The Storm Arrives: No More Mr. Nice Guy

It is the peculiar rhythm of the Farmers Borden that our big food preparation for Thanksgiving happens the Friday after Thanksgiving, not Turkey Day itself. That’s why I was outside preparing to smoke a turkey at 5:15 this morning.


At 5:15, it was obvious that we had gotten some mist overnight, but the ground was barely moist. And a gentle breeze wafted in (and this is one of those times when “wafted” gets the job done) from the South. The air was calm, but it was that pungent, pregnant calm that you know, and anybody with the sense of a shovelful of dirt knows, means something’s about to change.

The fire was going well by 5:35. The turkey started cooking about 5:45. Still calm. About 5:50 the wind got the memo. Revving up, it switched abruptly to the west. Then the north. Then the west. Then northwest. The oaks and hickories whose remaining leaves were rustling gently a few minutes ago were now bending at the waist, yielding in a calculated bid to stay erect in the face of the gusts. Longleaf Breeze, your wafting time is over for today.

Yesterday – the Big Day – was perfect. Warm temperatures, gentle winds. We are grateful that so many people’s holidays were made more pleasant, including ours.

Today, we are told to expect the temperatures to fall steadily throughout the day toward the most deadly frost yet of the season overnight. The “low” temperature last night was 66 (although it’s already dropped six degrees within 20 minutes as I write this). The low tonight is 27. A cool (and this is one of those times when “cool” does not get the job done) 39 degree difference from one night to the next.

Today we will be grateful that our little home in the pole barn is sheltered from the fiercest winds that blow in from the north and the west. We expect to be warm and dry as long as we remain indoors. And we look forward to having that nice smoked turkey and lots of other goodies for a late lunch right about kickoff time for the Iron Bowl. The Farmer-in-Chief is dodging showers today to harvest broccoli florets from Row 6, but she has reluctantly agreed to my request that she leave a couple of heads in place so we can see how they weather tonight’s frost. Tomorrow morning we will rush out to see what of our fall veg has made it through the night and what has succumbed. And whatever makes it, we shall be thankful.

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