Garden Diary - July 2009


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July


Sunday, 26 July, 2009
Summer Storm

"Silly cat," I said. "Can't you hear the thunder? It's going to rain. Don't you want to come inside?" He gave me a squinty-eyed, "I'm a wild cat" look and disappeared under the deck. Then the rain came down.

The storm crossed the Delaware River at 4:45 p.m. It was falling so profusely
that the air looked white, and water was sheeting over the windows.
Then there was some hail rattling on the skylights, still accompanied
by lightening and thunder, and powerful winds bending the trees.

Weather service reports - from a member of the public at 0450 PM
TSTM WND DMG 1 SE MILFORD 40.56N 75.08W TREES DOWN, ROOF OFF BARN,
SHED TOTALLY GONE, SWATH OF DAMAGE THROUGH WOODS IN ALEXANDRIA TWP.

at the same time, a report from a New Jersey emergency manager:
0450 PM TSTM WND DMG 6 S CLINTON 40.55N 74.91W NUMEROUS TREES DOWN IN PITTSTOWN.

and a New Jersey trained spotter reported:
0450 PM QUARTER SIZE HAIL IN PITTSTOWN 6 S CLINTON 40.55N 74.91W

while a different New Jersey trained spotter reported:
0450 PM ROTATING WALL CLOUD WITH FUNNEL CLOUD FRENCHTOWN 40.53N 75.06W

.

Ten minutes later and the storm was moving off, mutterings of thunder
in the distance, a respectable .70 inches of rain in the gauge, and
a rainbow arching low across the driveway. Don't believe I've ever
seen one so low. It looks as if I could run out and raise my hands

to touch it.


copyright Paul Glattstein 2009

We step out, and mist is rising from the driveway, off the roof, a response
to lower air temperature, warmer asphalt, and all the moisture.

The power is out, trees are down, and the storm's aftermath becomes apparent.

I have an answer to the question: If a tree falls in the woods
and there is no one to hear it does it make a sound?

Not if it is thundering at the same time. A sizeable black walnut across the drainage creek,
while on the house side of the intermittent water course we find that an even larger maple,
and a twin-trunk hickory at least 60 feet tall were all uprooted. Firewood. And much cleanup.

.

Trees also down on the road, east and west of us, closing it to vehicular traffic.
A convoy of cars comes, people dragging huge branches aside, gaining way
until they reach this spruce which lost its crown, tangled as it is with wisteria.

Paul went up to the house and got his chain saw to start clearing.
Hank showed up with his and, cigar firmly clenched between his teeth,
took over. I asked if the cigar helped him work better. He had a simple
answer for me. "No. But it does keep the bugs out of my mouth." O.K.

.

Later on a bucket loader came down the road, checking for debris that needed to be shoved aside.
And it wasn't until Tuesday morning that our electricity was restored. Thirty-six hours of no power
except when Paul ran the generator to keep the refrigerator cold, freezer frozen, and water
from the well. That first shower - what luxury, hot water from the tap. I'll forget, soon enough.

Until next time.

And the cat? Fog came strolling out from under the deck after the storm was over,
fur in spike-y clumps but amazingly, not drenched. A quick toweling off and he was fine.


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