Garden Diary - October 2011

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Saturday, 29 October 2011
October Snow

There was ample warning. A nor'easter was coming our way. We'd see some snow. Maybe a couple of inches. The forecast was upgraded for maybe more than a few inches. Then it arrived.

First arriving as heavy rain, by 9:45 a.m. the precipitation turned into heavy wet snow. How odd,
to see Canna 'Pretoria', still in flower and dusted with snow.

At the same time, 9:45 a.m., the banana canna, Canna musifolia
was also acquiring a white coating that weights down its leaves.

A little more than an hour later, at 10:57 a.m. the heavy wet snow
is having more of an impact on the plants, as well as coating deck.

Also at 10:57 a.m. the real banana, Japanese fiber banana, Musa basjoo is looking decidedly untropical.

Midafternoon, 2:38 p.m. Banana canna is flattened down as snow piles even higher on plant and deck.

Even though sheltered adjacent to the house Musa basjoo's huge leaves are collapsing. 2:38 p.m.

31 October. Someone was able to collect enough of the wet snow to make a mud daubed snowman.

The aftermath was worse than anticipated. The combination of cold
and snow put the kibosh on tender plants, like Canna musifolia

The weight of heavy wet snow ripped trees apart, like this street tree next to the Veterans of Foreign Wars
post in Frenchtown. Weight of snow on still firmly attached leaves broke branches and split trunks apart.

With weather hovering right around the freezing mark snow was very wet, very heavy. Since it happened
in October many trees still had most of their leaves. They could not withstand the weight. This oak twisted,
more force than it could withstand and it splintered at the base. Along roads, trees brought down power lines.

Trees came down. Power lines came down. And stayed down and out for day after day after day.
We were without power for a week, some families on the road even longer. Storm damage report
Having a generator meant we periodically could have lights, use well for water, keep freezer and
refrigerator cold. Queue to fill 5 gallon gasoline cans. Appreciate wood burning stove and propane
cooking stove. With the later, even though the oven couldn't work I could light burners with a match.

Some people were not as fortunate. The county opened shelters
for respite, where people could warm up, take showers,
get hot meals, even spend the night if necessary. Pets -
from dogs and cats to several turtles - found shelter too.

Crews came from well outside the local area to restore the power grid. It was after 5:00 p.m. on Sunday,
6 November, when we saw several Michigan-based trucks and workers who restored electricity to the last
few homes on our road. As soon as they got clearance they'd activate the grid and wires would be live.
Away from their homes, working 18-hour days for 9 days to bring us back to flick the switch and see lights.

Winter will bring more snow, with colder weather for lighter, drier snow, and - hopefully - the lights will stay on.

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