew us a rough map on the back of a receipt, and we got where we needed to go. I’ve done my own navigating since. So far, so good — or at least pretty much ok!

          Liked by 2 people

          • Beth / May 22 2019 7:06 pm

            I’ve fortunately had good luck with the GPS in terms of it getting me back on the right path when I needed it to; however, when it went bad, it really went bad. I miss big state maps, where had I used that, I would have stuck to the main roads, and not wound around in the dark hoping that the road was safe. I’m so glad you all found a farmer who could help get you out safely.

            Liked by 2 people

  7. shoreacres / May 22 2019 7:07 pm

    Absolutely agree with this: “Most tv forecasts are pretty much like inciting hysteria and ambulance chasing.” KTRH radio’s no better. In fact, they might be worse. They’re constantly hyping the coming on-the-half-hour forecast as though the Four Meteorological Horsemen are going to show up.

    That old-time knowledge you mentioned is so important. We’re right back to people not paying a bit of attention to the natural world, and learning to read the signs for themselves. It’s akin to depending on the government to tell you when to evac for a hurricane. If it’s time to go, I’m going — I’m certainly not sitting around and waiting for my zone to be given permission to leave!

    Speaking of: I was thinking while I was stuck in the midst of the 146 Bridge traffic today what a nightmare an evacuation would be with all of that going on. It took me a full half hour to get from T-Bone Tom’s to Nasa, and that was only noontime traffic. It’s time to plot a new course.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 23 2019 6:44 pm

      It appears even the old local ones you counted on have gone over to the dark side. I think you are right about the general trend to adrenaline hype with the public and media…which is feeding which I don’t know and no longer care.
      Ancient explorers’ journals/sailing logs are probably going to be highly prized as “real knowledge” becomes more dependable /valuable?
      (UGH. Egret Bay traffic is just as bad – even after all the 5 corners money spent…with holiday and tourists, it looks like residents will be landlocked in their homes/streets. (One of those personal sized helicopter/ hovercrafts/drones could really come in handy) Time to lay in supplies – for traffic instead of flood waters.(Seen the newest ad for the mayor’s race as he takes credit for city survival/management during Hurricane Harvey? Hmmmm seems like I recall someone else stepped up immediately as someone stayed in the background..)
      Thanks for weathering the comment section!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Robin / May 23 2019 5:49 am

    Ansel Adams was right. Glad your family weathered the storms safely. I often wonder about the people who live in tornado alley. Is it gumption or foolishness or necessity or a combination of all of those things? I don’t think I’d have the courage to do it after having had an up close and personal encounter with a tornado. As you mentioned, at least hurricanes give you plenty of warning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 23 2019 6:48 pm

      I’ve been close enough and had enough. There are trade-offs and situations with just about everyplace, but Tornado Alley isn’t for me. (Although ask me again in the high point of mosquito season – the buzz here it that it’s going to be a doozie) Thanks for wading in with a comment


  9. danieljackson984 / May 24 2019 10:49 pm

    There is a branch off of the alley that heads off up into places like Kentucky and crosses over into Indiana. Every year in Indiana we had numerous tornadoes that seem to start out in Texas and span tornadoes all the way across the mideast. You will see them head across the states in that direction gaining conditions that most often started in Texas. We would listen to the weather reports and when we heard of them Texas twisters we naturally knew it was that time of year again. An historical thing occurred in the mid 1980s where 50 tornadoes came through Louisville KY into Indiana. Most of them small twisters but one come across Louisville that was reported to be a mile wide. So we saw some monsters up there.–3,_2012


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 28 2019 6:33 am

      Seems like the alley became a superhighway at some point – all the way up with side trips. We had family around Louisville about that time – heard quite a few stories about a massive flood, but not that twister – thanks for the link. And thanks for sit-in’ down to chat a while


  10. LordBeariOfBow / May 26 2019 11:20 pm

    I read this mouth wide open, That’s almost unbelievable, We get cyclones (hurricanes) I’ve watched a couple of those at work, but nothing on these tornadoes of yours. Are you safe where you are or are you really in that Tornado Alley? Your four legged friends, and flying by neighbours, must get very nervous and skittish.

    I also read this in the Reader thing at the top, This is so much bigger and easier, must do it this way more often.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 28 2019 6:54 am

      Well, the forecasters predicted a big Spring storm season – and here it is. (The result of the El Nino weather pattern that forms in the Pacific. And while annoying, not all that rare). We are more likely to see water spouts here – if we drive a few minutes to the bay. Hurricanes can create tornadoes but usually not like the spring monsters moving across now.
      When they talk about tie-down leashes for trailers, they aren’t kidding. Sturdy ones….wonder if those are a possibility for car dealerships with cars on the lot, too? Would make sense except the hail damage is just as bad.
      The German had a keen sense about weather. She just knew and would saunter into an interior room like a bathroom and wedge herself down between tub and wall. Couldn’t talk her out of it – and figured maybe she was the smart one being the example. Tornados just are too weird for me. (Hope you are feeling better – will run back by shortly to finish reading…always the distractions interrupting around here…) Thanks for flying a comment in this way

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordBeariOfBow / May 30 2019 10:44 pm

        I think and worry about you often Phil. living in that dangerous place, German was one smart dog, I miss the tale/.tails of German

        Liked by 1 person

  11. RKLikesReeses / May 29 2019 12:56 pm

    AAAAAACCCCK!!! Tornadoes are terrifying! We had an F0 go thru here, neighbors lost roofs, trees twisted and fell. I didn’t know there was one on the ground and managed to drive right into it coming down my driveway. But that was a light spring breeze compared to the kind you get. Can only imagine how scary and destructive they must be!!!! ((((((((hugs))))))))
    (Tom Lehrer!!! I loved him!! Do you remember his song about the “new math?” LOL – he was the best!!!)


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 29 2019 1:25 pm

      You sound like a tornado buster – whew. Those things are scary. One came across our last house and snapped trees about 8-9 feet up all over the neighborhood. We lost power for a week and had to get a new roof, but other than sweltering and having to help people cut up brush to clear the streets we came out ok. One reason we moved closer to the coast – we see waterspouts in the bay sometimes, but usually not tornado territory (knock on wood)
      Thanks for spinning ups comment to leave

      Liked by 1 person

  12. RKLikesReeses / May 29 2019 1:08 pm

    Well, I shoulda kept my mouth shut about tornadoes. We’re under another watch – 3rd day in a row. CARP!!!!!!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 29 2019 1:31 pm

      This 13 days’ series of storms is getting serious. The farms and ranches of the midwest/tornado alley provide a good deal of the beef, hay, and crops. Ranchers here are having multiple good hay cuttings, so hopefully some of it can be transported up to give those who lost crops some relief.
      Well, when they saw the El Nino weather pattern start up off the west cost, forecasters warned that meant a very rough spring…hope their other prediction of a lesser hurricane season also happens. Despite what some novices think, this is not all that rare and is a pattern that happens. (Usually followed by an annoying La Nina weather pattern UGH)
      Meanwhile batten down the kitties and find a book to read or take a nap. Encouraging paw waves sent!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. colonialist / Jun 1 2019 9:44 am

    The picture makes me itch to do a U-turn and scram!

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 1 2019 11:02 am

      No, No – run perpendicular not in line with it!…although running any direction it’s going is the best idea. Thanks for adding a shout here

      Liked by 1 person

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