Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Living the Ice Storm....Part Two

The Ice Storm was actually two different fronts that moved through, so that one hit on Friday, with Saturday having a light off and on drizzle. The second storm hit on Sunday and was worse than the first. After listening to the destruction all night Friday and Saturday it was hard to believe it could get worse, but it did. Not long after dark on Friday, the limbs started breaking and falling to the ground. Crrrrrack....swish......thud.... Every few seconds it seemed, Friday night, Saturday, Saturday night, Sunday, Sunday night. Finally by Monday the limbs had quit falling with regularity, although there were still a few here and there that continued to succomb through the next few days. It was dangerous to walk outside---chores were done, while constantly looking up or scurrying quickly under trees, traveling the roads was equally as bad, as limbs were down or still falling everywhere. The livestock, dogs and cats were all spooked and were very subdued, except when running from falling limbs.

The roads stayed open the whole time though---no ice on them, thank God, but many were blocked at times from the trees/limbs across them. If the roads had become impassable, I believe many people would have died. So many were without heat and had no means to heat their homes. Shelters were full across the counties.

On Saturday, there was still alot of traffic---people trying to get to town and get 'emergency' supplies. By Monday, there was very little traffic, and people had been hunkered down, trying to survive the last three days. I think it was then that we all realized, just looking around at our little part of the world, that this wasn't going to be a quick fix. At that point, many people who had been trying to stay in unheated homes, decided to head for a shelter.

By day four or five, people started reaching out to each other more, keeping in touch on a regular basis. Most people had spent the first few days, trying to keep themselves, and their families alive when suddenly thrust into this primitive existance. Our elderly and infirm in the area were checked on immediately. Most of them were taken to family members or other homes that had heat. By day four the generators were starting to echo across the country. By the end of the outage, it sounded a bit like a truck stop parking lot when you stood outside at night! :-)

People were good, and people were generous. We all had stories to tell, and we were all in the same boat. It was good to slow down enough to re-connect with family and friends. Generators, wood, lamp fluid was all shared as we could. There were a few people who did die in the area---from using heating sources that weren't vented properly----but honestly its amazing more did not perish. We know so little any more about such things and the learning curve is quite harsh.

People became incoherent, dazed and we all looked like zombies. We are told this is 'post traumatic stress'---but who knows? We were all the same, and most people were patient with each other, so it didn't matter. Stress levels were high as we learned how to cope. We found out we were declared a 'Disaster Area' and that 'Looters' were hitting the vacant homes. Say what? Disaster Area? Looters? Thats only for real bad things like Katrina, isn't it? While it was a disaster, it didn't seem like it on that scale. Most people still had their homes and lives, we could still travel, still buy supplies if the stores were opened. We live in a 'hardscrabble' area for want of a better word, and most people just coped and went on, many met the challenge with creative solutions. "Foraging" became the term of the day. People would drive to the neighboring towns to see if the stores there had; batteries, lamp fluid, kerosine, kerosine heaters, generators, wood etc. etc. Some things were impossible to find for awhile, others terribly expensive.

We have a local radio station, that in good times we mockingly add the words 'Scare' to the front of their call letters, as they get quite excited and dramatic on their reports. However in bad times we are so very thankful for them, as they turn over their entire broadcast time to reports of what is going on---the electric companies would give updates, local shelter updates, if there was kerosine etc. available, where stockmen could get water for their livestock etc. etc. My little transistor radio was an amazing connection to the outside world, and again, humbling to hear how wide-spread the damage was. The linemen went above and beyond in their efforts to get us reconnected, working in unbeivable conditions. There were teams that came in from many states to get us back in business. Bless them all.

It was a time I'll not likely forget. All other winter storms will be compared to the Ice Storm of 2007 and hopefully very few will measure up! :-) I never felt afraid, although my nerves overcame me a time or two during the actual nights of destruction. Sadness sometimes overwhelmed me when I looked at the destroyed trees, but I felt God's protecting hand through it all. What an reluctant adventure it was!

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