Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wind Storm - 2010

If you follow me on twitter or, day I say, Facebook, you may have noticed a certain... feverish pitch to my communications recently. And that would be because the world came crashing down on me and my little farm on Thursday, February 25th. That was the day that a massive storm blew in off the coast and reeked havoc across all of New England. The SO was away on business, so I was running the farm solo.

The weather gurus had predicted 50 mph wind and maybe an inch or so of rain You fail, weather gurus. When it was all said in done, wind gusts of 91 mph were recorded and we got over 6" of rain in four hours. All the animals were locked up in their barns and things were looking ok during the afternoon on Thursday, but around 10 pm, we lost power and the wind really started screaming. I heard many crashes and booms from trees falling all over the property. I suited up and evacuated the goats to the basement. I was worried their little 8' x 10' shed might slip from its concrete block foundation and surf down the hill on the growing flood. And, of course, Jolene is very, very pregnant, and I was worried the storm might trigger her to deliver. Stressful. I got the goats safely into the basement and threw down some hay and went for the horses.

After about 20 minutes of trying to skate along the water/ice flowing through our backyard against a wicked headwind, I gave up trying to get to the horses. It was just not possible. Water was over 8" deep from the flooding and headed all down hill. A river was running through my path. I watched the trees bend to almost 45 degree angles in the wind and was afraid of them falling on me. I shined my light on the barn and tried to see if there was any damage. The barn looked intact from this side, but I heard lots of crashing. Of course, most of the trees on the property are around the barn. I retreated to the basement and regrouped. Around midnight, I realized our new baby chicks were without a heat lamp so I looked around for something to put them in that would capture their body heat and keep them from succumbing to the cold. I eventually settled on my sweatshirt.

So there I was, sitting in the dark basement, alone, with a very pregnant goat by my feet like a dog, with chicks stuffed in my sweatshirt, listening for sounds of my horses being crushed by trees. And I lost it. I seriously had that thought of: How did I get here? How did my life come to this? I have a graduate degree in engineering. I studied at Oxford. Now I have chicks stuffed in my shirt, soaking wet, worried about more animals than I can count. What the **** am I doing???

Chicks in my shirt... and not in a good way.

It was at that moment that a chick shat upon me and I laughed. Animals keep you humble. I got up, put the chicks in a small box, suited up and went out to check on the horses. I finally got to the barn by pulling myself along a fence line and they looked ok, scared, but fine. The barn looked ok. The wheelbarrow and other odds and ends were no where to be found. I threw the horses some more hay, tried to act as calm and cheerful as I could, and headed back to the basement. I settled in for a long night.

After the storm cleared the next morning, I assessed the damage. Miraculously, all of our buildings survived intact. Spare sheet metal stacked by the house had blown by the greenhouse and out into the horse pasture hundreds of feet away, and had not made one tear in the plastic. Two trees fell by the goat barn, one brushing the fence on its way down, but they caused no damage. One tree fell by the horse barn, but missed it by 20 degrees. All told, we lost 12 trees, but none fell on the truck, the trailer, the buildings, or the power lines. Truly lucky.

Downed trees by the goat pen.

Chicken tractor pulls double-duty as a generator shelter.

After the storm, 5" of snow. New Englanders have to roll with the punches.

The power stayed off for 48 hours, but we are well prepared, living in the country as we do. I had the generator up and running so I had heat. We stockpile gas so I had enough to last through Monday. It turned out not to be necessary, since we got power back early Sunday morning.

Now it's clean up time, and waiting for Jolene to deliver her kids. She is getting close, should be in the next couple of days. I hope our luck holds, and everyone is healthy.

Oh, and I figured out how I got here, to this farm, to protecting my animals in the darkest of nights, against the wind and the rain. I got here by following my heart, which is how all great adventures get started.


rmac47 said...

What's your twitter name? I wanna follow ya!

Andrea said...

Oh my GOD! I didn't realize it was THAT bad up there! And I thought it was bad here!

Daun said...

On Twitter, For Brego: eventingbrego
For me: daunthegreat


J.D. SOSA said...

Thanks for sharing your strom/animal/property story. I am glad to hear you and the creatures all survided. I feel so much identification with you. I not only leave in a little 5 acres farm but also have to enjoy living with two wonderful percheron cross. Please send me your twitter name. Mine is cookiebrothers. Have a great day, JD

Marie said...

I followed a lot of this through your sister. I'm so glad that no one was hurt and am so awed by how you held it all together alone. Go girl. You're awesome.

Anonymous said...

Wow. The weather you guys have had up there is insane. I hope the weather gives you a break SOON!!!!!!!!! Glad to hear everyone is ok!

Serena said...

WOW!!!! how scary!

Sylvia said...

Wow! You really got nailed! (and not in a good way!) I'm glad all is okay, for the most part! And...this is your second post in a row that's made me LOL!! (chicks in my shirt) :)
I can't wait to see pictures of kids!! And...*gasp* facebook. You've really come over to the dark side, haven't you?!!

JeniQ said...

Oh My Gosh Daun! I'm so glad all is well and all the downed tree's missed all things vital!

Jean said...

I think New Jersey here was hit with the bulk of the snow--well over a foot, 20 inches in some places--but lucked out in the wind. Looked almost as if we were in the eye of the darn storm.

I lost a lot of big evergreen branches in the heavy snow of the week before, so most of my trees were pruned. It's always sad to see the giants lying on the ground like that. Glad to here none of them hit anything significant.

AareneX said...

New reader here--egad, what an experience!

I live on a little five acre farm in the far Northwest corner of the US, where (I'm embarrassed to tell you) the winter has been remarkably mild. Maybe you should come visit?

WV: "ovedult"
a person who gets really silly-happy when gathering eggs.

Sarah said...

Glad you came through the storm with no major damage! We lost power for 3 days. I know some people who just got their power back today, nearly a week later! I was home alone that night too.....sounded like the end of the world and was very frightening. Daatje left her stall the next morning and scoped the surroundings for storm damage for nearly 10 minutes! Too funny. She remembers the horrible ice storm of '08. Anyway, glad to see you all survived!