Garden Diary - March 2018

If you have any comments, observations, or questions about what you read here, remember you can always Contact Me

All content included on this site such as text, graphics and images is protected by U.S and international copyright law.
The compilation of all content on this site is the exclusive property of the site copyright holder.


March Arrives Like A Lion
Friday, 2 March 2018

Blame it on the groundhog. He predicted six more weeks of winter. And the "in like a lion" start to March had better go out like a lamb after these couple of days. Let me begin - the weather people predicted not one, but two storms for us. We'd start with rain but the second storm tailgating on it would bring cold temperatures. That means snow. Worse conditions up into New England, but we here in the Garden State could / might / maybe see coastal flooding and heavy snow.

Thursday night brought heavy rain. By Friday morning there was 1.4 inches in the rain gauge. Then, shortly after 10:00 a.m.

it did indeed change over to snow.

Paul decided, prudently, to move the cars to the lower parking area in case the driveway became iced up overnight.

My friend Carol was going to get some bird seed for me and drop it off on Friday at about 1:00 p.m. on her way home. Instead, she called 30 minutes later than that to say, "Did you know there's a tree down across your driveway? Well, no. Had heard a strong thump, but assumed it was a major branch succumbing to the force of wind and gravity.

image copyright Paul Glattstein
Paul went down to take a look and indeed, there is
a tree down across the driveway. It missed the cars.

Then, at 1:48 p.m., the power went out and the generator started up.
JCP&L had not restored electricity by bedtime. So endeth the first day.

Saturday 3 March, 2018

Paul had turned the generator off when we went to bed because it is better, he says, to give it a hiatus. But not to worry because the thermostat for my greenhouse works without mains electricity if it has to do so. Power is not yet restored. I build a fire in the wood burning stove and Paul starts the generator up.

It was 35° Fahrenheit overnight, and somewhat
sunny this morning. The rain chain iced up.

And the tree is still across the driveway. In fact, it's been joined
by a second, fortunately small tree that also missed the cars.

There's an elephant trap sized pit where the roots
of the bigger tree just snapped off and pulled out.

Today will be an interesting day.

A nuisance to begin with - the larger of Paul's chainsaws, the Stihl, won't run. [UPDATE: On Monday, 5 March, while I was at the Philadelphia flower show I stopped at the Stihl vendor booth. Called home so Paul could relay the model number of his saw. Nick, a very pleasant guy, looked up the part number for the broken spring in the choke and gave it to me. Paul will go to the dealer on Tuesday to see about getting the part, which Paul will then install. Now back to the Saturday entry.] He'll have to use the Tanaka. Loads the ATV with bits and pieces, hitches up a trailer, and drives to the work area

and begins clearing the twin trunks that fork off the downed tree.

Our friend and neighbor, John, comes over with his Kubota and his Stihl (which has a larger bar than Paul's saw does. And is in working order.) The Kubota has multiple uses: John can set the bucket against a long log to keep it from rolling while he cuts. He can use the bucket to pick up stove-length logs and put them in the trailer. It may be a "smaller" machine, but can still handle 600 pounds. Good enough. In fact, better than just "good enough."

John is wearing kevlar chaps to protect his knees and legs.

Men and their machines, at work.

Good looking wood. Ash, I think. Most likely it was badly damaged,
if not killed, by the ash borer. Between what's up here and what's
left down below Paul thinks we have about half a cord for next winter.

The rain chain is no longer frozen.

Wish I could say the power is back on.
But it is not, and it is 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.
This is beginning to look very serious.

UPDATE - Saturday, 3 March: Just received a telephone call from Hunterdon County Emergency Management - there are 26,000 people without power in Hunterdon County. JCP&L advises that it may be Tuesday or Wednesday before power is fully restored to everyone.

UPDATE - Monday, 5 March: Received a second telephone call from Hunterdon County Emergency Management. There are still 16,000 people without power in Hunterdon County. (This includes us, by the way.) Another storm, with 10 or more inches of snow, is forecast for Tuesday night into Wednesday. Nonetheless, JCP&L is saying everyone will have their power back by Tuesday or Wednesday. I have my doubts.

UPDATE - Wednesday, 7 March: Snow beginning late Tuesday night. Heavier and heavier on Wednesday. At 3:28 p.m. power came on weakly, lights orange and flickering. We are concerned that if furnace or well pump try to come on they could be damaged.

About 4:00 p.m. received a third call from Hunterdon County Emergency Management. There are now 5,448 people still without power (still includes us.) Also, the county road crews cannot keep roads plowed clear when snow is falling faster than 1 inch / hour. Between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. we saw snow was falling at 2 inches / hour or better,

Started generator about 4:28 p.m. Then 3 minutes later it turned off as JCP&L power came on, full strength. At 4:48 p.m. generator started again because JCP&L shut down once more.

At 5:40 p.m. measurement on snow gauge shows 8 inches of accumulated snow.

IN CONCLUSION - Thursday, 8 March: Call from Hunterdon County Emergency Management: there are 7,875 households with no power. Note - they have switched to reporting households rather than people. And the number is greater than previous message, presumably due to Wednesday's snow. Also, their crews are out working to clear downed trees so roads may then be plowed.

Power came on at 5:05 p.m. Went out again at 6:51 p.m., back on at 6:53 p.m. and has stayed on since then. Total generator run time was 60 hours 12 minutes.

Back to Top

Back to Book Reviews 2018

Back to March 2018

Back to the main Diary Page