Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘storm damage

Reclaiming Peace

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The days following a disruptive weather event can be a confusing mix, emotionally. The threat has lifted and calm ensues, but the anxiety adrenaline hangover lingers. We are lucky to have dodged any significant damage or loss of power, but the multiple inches of dirty snow/slush, speckled with innumerable broken branches, delay the feeling of relief we seek.

Thank goodness for our hills and valleys that break up the wind around here.

The open terrain to the west didn’t protect the overexposed, iced up power poles lining roadways.

We don’t have anything near that level of clean up facing us. That must have been a real shocker to come upon.

Some of the local hunters stopped by for permission to cross our property with their dogs in search of coyotes. A short time later, gunshots rang out.

I had watched as the group of hounds calmly traveled out of the neighboring corn field and into the woods, with a single hunter walking behind them. After they disappeared into the ravine beyond our property, we never saw another glimpse of them.

One of these days, I’m going to ask if I can tag along. It occurred to me yesterday, that in all our years here, I have never actually seen a coyote. I’m curious about the logistics of how they finally get proximity to shoot, and then how they find their way out of the woods while carrying their kill.

In less than three weeks, our annual participation in the World Labyrinth Day peace walk will be upon us. We are finding it difficult to envision how we might be ready.

It’s not just the peace pole that can’t stand up in the soft earth. The stones balanced at each turn spend more time toppled that upright with all the freezing and thawing going on.

Our exercise may just be to claim our peace with accepting things just as they are.

Windy, calm; wet, or dry.

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Written by johnwhays

April 14, 2019 at 9:37 am

Somehow Nothing

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Somehow, I have nothing to report in terms of storm related damage to our property. We survived relatively unscathed beyond the quick return of runoff rills in the paddock lime screenings. After having just bladed and filled the rills last weekend, the chore now needs to be done all over again.

As tornadic weather goes, the impact can be very localized. We were lucky. Jackie reported that the property where she boards her horse, just a few miles down the road, suffered a much sadder fate. Two sheds were blown over, one of which killed a horse.

Our trees wiggled a little bit, but we hardly lost leaves or branches.

The soil is now like a soaked sponge, so I chose to stay off it with any wheeled vehicles. I’m gloating over having gotten the main drainage ditch mowed last week when it was good and dry, providing a clear path for the flash flood runoff from Thursday’s storm.

Instead of driving tractors around, I occupied my time cleaning up the old lawn tractor and accessories and taking pictures to advertise them for sale on Craigslist.

It feels really good to have this finally done, because I have been neglecting it since last November when I bought the new replacement. Now, if I could just reach the desired fruition of someone seeing the ad and giving us some money to haul it away, I’ll be overjoyed.

I will appreciate the space it will free up in the garage, on top of the decluttering sensations of ridding ourselves of unused equipment that is just sitting idle.

If I actually end up with financial compensation, that will be icing on the cake!

The post was published last night and soon after I received the first text query asking if it was still available. I was tickled by the attention happening so quick and gleefully responded in the affirmative.

The response… somehow, nothing.

Really? Why wouldn’t they follow-up after finding out it was still available?

This is not my favorite phase of the process of selling things we no longer want or need.

I am going to focus my visualizations on the moment when the lawn tractor is loaded and rolling down our driveway and then on down the road. Hopefully, it will happen sooner than later.

 

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Written by johnwhays

September 22, 2018 at 9:20 am

Downed Trees

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DSCN5021eOn Monday after work, I ripped into the task of cutting up the dead trees a storm had pushed over, and which I had recently shoved the rest of the way to the ground with the tractor.

I quickly figured out what was holding up all the wind-blown trees. Regular readers may recall that I mentioned a while back that vines seemed to be thriving this year. Well, there are vines everywhere in the area of these dead trees.

It’s unclear to me whether the vines are responsible for the demise of the trees, or not. I think most of this bunch are butternut trees, which are commonly killed by a fungal butternut canker disease, Sirococcus clavigignenti-juglandacearum. Go ahead, read that out loud.

The vines might look like they took over the trees, but they may simply have climbed up trees that were already giving up the ghost.

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My uneducated guess is that the vine is Virginia Creeper, based on image comparisons found online. One interesting data point supporting my suspicion is this tidbit:

People should be careful when they see Virginia Creeper, because there may be Poison Ivy around also. The two plants almost always grow together.

I’ve well documented there is no shortage of poison ivy growing on our acres.

The tendrils of the stalks grab and hold the bark of the trees with incredible tenacity. It is comical how the dead trees will gladly slough off the bark, but the vines maintain a grip that results in long dangling empty tree skins hanging down from the canopy.

While cutting up the assortment of trees that made it to the ground, I came upon two vine-covered dead snags still standing just behind the spot vacated by the others. They were about half the diameter of those in the ground, so I made quick work of felling them and expanding the evening’s cutting task.

So much was accomplished, yet so much remains. The 3 trees still hung up, visible in the background of the picture above, are going to be a lot more difficult to get on the ground. I’m thinking ropes and a come-along may be involved in my next attempt. These trees are not in reach of the tractor.

Better yet, maybe the next storm that hits will be blowing in the other direction, and will push them down for me.

A guy can dream.

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Written by johnwhays

August 10, 2016 at 6:00 am

Storm Results

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I haven’t covered the entirety of our trails yet, but in a partial survey near the house and barn yesterday, I found more trees fell victim to the storm winds than Cyndie noticed on her morning walk with Delilah.

IMG_iP1457eThe first thing that caught my attention was a significant branch lying beside the trunk of the large poplar tree near the shop garage. I asked Cyndie if she had moved it there, but she said she hadn’t even noticed it.

Apparently, that is where it landed when it snapped off the very top of the tree. Pretty good placement.

I’d liked to have seen how that worked.

The next thing I found was on the way to the barn. Several dead trees that I should have cut down already had snapped off or simply leaned over into the branches of trees around them. They are now labeled as “widow makers,” a term loggers use to describe, among other things, felled trees that get hung up in the limbs of other trees.

I will probably resort to trying to pull them down with the tractor. I’m not interested in trying to chainsaw a tree that is under tension such as these are.IMG_iP1461e

Beyond that, the most visible evidence of Saturday night’s drama is the amazing number of leaves, sticks and small branches that litter all surfaces that were downwind of the trees.

Upwind, you can’t see any disturbance whatsoever.

We had our bedroom window open when the ruckus happened and I awoke to the forceful sound of the wind. I was prepared to hear a snapping sound at any minute, but never detected one.

It was intense enough to cause me to pull up the radar image on my computer to see if it was just the beginning of something that might get worse, or whether there were any storm warnings for our specific location. We were actually under one of the less intense looking areas, north of the most significant portion of the storm system.IMG_iP1459e

I elected to go back to sleep and let the storm pass without further worry, but not without noting the sound of those gusts.

I’m hoping to combine the intensity I heard with the visual evidence collected of the aftermath to use it as reference for risk assessment in the future.

This won’t be the last time a high-wind storm pays us a visit, that’s for sure.

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Written by johnwhays

July 18, 2016 at 6:00 am

Natural Forces

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DSCN3861eThe sky failed to completely clear yesterday, which kept the day from getting uncomfortably warm, but the humidity had increased enough to remind us that summer is not gone yet. It is easy to jump ahead in our minds to the inevitable change of season, as the signs and symptoms are plainly evident. Fall is not far off.

I nabbed some mid-day time that I was coveting in the hammock.

We could see some blue sky on and off through the thin cloud cover that never completely dissipated, but as the day advanced that blue turned more white as we achieved the classic look of the smoke-filtered view of the sun. I think western wild fires are again impacting our air quality.

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We took a boat tour of the chain of lakes that led us to 40 acres of forest that the Wilkus family owns. On the way, we spotted a young eagle low over the water and watched it claim a precarious perch in a nearby tree. After we got surprisingly close, it took to the air again, moving quicker than my limited pocket camera could do adequate justice in capturing. It made a dramatic impression in its display of size and power.

Walking the 40 acres was particularly moving for me, because there had been a dramatic storm in the time since I had last visited. Three years ago a force that was easily tornadic, if not literally qualified as such, created devastation that I struggled to imagine while standing amidst the now settled results.

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DSCN3867eThe towering trees succumbed in a variety of ways. It left me wondering about the specific details that led to the difference of entire trees toppling over when the massive base uprooted, compared to the ones that simply snapped cleanly off 30 feet from the ground.

There are hazards hanging everywhere, in the broken tree tops that linger, defying gravity overhead due to a number of precarious circumstances. One decent sized tree appears to have broken off and blown directly against an adjacent tree where it now clings by mere branches, hanging in a very normal vertical orientation, though with no bottom half connecting it to the earth.

I tried to capture it in this photo, but it doesn’t quite stand out as well as I’d hoped. It was intimidating to spend much time in the region beneath it.

Between the high smoky haze painting the sky from distances far away, the beauty of the fabulous eagle starting to fly, the perceivable drama of a devastating storm, or the inescapable lure of a beckoning hammock, the powerful forces of nature were on full display for me yesterday.

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Written by johnwhays

August 30, 2015 at 9:04 am