It was a fine Sunday morning as we were heading to our last farmers market of the year. I follow the weather forecast all week, hoping for good weather on Sunday, and it was looking really promising until Saturday. And that's when it got a bit ominous. Oh there was sunshine, plenty of it, and decently warm temperatures for the time of year. We had had 6 months of almost perfect Sundays, okay maybe a bit of rain one day, but nothing too bad, and wouldn't it be nice to finish with a lovely day. It was sounding good except for one thing. The wind. We fear the wind at that market. The sleepy little seaside town of White Rock is becoming a different beast. There are two, seventeen story (I think) towers at the market site. Towers like that can create a wind tunnel, and that they do, with a vengeance. The forecast was for wind gusts up to 80 kph (50 mph). Just a wee bit worrying.
The sky was looking lovely as we drove there.
We got to the market and it was all pretty calm. The sun was just lifting above the lower buildings directly to the east of us. We were actually set up on time. The market starts at 10 officially, but we are allowed to start selling earlier so we aim to be set up by 9:30. We don't sell until we are all set up and ready to go, otherwise the customers just start coming and sometimes you never do get a chance to finish getting everything out.
We have our regular customers well trained, and one of them is pretty quick to inform anyone that doesn't know, that we are NOT open yet. Pat and Linda are often the first ones there in the morning. The other three were also in the lineup but tried to get out of the way when I said I was going to take a photo.😉
I was pretty proud of what we had on offer, so took a couple of minutes to snap a few pictures. Lots of tomatoes and dahlias. The apples belong to the next booth.
Not a lot of sewing, just a few aprons, bibs and some dog tug toys.
Lots of veggies on the other table. That's our friend Carol next to us. She sells beef and eggs and a few veggies too. She has brought a few of her heifers to our place to eat the extra grass.
Pat insisted on taking a photo of us.
It's all so serene looking.
As the morning went on the breeze picked up. Many were aware of the forecasted sunshine, but for some reason they didn't know of the forecasted wind gusts. The gusts got a bit stronger but weren't anything we couldn't handle. And then it got a bit worse and so on and so on. Then we started to hear things crashing occasionally. Our back tent is strapped down to a utility trailer full of the extra jam, so we know that isn't going anywhere. The two tents are bungeed together, as well as to Carol's tent on the one side and Vern's on the other. There were weights attached to the other legs
Business was brisk and for a long time we had a lineup at our booth. It was the last day and people were stocking up.The gusts were building up. The vendors on the other side of Carol started to take their tents down. It gets to a point where the wind is so strong that it is going to destroy the tents. We decided to take ours down too, but it's a difficult task in a strong wind. At that point basically we were just hanging on to things to try and keep them in place. A customer was hanging on to one of the front legs. I can't even remember how it all came about, but we managed to get the back tent lowered down halfway with a person at each leg. There was so much air pressure on the tent that the legs were bowing, and the buttons weren't releasing as they should. We couldn't take it right down where it was because it was over the trailer, and to fold up, the legs have to have a clear area to move in towards each other. We had to move it back out onto the grass behind us. Can't remember exactly how it happened, but we mostly got it closed up and the wind caught the top and we couldn't hold it so just let the whole thing go over. I held onto a leg so it couldn't go flying. As it hit the ground it closed up more and I got a chunk of my finger caught between a 'rock and a hard place'. It was excruciating, and no one was there to help me, they had dashed back to wrestle with the other tent. Finally I managed to get the pressure off the tent leg and get my finger out. Ended up with a broken skin and a big blood blister.
Same battle with the front tent, but instead we loosened the roof and let it fly off, so just the frame was left standing. Not too much there to catch the wind. We helped Carol get her tent down and Vern had got his down too. Larry went to help some other people take theirs down. I remember at one point, standing there with one arm up hanging on to the tent frame, and I had a lineup of customers in front of me. Some of them just seemed so oblivious to what we were dealing with. Another extra strong gust hit and tore off the wire grid that the egg sign is attached to, behind the right jam shelves in the photo above. As it was going down I tried to save a jar that was going off and ended up knocking it off the front of the table and it broke on the pavement. The rest miraculously survived. We have a lot of rubber mats behind the table, and that is where most of the jars landed, and therefore didn't break. A vendor from two stalls over came over to help and started unloading the jam shelves. I remember thinking, why is she taking all those off. It's heavy stuff, it's not going anywhere. I got her to leave the bottom shelf of jam as it was. And then eventually another huge gust hit us and tipped the jam table over and the vegetable table over and the one with the tomatoes on it became airborne and smashed into the tent leg and bent it. Thankfully most of the tomatoes had sold at that point, and a lot of the vegetables as well, but almost all of the squash were still on it, so lots of weight there, but obviously not enough. Only two jam jars broke, that bounced past the rubber mats. We tried to take the tent frame down but the one leg wouldn't close up because we couldn't straighten it out enough, so Larry had to break it off. Lots of parts at home here so we should have a replacement.
About all I could do was stand and stare at the mess. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I was taking pictures of the jumble and Vern came over and joked around with Larry, pretending he was being blown away. Better to laugh. I even thought about the two bottles of liquor that a couple of customers had given us, and was tempted to open one😉
The problem was I just couldn't see where to start. There was no where to put anything. Eventually we were allowed to bring our vehicles in, and we were able to sort things out and get them in the right place. We had to almost unload the trailer before we could reload it properly, because stuff had been thrown in there and jam put in there willy nilly. Everything has to go in there in a specific order and place, that is the only way we can make everything fit. I don't think the wind really dropped the whole time, it was just that there was nothing left for it to throw around, so it didn't seem so bad.
Thankfully it was a very good day sales wise. I guess since I am generally a 'cup half full' kind of person, so I'm glad that the wind hit later rather than sooner. It's not the first time we've dealt with this sort of thing, but this was definitely the worst one for us personally. The market closed down early, because no one could safely keep their products out on display.
On the drive home the windy was spotty; gusty in parts, and nothing in others. There was wind at home, and that yellow maple tree in the first photo of the last post had dumped it's leaves all over the driveway, so I'm glad I took the photo when I did.
Well, six months before the market starts up again. In the meantime construction will begin on another tower in the area.
The question is, 'will it make the wind situation better or worse?'