Posts Tagged ‘fire tower’

With all the rain and storms we’ve been having the last couple of weeks I had a terrible thought last night as I climbed into my nice cozy bed and snuggled down into the thick feather tick and home-made quilt.  Outside, the wind was roaring and the rain was falling and occasionally the whole sky would light up with white-hot bolts of lightning and it got me wondering…

Do hoop houses attract lightning?

I suppose it was because hoop house construction was still fresh in my mind and it was probably due to all the photos I put in my last post of large metal hoops sticking up in the air that made me think of it but it surprised me that this is something I have never even considered before.

Someday while weeding my heirloom tomatoes will I get the shock of my life or will I come home from work to a steaming pile of roasted veggies and melted plastic?

Does anyone out there know or even care about this besides me?

Hubby says “No way.  Our hoop house basically has 34 metal rods grounding it to the earth.”    But still, I wonder…

I’m normally not afraid of lightning although I do have a healthy respect for the power of nature.  In fact I love to watch huge thunderheads boiling over the horizon – as long as I’m sitting in the safety of my living room.   There’s just something about the extreme beauty of lightning as it reaches down from the heavens above and blows a tree to smitherings that tends to get your attention.  Maybe it’s this seemingly random act that makes you suddenly realize it’s true – you never really know when it will get you. 

 I’ve heard lots of stories about lightning including the one about my great, great, great-grandmother.  Actually, I’m not sure just how ‘great’ she was – my sister keeps track of our ancestory.   Great-grandma was struck and killed by lightning while she stood in the kitchen doorway.  That’s the kind of thing that could send you screaming for the basement every time the sky turns dark.  Of course if you follow that kind of logic and try to avoid every danger in life we should also be terrified of apple trees as there’s also the story of my great, great-grandfather who was killed at the age of 89 when he fell out of an apple tree.  

For some reason the sight of an apple tree doesn’t send me into a panic near as much as the thought of what the hell was an 89-year-old man doing up there anyway?  

Kind of says something about our whole family tree doesn’t it? 

I honestly believe our family tree is the majestic oak – large, strong and full of nuts!

Anyway back to the hoop house question.  I have googled it and found no statistics on this but I bet someone out there knows the truth.

I ask this because we seem to be in a lightning ‘hot-spot’.  We have lived in this house for 5 years and in that time we have been hit by 3 really good shots of lightning.  Each time it has taken out the computer (including the modem and the external hard drive), the cordless phones, the TV satellite receivers, several light bulbs and it has fried the ventilation (fart-fan) in the bathroom  (since I live with men – this is the item I have missed the most).  This has even happened when we have had everything pluged into surge protectors.  We’ve had strikes so close that the lady who lives in the fire tower on top of Elk Mountain has called to see if we were OK.  She can’t see our house from her tower but she does know where we are.  We have no clue as to why we’re so attractive to lightning – not even the TV guy or phone guy can explain it.  They’ve told us our house is grounded better than any other place they’ve been – having a retired lineman in the family has served us well. 

What can I say – lightning loves us.

And it’s not just our ranch.  Several years ago a local minister was helping gather cattle at the neighbors place when he was hit by lightning.  As I heard it the lightning stuck the metal button on the top of his ball cap, traveled through his body, out the zipper in his jeans and into the saddle horn dropping his horse straight down to the ground.  The horse was dead with the minister still sitting in the saddle.  Our neighbor who was also on horseback a short distance away was blown off his horse and knocked unconscious.  When he came to, he stumbled over to the minister, checked for a pulse but finding none made his way back to the house where his wife called 911.  The paramedics arrived thinking they were going to be transporting a dead body but instead found the minister alive.  He was badly burned and had an assortment of injuries but he was alive.  He made a full recovery and continues to preach.  I’m just not sure you could get him back in the saddle on a stormy day.

Another man I know was struck by lightning while walking across the local Wal-Mart parking lot.  I’m not sure why the lightning singled him out of the crowd but for some reason it was his ‘lucky day’.  He also recovered but isn’t to fond of parking lots.

Lightning is like tornadoes – you hear some fascinating stories – stories of life and death.  Even knowing that you can survive lightning doesn’t make me want to risk it.  With our history – I think I’ll probably just wait out the storms inside the house (hiding in the basement if necessary).  I’m all for trying new experiences but I do draw the line at lightning.  So for now I’ll play it safe – but I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes and you’ll be the first to know if someday I come home to the aroma of roasted veggies.


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