STITCH LINES...... Ramblings on life as a quilter, stitcher, traveler, gardener and lover of books, cats and fine chocolate....

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Bailing by Candlelight....

View out the front door Sat.a.m.
"Arthur" has never been one of my favourite names... and it is even less so now. What was called "post-tropical storm" Arthur ripped through my city last Friday night and all day Saturday with torrential rains and winds with speeds up to 98 km/hr. I have experienced some pretty wicked winter storms in my lifetime, but never a summer storm like this. It was scary. Our biggest fear was one or more trees coming down on the house which was a good possibility, as we have a number of very large trees in very close proximity to the house.. Not. Good. Two maples, a black walnut, a horse chestnut, a poplar and two apple trees are all close enough and big enough to do serious damage. We did lose one large tree and will have to take down another, but more on that later. Really, we got off lucky, compared to many. We also lost a number of large limbs and branches off various trees but none did any damage.
The wind and rain overnight on Friday/Saturday was unreal, I got very little sleep. In the morning the exterior of the house was plastered with debris, mostly leaves, and the entire property was littered with branches, limbs, and leaves. My gardens were battered and beaten, with many plants broken. There won't be as many garden photos this summer, I'm thinkin'.
Looking out the driveway Sat.a.m.



We lost power on Saturday morning about 8:30 a.m. Our immediate concern when this happens is the sump pump in our basement, not to mention the freezer which is full. We kept a close eye on the sump pump hole all day long, because once the water starts to rise, it's just a matter of minutes before we'd have water over the floor... We played Scrabble and Monopoly in the afternoon as Arthur raged. Lineups at fast food restaurants got longer and longer as the day progressed and more people were without power, as did those at gas stations (people wanting gas for generators.) Shortly after supper, the bailing began in earnest. It wasn't long before I realized I'm too old (or my knees are, at least) for kneeling on the concrete floor to bail water for 30 minutes at a time. We spelled each other off every half hour, one bailing, the other carrying and emptying the bucket. This went on for 15 hours straight. At around 3a.m. we decided to count to see how many buckets we were doing per hour.... can you believe 40!! And this was all done by candlelight, of course.. our basement is dark at the best of times as we have no basement windows. Yep, bailing by candlelight... Romantic, you say? Not really... It was a long night. If we weren't so tired it might have been funny... but we were too pooped to see any humour in it. At around 10 the next morning, my brother stopped by to see if we were okay, and when he heard about us bailing, he said - "Well I have a small generator I'm not using, you can have it!!" Arrggghhhh! Why hadn't we checked out that possibility the night before?? On Sunday it was hard to find hot food as most restaurants and fast food joints had closed (no power) - I was determined we were NOT going to open the freezer or the fridge as we didn't know how much longer we might be without power and I really did not want to lose all the contents... (I was craving cold milk.. there was no milk to be found in the city...) Also by Sunday gas stations were running out of gas, and people with generators were starting to panic...
Broken tree on neighbouring street

We were so very grateful when our power came back on Sunday evening about 8:30 p.m. We were lucky to only be without it for 36 hours; now, nine days later there are still thousands without power. We did lose power two more times, but for much shorter periods, and only had to bail again for 8 hours (the generator had gone to someone else at that point.) Of the over 140,000 homes in our area without power, over 90% have now been restored, thanks to over 310 power crews working. Crews have come in from Maine, as well as Quebec, PEI and Nova Scotia to help NB Power. Those remaining are mostly properties where access is difficult. I hope they will all be back on the grid soon. (We now have our own generator. Let's hope we never have to use it....)
Our fallen tree, seen out my studio window
Back to the trees... Current estimates are that our city lost around 4,000 trees- about 15%. That's just within the city limits. We lost one large tree; it came down on a car. Not our car, but that of a co-worker of Hubby's. They are from out of town and were driving to Ontario for a wedding last weekend so left a second car here. They were so very lucky as there was not a scratch on the car. The limbs just formed a perfect arch over the vehicle. (If it had fallen in a different direction it would have come right through my studio roof.) Others in the city were not so lucky as trees crushed cars, came through roofs, etc. I wasn't sad to lose the tree that fell as it was a messy tree anyway, but I'm very sad that we will lose the beautiful large maple on our front lawn. It has three splits in it and will have to be taken down.

Only a few miles from here, at a popular campground, a large sinkhole opened up and within a very short time, it "swallowed" three 30' travel trailers and a car! The car actually was washed down river!
My brothers are exhausted as they have been working long hours to clear fallen trees, limbs and debris in our court. I'm so glad they're pretty well done now, with no serious injuries or mishaps...

Fallen tree which took down power lines on neighbouring street




So, overall, we have a lot to be thankful for. No one was injured or killed. Trees can be re-planted. We did not lose our freezer contents and what was lost from the fridge was minor. Being without phone, tv and internet for nine days was annoying but really just an inconvenience. Others are much worse off. There were many acts of kindness and generosity as people shared generators and  power lines, grocery stores gave away food before it melted or spoiled, etc. etc. Disasters can bring out the good in people. As we were bailing in the middle of the night, I said to Hubby, in 23 years in this house, this is the first time we've ever had to do this, as we've never lost power for more than a few hours before. So we are indeed lucky! Goodbye Good riddance Arthur.
I did not leave our property for three days, by the time I ventured out to take some photos elsewhere, most of the large trees had been cleared, but hopefully these few photos will give you some small idea of Arthur's fury.
With being offline for nine days I am certainly way behind in visiting my blogging friends. I hope to catch up although likely won't be leaving too many comments. I'm sure you'll understand.

Peace,
Linda

"Nature is so powerful, so strong. Capturing its essence is not easy - your work becomes a dance with light and the weather..."  ~ Annie Leibovitz



10 comments:

Lorette Cole said...

We were saddened to see the damage in your city Linda and so very glad life is returning to normal... NB Power and their colleagues from other regions worked hard, long hours to restore everyone's power. The rest of the Maritimes joins us in being thankful no one was killed or injured in Arthur's path. Your friend's car is another example in luck!!! Your garden will be glorious again with your loving hands! Be well!

Dasha said...

Wow! That was some storm. I can't imagine that I would last out half an hour on my knees bailing. Just too much arthritis to manage that I'm afraid. I also have a damaged shoulder.

GailM. said...

I like the picture of you taking a picture. Neat Shot for a selfie!!

I'm glad you are ok. That bailing sounds exhausting. We were out for 7 days. It's like a week lost out of our lives. We felt paralyzed. I'm glad it's over and feel bad for those that don't have power even yet!!

Pamela Gordon said...

Wasn't that the worst storm we've ever had?!! I was wondering how you fared during it Linda. I'm sorry you had to be bailing for so many hours. We also have a sump pump and we have a generator which kept the pump going when needed, and the fridge and freezer. Murray even hooked up the internet to a battery for me. :) It's hard to believe the thousands of trees blown down across the province. I'm sorry you'll have to take down your big maple tree. It's amazing the tree didn't damage your friend's car! Wow. Good thing you now have a generator and will be prepared. I have the feeling we'll be needing them more than ever.

Vee said...

Oh bailing through the night like that must have been a nightmare! So glad that you have a generator now. Most folks have them here since the horror show that was the ice storm in the 90s. We certainly do and they come in handy when there's a power outage. Thank you for telling your story. I hope that you all have started getting some quality rest again. And may your garden rebound quickly.

Anonymous said...

Linda, I have to tell you that some Arthurs are really nice. That was my beloved father's name, and he was not a hurricane, nor a tropical storm, nor even a thunderstorm. He was a lovely kind man with a heart of gold. Please don't think that all Arthurs are negative! :-) Jeanne Kaye

Country Gal said...

Yes it was quite a horrendous storm for sure ! I hops all can get back to normal soon for every one over there . Thanks for sharing , Have a good week !

Janet said...

Nature is indeed in command! Thankful that no one was hurt or killed.

Sheila said...

Wow, your area really took the brunt of Arthur , we lost power for about ten hours straight with short outages before that . Out phone, Internet and TV we lost for three days but no damage to our property and although there were trees down around the county nothing like you experienced . So glad this ordeal is over for you .

Gwen Buchanan said...

Linda, I totally, totally, totally understand and sympathize! I was wondering how you were affected.
Instead of "a once in 100 yrs. event" it is now a "twice a year event".
We still don't have a generator, we are considering it but our well is too deep for it to pump it, so water storage is how we solved that after the ice storm.
I am considering how much I really want a freezer anymore. more canned goods and preserving instead. We were out for 1 day at one location and 6 days at the other we are working on.
Not Fun! and not easy to forget.

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