Monday, July 22, 2013
Friday started out uneventfully enough: send The Farmer off to market, move sheep, mow thistles in pasture, bag beans, cultivate. Late in the afternoon, The Farmer returned from market and parked in back, as there was a contractor's big pickup truck in the drive. Eventually, the contractor left, and The Farmer pulled the car around and put it in the garage. A couple of us got busy replenishing his bean supply for the next day. The shepherd girl was cultivating the bean field using the tractor, and suddenly the fire pager went off with an emergency. The Farmer/Firefighter roared off in the van which had been parked in front of the garage.
It started raining, and we laughed watching my father-in-law carry a large bag of beans across the back yard trying not to get them wet. Soon, our daughter ran across that same back yard, soaked from being out on the tractor. Suddenly the wind picked up. We huddled in the garage, and I quickly reached for the button to close the garage door.
That's when time slowed, and we watched dumbly as a large tree branch crashed into the closing garage door, setting off the safety feature and causing the door to go back up. We couldn't see much for all the rain and wind, but continued to watch branches and limbs fall right in front of the garage door.
It was over before we could make sense of what had happened. All but the much-needed rain, which continued for 20 or 30 more minutes. We left the garage and ran around the house, looking for damage. We found some.
The garage was completely blocked off by a pile of limbs. The van would have been crushed had The Farmer not left with it two or three minutes before. Both large maple trees in front of the house had significant damage. The one was reduced to a branchless stump, and the other will mostly likely need to be removed as well.
In the back yard, one of the two large maples had significant damage. If we trimmed off what has cracked, it would not have foliage enough to sustain itself. It, too, will have to go.
Here's where we found the most property damage. The in-laws' Jeep is under these limbs, and took a fatal blow. Our Honda was parked next to the jeep perhaps 20 minutes before the storm blew through.
Surprisingly, this was the worst damage. We have damage to our house and garage, but no gaping holes. My parents, who live right across the road, also sustained damage to their house and garage. But again, no huge holes in the roof. It could have been so much worse.
This gravity flow wagon likely tumbled in the wind. It will take a bit of skidsteer work to right it, and put the box back on the running gear. We have not had a chance to see if it is damaged.
Friday evening (less than an hour later) we had an army of family, friends and neighbors swarm the place. We had as many as 17 people helping, with maybe seven or eight of them wielding chainsaws. After three hours of work, a lot of water (it was hot!), and several pizzas, the wood was stacked neatly in two huge piles, and the branches were piled up, too.
The next morning we went to our markets as usual. This would not have been possible without Friday night's crew clearing everything up; the Honda was blocked in the garage.
While we were at the markets, some members of a local wrestling team came out to the farm with a dump box trailer and a log splitter. They started splitting the wood, but soon realized that it was much too large of a job for a morning. They ended up hauling all that wood to my sister-in-law's house. After they finish splitting it, and after it dries, she'll have a good supply of firewood to burn. Our rough estimate was that it amounted to two or three cords of wood.
Saturday evening the tree service we'd called Friday evening came with a chipper, and made short work (two hours) of all the branches.
So by the time we went to bed Saturday night (about 30 hours after the storm blew through), the only evidence of the storm were the maimed trees, a smashed Jeep, and some fairly minor damage to the house and garage.
We are so blessed to have friends and family who are willing to work like crazy on a sweltering evening. We are so grateful there was no loss of life, and that the property damage was not worse. A nearby golf course lost between 20 and 30 trees. A huge produce tent just under a mile away was blown away, injuring the employee working there. A roof was blown off a neighbor's old chicken coop. The storm was very localized, with many in the area not receiving any rain or wind at all.
It's been a wild weekend. But it could have been so much worse. Thank you, Lord.