Sow There! Driving through the storm 4-9-15

By Heather Hacking, Chico Enterprise-Record
POSTED: 04/09/15, 12:16 PM PDT | 0 COMMENTS

Before the storm, clouds were brewing in Old Town Sacramento a few hours before bad weather hit the valley. Heather Hacking — Enterprise-Record
We drove straight through the storm Tuesday afternoon.

The stretch of road from Sacramento to Butte County runs through mile after mile of farmland — perfect for watching a wide, open sky.
Not far north of Sacramento, the sky started to explode. At one point we parked under an overpass, counting the number of seconds between claps of thunder and lightning bolts.

At another stop we watched the hail bounce off the black highway. We weren’t pulling over for safety, just for fun.

The reason for the trip was to check in with UC Davis Cancer Center after my surgery. The news was good.

I’m sure I’m not alone here. After a cancer scare, and then a good prognosis, suddenly the world becomes a lot more beautiful. Even dark, dangerous storms become something to celebrate.

At one point during the journey, clouds of icy debris spewed from underneath fat truck tires. We pulled over in case the hail became so large it would dent our car.

This might be a tornado storm, my Handsome Woodsman noted: The temperature had dropped quickly, the hail was pelting the earth and the wide sky was filled with gray, dense clouds.

Soon a coworker sent a text warning me I might be in the middle of a tornado alert zone. What the heck do you do at that point?

I looked out the window for funnel clouds, and my beau kept driving.

The storm was moving 15 miles per hour. “We can drive faster than that,” my guy noted.


The storm is a fairly clear reminder of how you can’t jump the gun on spring planting.

The official last day of (average) frost is around the end of April. That’s easy to remember because it’s my birthday.

Indeed, some years the temperatures warm up and stay warm. One would think that if this was going to happen it would be this year.

In fact, I would have bet you a nickel last week that spring was early this year. The temperatures were so warm I unpacked the box that contains my summer shorts and started slathering my body with fake tan lotion.

Yet, here comes the hail again.

If you’re eager, plant a bunch of things by seeds in containers. You can always bring the containers inside if the nights are cold.

I save plastic food containers with lids, which make excellent mini greenhouses for seedlings.


Garden stores really have no business selling warm-weather vegetables until the weather is officially warm. This wacky storm is another reminder that starting early can be a waste of money.

Sure, people might put the plants in greenhouses.

Yet, I’m betting people put the plants in the ground, they die, and they guy plants again.

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