The power had gone off. The wind was howling, the rain spitting angrily at the windows,  the clouds low and heavy as roiling black seas, the day so dark I moved my work to the table by the window so I could see. So the first I even knew of a tornado warning (they call it a Tornado Watch here)  was when the power came back on. And my phone connected to the wifi,  buzzed its warning (seek shelter), too late,  then died again.   The wind howled – the storm raged – but we had no tornado.  Just the  storm.  Huge winds. And a lot of rain.

With the rain in the forecast I had already brought all the pigs inside and the cow’s barn doors were opened. Everyone has access to the barn and its shelter – but is a barn safe?


The bands of weather here are so narrow you can have a storm on one farm and a catastrophe on the next farm.

One mile away the wind was so bad that it took out one of my favourite old barns.  The day before yesterday it was standing up as the workers strengthened its walls for a new roof. Today it is gone.  God said, No.  I had to call my neighbours as they travelled to Christmas with family hours away and send them photographs of the devastation. So sad.  Their barn and all their plans are now a pile of rubble.

storms destroy barns

And a reminder to me. Tell them you love them now. Don’t wait. Even if it feels strange. Better not left unsaid.  That could have been my barn with me and my cows and pigs  IN IT! We must speak.

peacock Mr Flowers

Then the skies parted for a moment and golden light descended like forgiveness.


I hope you are not caught up in the wild weather of the Americas.  I hope you have a lovely day instead but if you are in California I really hope that you are getting piles of rain and snow in the mountains. I  hear that the rain has arrived. Well done.

Good morning – Christmas Eve tonight. We have no other family here. Just Our John and I  but we will have a lovely dinner anyway and I will spend hours and hours on the phone today and tomorrow with my own family and my extended family – Hugo with his Papa in France, Fede who is with his family in Argentina, Amanda who is coming here on boxing day, Tomoyo who is home in Japan now.

I am not a fan of Christmas and all its guilt and commitments and presents because you have to but I love the phone calls!



Above is Hugo’s flock, a bit young yet but living happily in the West Barn, helping Manu with his housekeeping. I always think that chooks and cats make a barn seem alive. We have the chooks now .  I am working on a cat for this barn! But ecosystems move slowly.

The home barn rocks along! No stone left unturned since I let the home flock out to range free for the winter.  I have let their door stand open and the dogs stand guard  – so far so good. But we all remember the days of the Bastard Mink so I hope I am right.  I hope the dogs keep them away.  But I cannot keep them locked up all year – that would be cruel.


Much love to you.



76 Comments on “Warning

  1. Happy to hear that you and your barn are still in one piece. I’m glad to have reached the age when Christmas is what I make it and everyone who joins me does so on my terms, not on the spending bonanza roller coaster. Happy Christmas. Stay safe.

  2. So deeply grateful that isn’t your barn. I did sit up straighter for a few seconds when I saw that picture after your intro. My golfs alternator spat the dummy this morning 😦 luckily I was still parked in my garage – but the whole of SA is now on holiday till 4 Jan 😦 😦 I am going to be doing a lot of walking in crazy 39C/103F in the sun, weather. Yeah , my dishwasher also retired the day before yesterday… Enjoy the family chats and hoping you have a peaceful and uneventful weekend. Love, love Laura

  3. Crazy weather is a norm in the USA – and we certainly get all extremes one way or another! Glad the worst passed you by, here it is just like London back in the day when fog settled in for days and people walked in front of carriages with lights to see the way. Feels very like a Dickens Christmas! Home all your phone calls go through just fine – will be doing some of my own tomorrow.

    • You are right Lynda, some people are outraged by the weather here but it looks to me like they moved INTO the weather .. not the other way round. We had a lot of fog for a while too – I called it pea soup and everyone looked at me strangely – you will understand that term I think.. c

      • We had the pea soup (my mom always said that) yesterday and the day before. When I walked the dogs in the morning I wore my blaze orange cap!

  4. That was a close call. We get gale force winds blowing in from the Gulf of Maine here that can be scary, but I remember the frightening nearness of tornados from when I was in college in Indiana! Enjoy your quiet time with John and your phone call visits from everyone else!

    • The Americas have such extreme weather.. I must ask Fede is they have tornadoes in Argentina.. much of his landscape looks like the prairies out here but it has more cattle

  5. I sure hope that barn wasn’t housing livestock.
    Enjoy your day tomorrow, you and John. Mine will also be very quiet, except (probably) for the shouting of one of my does who has come into season again. Poor girl, she can’t settle down and I feel very sorry for her, but my gosh, is she loud.
    I am undecided about letting my hens and roos free-range in Winter. It’s when the predators are at their most desperate, and there is much less natural cover when the leaves are off the trees. I’m still thinking about it…but so far, the little flock is ranging.

    • It is a catch 22 isn’t it. I can’t let them out in the summer as they devastate the gardens and eat all my food. So it has to be winter. Now that we have Boo it seems that we are doing a bit better and I leave all the doors wide open, then if the Bastard Mink does get in there it is harder for her to corner them. However I feel I am living on borrowed time a bit. When they are locked up at night Boo and I check every corner and hole hoping they are safe. What I really need in there is a guardian dog. That would sort it for ever. c

  6. Glad to hear you are okay. Here in North Georgia we have rainy, wet and foggy weather and it doesn’t seem like Christmas! Reality is my spirits are always lifted high this time of the year in spite of the weather. I hope you have a Merry Christmas.

  7. The storm barreled through here last night and I thought for sure it was going to be make for the ark time. Good to hear you and the farm are soggy but fine. I still enjoy Christmas and no amount of media blitz and/or “guilt” will make me spend more than I deem acceptable and I’m learning in my old age that commitments don’t have to be sometimes. But grand kids who squeal over packages sent make the day. Merry Christmas, miss c….t

  8. Glad that you missed the worst of the storms. It is very windy in the uk too at the mo and some poor people are being flooded again. I am up to my armpits in Christmas preparations at the mo and just having a little breather. I must admit the older I get the less I like it. The good side is everyone is here for a couple of days. Hope you have a nice meal with John and a lovely chat with your loved ones 😀

  9. So pleased all at the farmy are safe and well. Remember us to all the adopted farmy folk when you speak to them today or tomorrow. My day will be spent quietly alone at home (with phone calls) and the first toast of the day, as always, will be: To Absent Friends!
    The celebration proper begins when Buffy brings Elly & George on 29th.

    May 2016 be kind to you Celi, your family and all the Fellowship of the Farmy! Happy New Year.

  10. Sounds like the Seek Shelter alert that goes out on the mobile phone network here when a cyclone is heading our way. Only of course, quite often the wind gets to the phone tower before the warning is issued. I’ve learned to become a Bureau of Meteorology addict, and I watch the satellite coverage every day when we’re in storm season. The loss of that lovely old barn is very sad, but how much sadder if it had been inhabited.
    I hope you and Our John have a lovely peaceful day together, enlivened by lots of lovely laughter and catching up on the news with all your Farmy ‘children’ and friends. Thank you for allowing me to share Farmy life again this year, with its highs and lows, and to share in the wisdom and laughter of the Fellowship. See you soon! xxxx

    • John will be glued to his IPad as usual – it was a christmas present two years ago and I have not heard from him since. – this year i am giving him a new cast iron pot, a big one, he loves to cook on the fire and it might get him out of his chair – those things are so addicting.. c

      • Oh, I hear you. My John adores his tablet too… What a cunning plan with the cast iron pot, a clever distraction and one that will hopefully also result in something you can both eat!

  11. Ecosystems indeed move slowly. It took decades for the wind to move that barn. I do hope the loss is not too devastating to the family. Happy phone calls, to you!

  12. “..golden light descended like forgiveness…” Love the picture and the phrase. Glad everything is well on the farm. Enjoy your little ark. Peace.

  13. Always thinking of you when they announce rough weather in the middle of our United States, and dreading that one day a post will come with not so good news so I am happy that this was not the day. Enjoy your phone calls and catching up…perhaps a post soon with some of the news you gather about our absent farmy friends?

  14. Glad everybody is ok there. In Northern California, we are indeed getting a good amount of rain everywhere, and snow in the Sierra. A Christmas miracle!
    I’ve been enjoying your blog for quite a while; thought it was time to stop lurking and start participating. 😀 Cheers, Elizabeth

    • Surely the best Christmas present for a drought stricken territory is rain, I am so glad to hear it, and fingers crossed for lots lots more – don’t want to be greedy though – but you need it.. c

  15. I’m so sorry about your friend’s barn! But on the other hand, I’m glad all of you are safe.

    Love you, Celi!


  16. We’ve had rain and wildly fluctuating temperatures here in NW Mo, but nothing severe. I’m glad you and yours are all ok. How sad about your neighbor’s barn.
    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

  17. Take care of yourself – wishing you all of the best today, tomorrow and for the new year to come from rain-drenched CA.

  18. My, your photo of golden light descending like forgiveness is stunning! Really very beautiful. And such GREAT news that California is becoming rain-drenched! I hope it continues for some time.
    To you, Celi, and to all of the Fellowship — however you celebrate this season and even if you don’t — may the Creator rain down His blessings of love and grace upon everyone. ~ Mame 🙂

  19. There is weather related news everywhere, even here with our heavy rains. My heart hurts for farming families that are just getting by and take a hit like losing a barn. They always look so fragile anyway. The news only gets ratings if they sensationalize everything instead of just telling it like it is. A quiet night just relaxing is a wonderful Christmas gift. I love the phone calls too. They are a treasure but why must we wait till Christmas? Enjoy your peaceful night. Merry Christmas.

    • exactly – i should say that on christmas we make a special call – it is so easy to keep in touch nowadays that I am communicating almost daily with all my children and many of the summer people.. it is great! c

  20. We watched those storm move past us here in eastern IA. Nothing severe here. They got pretty active farther east. One passed a skinny tornado over my old high school and small town. No damage that I know of. Weird for December 23.

    Merry Christmas to you and the critters.

  21. I was able to sleep in this morning (FD is off work today and tomorrow) so I did not know about the tornadoes until I read it here! That “golden” sunlight photo is classic of beauty after a storm. It is the backside, the hope… the promise. Enjoy your phone conversations… bask in the good. I love you… and that never feels awkward. 🙂

  22. That is me a nice Christmas shot here on the Farmy blog header. Nice. Plus everyone of the other photographs is so nice too. I love everyone of them. But the broken barn is looking terrible. So sad for the poor family.
    I just came in from a Christmans mass held in that station bulding where a few months before thousands of refugees were being welcomed and taken care of. The mass was held by a very friendly and modest bishop and there only were few people. He of course compared the story of Jesus’ birth with the fate of lots of the refugees and told us that in that same station hall a baby was born, just when he visited. We were singing the parochial Christmas songs and there was a brass band presenting and accompanying that songs. Kind of a very different Christmas I had there. Interesting. Now that I’m back home I spend this evening (yes, it’s already evening here) nearly as all the other evenings of mine, wishing a Merry Christmas to all of the Farmy Fellowship and especially to you, Celi & John!
    Tomorrow I’ll be as a volunteer worker at a very big Christmas meal given for people in needs as old ones, lonesome or homeless ones and for refugees with their children – about 400 alltogether. Yesterday we prepared and decorated a big tent for that event. Every single one of the guests will get a little present, given personally to each one. I am curious about that day tomorrow and am looking forward to, too.
    Fingers crossed the the bad wheather leaves you alone… 🙂

    • Irmi – Methinks you will have a wonderful Christmas Day you’ll always remember . . . and you will have made so many lonely people short of Christmas cheer feel much better about their day . . . surely what Jesus Christ would have wanted . . . and, feeling the way I personally do, am glad a mass was held at this particular station and again, you had the opportunity to be there . . .

  23. I worry about you all the time. I really do. But right now, I’m not going to focus on the worry, just the gladness that you are all fine. And the sadness I feel for your neighbors. Yes, we must tell people we love them now. We love you, Celi.

  24. Weather is such a whim. You never forget the devastation after seeing it so close. (We say “pea soup fog” here, too – must be the human migratory patterns?)
    Everything alive does better if there’s sun…just need a wind break and spot to stay warm. You do need a stout guardian dog as back up.
    We’ve let go of most of the Christmas frenzy over the years. (Online ordering has helped so much. And that is pretty sensible) But there will be phone calls and emails of pictures. Quiet is good. Starry night is good and we shall be back in time for that after dinner/lunch with daughter and her fiance’s family ( but we shall have rain…dog and a fireplace will be fine.)
    May all the joys of the holidays soak into your fields and return in the spring to spread warmth and seasonal gifts all year long

  25. Christmas Day in the morning here, sun’s just up but covered with grey clouds…rain is the forecast for the day but it’s still hot. I have been really busy this year leading up to Christmas, not just Christmas preparations but selling my house too, my son is visiting from down south and the day will be busy with breakfast at one friends’, lunch at a neighbours then a picnic tea at the river with a group of ‘orphans’. It will be lovely, but I’m exhausted and just want to sneak away and read a book and drink tea quietly on my own…..roll on Boxing Day 🙂 My son has a different attitude to spending and buying than I do, it’s the biggest and best all packaged in more landfill waste….hurts my heart to see. I realise how simple and uncomplicated and sustainable my life is when I have visitors. Anyway, enough ranting, a happy Christmas to the Fellowship of the Farmy, I hope your day is filled with love, peace and fun. Terrible about the barn, those poor people, I hope they can rebuild when they return home. Nose kisses for Boo and Ton.

  26. I think we are all as one soul in wishing for your continued welfare. You describe things so well, and that little pig peaking over the fence was dear. You are fascinating, and I feel the same way about the holidays but will have good ones; it makes others happy. Hugs and stay safe, e

  27. It’s so sad when Mother Nature wreaks havoc- I hope no animal was harmed by the barns collapse. Not sure what would be safer- in or out of a barn when objects are flying through the air. Have a lovely day tomorrow just the two of you – how sweet it is! Love and hugs to all! Kathe

  28. The golden light photo is special. Like you, I really don’t like most of what Christmas seems to be about these days. Am trying to make my own peace with it. Wishing you a safe season and a wonderful New Year. xx

  29. So glad you are all okay. We heard the reports of tornados your way. We’ve had 20’C weather here all day. Very unusual for us! But, oh, how enjoyable! I was outside from 10 am to 4 pm straight. My skin feels like that first real sunny day of spring when you are toasty and windcleaned. We enjoy a quiet Christmas here too. Although … we’re always tempted to sneak out to the barn at midnight to hear the animals talking …

  30. The barn seems to me to be a symbol of all that is good about America, so sad to see it destroyed. I am entranced by the beauty of your rooster’s combs, such brilliant reds. This Christmas, my husband and I will be the oldest at the “party.” How did this happen, we wonder. Bittersweet for us, at best. Anyway, I am so grateful to you for sharing your life, Cecilia, as someone above said, all the ups and downs. And there’ve been plenty of downs! And I do love you.

    Not an hour ago, I was rummaging through some stuff and found a notebook I had no idea I had. Inside, what do you think it had but several newspaper stories I’d saved over the years from the “Travel” section of the newspapers. Every single one of the articles was on visiting a farm for a vacation.

    I didn’t hear about the terrible weather downstate until as Littlesundog said, she read it here! Thank God you are all right!

  31. here in Chicago a “Watch” means conditions are ripe for a tornado; a “Warning” means tornadoes have been sighted.

  32. Tho’ Christmas Day has well and truly arrived in Eastern Australia with all the usual obligations . . .just wanted to pop in for a minute to wish all of those having a cuppa or glass all the very, very best for the holidays wherever and a happy, healthy New Year in sight . . . . so, so glad for you Celi about all the phone calls to your much extended family tomorrow . . . that would be the highlight of the year for me . . . .

  33. Yes, we must speak. I’m glad the tornado passed you by, or didn’t hit, or whatever. It’s the same with hurricanes here. And the weather, the wet, wet, weather. We are slipping and sliding in mud, and, though I said I wouldn’t complain, I’m over it. Enough already. Then again, 15 minutes down the road and it’s desert dry. “Bands of weather,” indeed. They are called microclimates here. Glad you’re all safe, and that your barn remains standing. Sorry for that of the neighbors. One must wonder at times like that what it’s all about. Some stay, some go. Just like people, just like life, itself. Perpetually changing, often confusing. But here we are! Sending you love and best wishes from the islands, Celia. Be well.

  34. Best wishes Celi to you & John. Christmas Eve is my favorite part of the festive season, as it heralds time for us to take a break. This year we finished rearranging & unpacking just in time to get ready for our Christmas lunch family visitors. Like you & John, it’s usually just the G. O. and me, we have a special seafood dinner and a few glasses of wine. We look forward to it as a tradition every year.

  35. Sad to see your neighbor’s barn in this condition. Glad you didn’t have to deal with a tornado.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: