This morning I woke up to low clouds and high humidity. If I hadn’t known better I might have thought I was on the Oregon coast and not the Colorado plains. After a nice walk around the neighborhood I got in the car and headed east to pick asparagus at Monroe Farms our CSA. As I drove east the clouds began to lift and the wind picked up. By the time I reached Monroe (about 40 miles and 45 minutes away) it was partly cloudy with a gentle wind blowing. In about 45 minutes time I picked enough asparagus to complete a row and fill my yellow bucket to the brim. Indeed, I think I may have picked a peck of asparagus.
By now it was fairly windy and dusty, so I didn’t dawdle around visiting with the chickens or even a goat! Instead, I packed up my peck of asparagus and headed homeward. As I was driving west towards the mountains the sky began to darken and the wind continued to grow stronger, while dust from plowed fields filled the air. Soon the horizon took on a grayish green sort of look. To the southwest (the direction I was headed) there were some wispy clouds fingering towards the earth. Goodness I thought to myself It looks just like they say it does before a tornado and I blissfully drove on. Id checked the weather before I left and I was listening to the radio and there was no mention of bad weather in the air.
Not five minutes later I reached an intersection with a stop sign. The wind had really picked up and suddenly the dust was so thick I couldn’t see. At first I wasn’t worried, because I was already stopped. The wind then started to smack the car and I REALLY couldn’t see anything beyond my windshield the worst black out that I have ever experienced. A few huge rain drops fell and then all at once it was clear, the dust settling, blue sky and sunshine peeking out. As the blood pulsed through my veins, and my heart thumped, I made my left turn onto HWY 85 in Gilcrest and headed down the road. I then started to notice chunks of metal, road signs and various other detriment scattered in the roadway and neighboring fields. Traffic came to a stop and upon surveying the land to the left and the right of the car I identified large trees missing limbs, power poles without power lines, a barn missing a roof and a horse trotting down the road followed by a group of men.
I pulled off into a gas station (where there was no power) and asked the perhaps silly question was that a tornado? Indeed, it was. Holy cow. All I signed up for was some asparagus! Thank God I was okay and my son was home safe. My heart goes out to the truckers just up the road who’s semi’s were rolled, and the farmers and families who lost barns, parts of their homes, fences and who knows what else.
For more on the tornadoes that touched down in Gilcrest (my tornado), Miliken and Windsor, Colorado around noon today follow this link. (Update: video of the tornado.) I apologize that I don’t have more pictures to share, but alas I didn’t take my camera. And, even if I had, I am not a photo journalist.
My Asparagus adventure will continue over the next few days, as I follow up with canning, pickling, blanching and or freezing. But for right now, I think Ill make a cup of green tea and thank the stars that I made it home in one piece!
Update: The worst news from this Tornado episode is that it has supposedly devastated the Windsor Dairy, which I believe to be the dairy that provides milk to Organic Valley in our area!