Garden Diary - October 2012

Monday & Tuesday, 29 & 30 October 2012
After the Superstorm

We knew it was coming. For days the warning have flooded the airwaves and the Internet. A super storm, a frankenstorm, a hurricane / nor'easter hybrid was coming to clobber the east coast. As hurricanes go, it was on the lower end of the scale. The big issue was the fact that as it merged with the cold weather system approaching from the west the storm would spread and widen, with its hurricane force winds only slowly passing over the coastal areas from Virginia up into Canada. Coupled with high tides and the full moon, unprecedented flooding was guaranteed. And so it was. The storm grew to hundreds of miles across. It made landfall in southern New Jersey. It destroyed coastal areas, flooded the East River tunnels, cascaded into the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel.

Here's what happened at BelleWood Gardens. Paul checked out the generator, made sure it would start. Good thing he did as it needed a new spark plug. We filled a couple of buckets with water for flushing toilets, jugs with drinking water. Did a load of laundry. Ran the dishwasher. Bought paper plates. Ample cat food and people food. Brought up the lanterns and flashlights from basement storage and distributed them around the house. Turned the freezer's setting to maximum, turned refrigerator and its separate freezer's settings to a click colder. Now time to hunker down, and wait.

Sunday weather, overcast. Monday weather, overcast with rain. Then wind. Then more wind. Power went out. Power came back on. Out. On. Out. On. We were exceptionally fortunate that this was the pattern. Over all the states more than 8 million people lost power. Wind roaring. What was the analogy before we had freight trains to compare it with? Scary noises from outside but it is difficult to see anything because by now it is dark. It's clear that trees are falling.

Tuesday morning reveals the carnage. BelleWood Gardens has lost at least 15 trees.

One fell from across a storm culvert /ditch by the driveway and stopped just short of the house.

A beautiful oak tree. So sad. Already the increased light from its absence is noticeable.
And it will be good firewood for next year. Given a choice though, I'd rather have the tree standing.

The cleanup is a daunting task. Look at the brushy debris that will come from just this one tree.

But we're so lucky. It barely kissed the house. There's a second tree that fell parallel to the house.
It could easily have wiped out that entire end of the structure - the guest room and bathroom upstairs.

Three trees uprooted down in the garden along the intermittent drainage creek. Another
with small branches on my toolshed roof (but no damage.) At least 8 trees up slope
around back of the back of the house. Bad ones, they're hung up. Widow makers.

Several in the woods with the path to the Forest Deck. Uprooted, and took the path with it.

One came down across the driveway. No matter that it's drizzling off and on. This must be
attended to. Well, actually, it turns out we had a respite. The road was closed at both ends
with multiple downed trees, downed power poles, downed wires. Driveway needs cleared

so we might as well get it done. Paul uses the Stihl with an 18-inch bar. I have my little
battery operated electric chain saw and the loppers. I haul brush, he cuts. Exhausting work.


Eventually the driveway is clear enough to get a car down so we check things out.


A beech tree came down towards Route 519 and took the wires with it. The tree's been cut back
and the wires held up with wooden pusher sticks. No idea when the repair crews will be here.


Small wonder the road is closed to all through traffic. There's so much work to be done and I'm just
talking about here at home. I doubt we'll finish the cleanup this year. And where to pile all the brush.
And all the wood, until it can be split. And where to store it then. ah well, tomorrow is another day.

Here is a link to my other storm entry

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