Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ice Storm...back to basics

We knew it was coming. We had filled our entry with wood for the stove, and filled buckets with water in anticipation of a power outage. We had filled our bathtub with water. We have a well, so if we lose power we also lose the ability to pump water. We went to bed Thursday 12-11 feeling prepared. We were awakened at 3:00 in the morning by ominous crashing outside. I went downstairs to investigate by flashlight as the power had indeed gone out. I couldn't see anything outside, but could tell the rain was heavy and the wind was high. I settled on the couch with a book as I had to get up in another hour for work and knew I would never get back to sleep so I might as well stay up. A short while later there was a very loud crash near the house. I feared that one of our large trees had fallen in our driveway (on our vehicles?), so I put my winter coat on over my bathrobe. The closest boots were knee high rubber waders, and I grabbed my jumbo golf umbrella and headed outside into the cold pouring rain with a beacon flashlight. I'm sure I looked quite fashionable!I could see through the sleet and darkness that one of the crashing sounds was my peach tree falling apart. Another was a stand of birches in our yard. As I came around the corner of the house there was another crash and suddenly there were electrical wires in front of me. I should tell you at this point that God and I have a quiet and peaceful relationship. I don't ask much of him and he doesn't put too much on me. He doesn't speak to me directly as He does with some people, but I know He's always there. That night he yelled at me "Get back in your house!!!" Yes, Sir!!! I bolted away from the wires and into the warm house! Shortly after I entered the house there was another crash. That one was our favorite crabapple tree that we sit under every day during the summer. It had crashed in front of our door. Each Spring it has the most glorious magenta blossoms, and the birds love the fruit.
At this point my better half was downstairs wondering what all the ruckus was and laughing at my outfit. When it was light we realized that we had lost a lot of trees. A large tree had fallen across the road and the end of our driveway, pulling down the power lines and pulling the lines right off of our house. I called work and let them know I wasn't coming in. That is the first time in 18 years that I have stayed home due to weather. I've braved blizzards, ice storms and hurricanes, but I wasn't going anywhere that day. I couldn't!Late that afternoon a tree company came to take the tree off of the road so we could pass, but they wouldn't touch the wires. The transformer was down (along with 2 poles) and they told us the wires weren't "live". By Sunday we had seen several trucks drive over the wires and they survived, so on Monday I went to work. Almost everyone was still without power at that point, and stores, banks and post offices were all closed because they didn't have electricity. I had to drive over the wires and was terrified even though I knew they were "dead". We have spent the past week returning to the basics of life and ignoring the fact that it is almost Christmas and there is shopping to do and cards and gifts to mail. We were focused on keeping our small generator running as it kept our freezer in the basement cold, our sump pump running and our refrigerator running. We have over 500 pounds of moose, cow and fish in the basement freezer. I collect hurricane lamps and they provided light. Not enough light to rug hook or needlepunch, so I knit as you can knit in very low light. I brought water home from my workplace each day so we could bathe and flush the toilet. We were also able to cook as we have a gas stove, but had no oven. The woodstove kept us warm.

It is now a week later, and we had our power restored this afternoon. Thank you God! I know we were blessed that none of the trees came down on our house, barn, vehicles or cabin. Or me!!! We were luckier than many people who had to go to shelters, or they had severe damage to their homes.
We are intensely thankful to all the workers who spent 16 hour days working on clearing roads and getting power restored to the many thousands of people that this storm affected. Many tree and power companies came from as far away as Michigan and New Jersey to aid, as well as neighbors from Canada, Nova Scotia and Vermont. They said our people have been there for them in the past when disaster struck, so they felt it was the least they could do. The Salvation Army lost their toys due to flooding, and a local radio station campaigned on their behalf and raised over $15,000 within a few days so the children would have toys for the holidays. The people in this area checked on neighbors and took friends and family into their homes so that they wouldn't have to go to shelters. This storm really brought out the best in humanity and once again showed us that the most important thing is how we treat each other in times of need.
I have received several presents in the mail during the past few days from swap partners, and I must admit that I am behind on mailing things due to this storm. I will try to catch up shortly, although we are about to get a few big snowstorme (10" or better) tomorrow, Sunday and again on Christmas eve. So my gifts and cards, when finally received, should be considered "Happy New Year" gifts and cards. Then perhaps they won't be considered late! And to those who were missing me and helped fill my in-box with worried worries...we're fine. Thank you!


katie said...

WOW that was some ice storm you got. Happy you are safe and warm. When you look past the destruction of the storm, the ice is actually beautiful.
katie paxton
fellow hooker

WoolenSails said...

You got got hit bad with that one, it is shame to lose so many fruit trees, but as you said, you and your home were safe and that is what is important.

I am getting ready for the storm about to hit us too and hoping bill gets home early before he gets stuck in it.


BeFRuiTFuL said...

My goodness. So glad to hear that you are okay. I am sorry about your trees. Wow the photos tell the story clearly. And I do agree with Katie it is beautiful but so destructive.


Kimichris said...

I'm glad you guys are okay! That was quite a storm! The ice is so beautiful but so dangerous as well. Glad you were able to stay warm and occupied during the time without electricity!!

Rosie said...

Wow! You were one lucky lady,keep safe.
Rosie - who is new to your blog.

Joanne said...

You are one tough cookie Lauri! So glad to hear you and your husband and family are safe! Hope the next storms are less severe!

take care - joanne

Rosie said...

Miz, thank you very much for putting my blog on your list, that was very kind of you. It was kind of a surprise, as I was looking at each blog on the list and then I came across mine - for a moment I wondered how I had got there!
Thanks again
Rosie x

craftingaplenty said...

I am so glad that you are ok and you listened to God and went back inside. It is pretty to look at now that I know that you are ok. loretta

Miz T. said...

Katie, you are right about ice storms being beautiful to look at when you can look past their destruction and inconvenience. The light makes everything sparkle and the falling ice sounds like windchimes (or breaking glass!).

Rosie, welcome to my blog and I hope you'll visit again. I always put links to blogs that I like on my blog list so that I can share with others.

Alice ~ Folk Art Primitives said...

Lauri ~ your account of the ice storm and your acceptance of nature is beautifully written and photographed! As long as you're safe and warm, it's all a matter of attitude and yours is a good one! We had an ice storm a couple of years ago and were without electric for maybe three days ~ but a fireplace, gas range, and lots of candles kept us going ~ you're a good example of patience!

Rosie said...

He He He ha ha... doing a happy dance, two people like my pattern of strawberries. Yes Laurie I designed the strawberries! In the new year I will make a proper pattern of it and as it is my first I will do a freebie.
Rosie x

Primitives By The Light of The Moon said...

Glad you are safe after such a devastating ice storm. It's sad about your trees.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas!