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A Strong Wind's Gonna Blow

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Egad. It's been awhile. Three weeks feels like an eternity in the Zickiverse of sharing. Sharing beauty and all the good stuff makes me happy. Conversely, when I don't have time to sit down and edit (or even upload) my photos; when I don't have time to think about what it all means, because it's going by too fast, I get kind of unhappy, restless, blocked. So. Here I am. Had a really hideous derecho (the second this week) hit yesterday afternoon and we'll be out of power for a long time. For those unfamiliar with the word, a derecho is a powerful, fast-moving storm front that moves like an express train for hundreds of miles. It's organized. It means business, and its business is destruction. The same storm, which apparently originated here in central Ohio, made it all the way to Connecticut and south through New Jersey, wreaking havoc all the way.  Generally with a storm like this I figure on 3-5 days of outage, but who knows. Maybe we'll get lucky this time. But I'm settled in for a long haul. The rain cooled things off, thank goodness, so I'm not missing the AC.

photo from Washington Electric Cooperative

Broken pole on the line feeding the Rinard Mills substation, which is ours. It's gonna be awhile. Snapped like a matchstick, it was. The winds were in excess of 60 mph and possibly as high as 80. They were straight-line, not tornadic, but there are trees down everywhere; there is a layer of shredded leaves on everything, plastered all over the north side of the house and carpeting the grass. The roads from town are covered with a sticky, twiggy salad of macerated leaves, punctuated by limbs and trunks of trees, now being removed by township trustees. My bonsais blew off their bench; some pots broke; my giant 7' geranium toppled and got the drastic pruning it had been needing. I'll spare youa photo; it's too sad to see the rubble of a magnificent plant. But it's strong; it'll be fine in no time.

My planties are bruised and tattered but they're OK and so am I. My friends the Warren boys lost a new shed they'd built. Not nice. Amazingly, Bill was at the house around dinnertime when it blew in, trying to fix my unfixably busted rider mower deck, and he was able to move a lot of plants under an awning so there wasn't much damage. Not only that, but by the time I got back from errands in town (where it sprinkled a little), he had chainsawed a large dead tree that came down across the driveway and already had the generator up and running and a spaghetti tangle of extension cords running to key appliances. I would have been totally screwed without him. I wouldn't have even been able to get up the driveway to unload the groceries, into the fridge that had no power. Trainwreck. I can do a lot of things, but chainsawing isn't one of them (yet), and my conversance with balky gasoline engines is low. Sorry DOD, I should be better at all this by now.

 I was so thankful for Bill, and the way he threw himself into solving the problems the storm wrought. After we'd done all the stuff that has to be done to get power to two houses, we all had a cookout at 10 pm, with Zicklettuce picked before it was pulverized. It was nice. But country life ain't for sissies. You have to be ready to take care of stuff, and to be without power for days on end. And you have to be cool about it. You can't feel sorry for yourself. All you can do is deal with it. I finally broke down and bought a generator after a nine-day summer outage when temperatures were in the 90's. I remember emptying all the coin jars around the house, scraping up the $650 to buy it, used. And I've never felt helpless and cheated during a power outage since. Here I am, typing away on a powered laptop, with Internet, and the fridge is humming away and my food isn't rotting and needing to be cooked NOW or thrown out. Ugggh summer outages!! Nor did my greenhouse blow away this time. It's held together with two-year-old rotten Gorilla Tape, and I didn't lose a single pane. Go figure. I'm a little rattled, but hugely grateful, for it was a derecho in 2012 that took my Garden Pod away.

There are so many miracles here. I was already feeling particularly grateful yesterday afternoon (May 15) before I headed for town, because I'd seen a little place where dirt had been kicked out of a rotty place on our old garage. I mused that an animal of some size and strength had done that, because it was gravel, and there was a lot of it, and gravel is heavy. So I'd been thinking about that, and keeping an eye on this spot. And lo and behold as I was headed to my car, I spied a long thin blackish tail disappearing into the crevice. It could only have been a lizard, because it headed up into the rotted wood! (Snakes head down).  Lizards are scarce as hen's teeth around here; I feel lucky if I see one a summer.

As it happened, I was planning to put the cargo carrier on the back of Liam's old Subaru so I could grab some straw bales on my trip into town. I went into that corner of the garage (the one that's rotting out) to get the cargo carrier and in the doorway of his most excellent rotty home, where he'd kicked out all the gravel, I spied this little gent looking back at me:

 Easily eight inches of magnificent (probably broad-headed) skink!! (Though I'm not ruling out a mature five-lined skink). Only the third skink sp. I've seen, and always in our garage! I had an adult female two summers ago, and before the kids were born I saw a huge mature male with a girth like a kielbasa, and a brilliant orange head, just inside the west door. Last summer I had a tame northern fence lizard taking water and mealworms out of tiny dishes in my garden supplies area. Swoon! It pays to have a rotten garage. Fabulous tenants like skinks, snakes, bats and Carolina wrens can make their way in and out with ease. You can't see it here, but his head and jaws were bright orange, and he had the brightest little eye, looking right into mine. How lucky can you get??

The other miracle that happened yesterday is that my dwarf pomegranate, which had been on a ceramic pedestal over a cement sidewalk outdoors, had finally achieved such an apex of magnificence that I decided I had to try to get some decent photos of it. It's a very difficult subject to shoot, because any background interferes with its tiny leaves and brilliant flowers. I have never found a good place to shoot it outside, and inside isn't much better. I see by the clock it's 4 pm...the derecho hit at 6:30.

So I took it off its pedestal and into my bedroom, and I finally found a background befitting its beauty.

 Its leathery waxy calyxes, with their ballerina tutus protruding, are such an impossibly bright dark neon orange as to be unbelievable.

 I got the shots I was after, and without much thought I decided to leave it there in the bedroom, so I could enjoy it for awhile before putting it back out on its pedestal on the sidewalk. I left for town, did all my errands, and came back to find that the derecho had hurled all my bonsais off their bench to the ground. Bill had picked them up and put them under an awning for protection. But this one and its bowl and the little mudmen would certainly have been shattered, falling from a high pedestal onto cement. I would have been so sad.

To me, this was a message, not to tot up your losses, but to be thankful for what you still have. I'm thankful to still have this precious little tree, blooming away, back outside now, but under my ever-watchful eye. You never know when a strong wind is going to blow it all down.


Am I connected or what?... consciously,cluelessly sending you a rainbow photo on such a stormy day.
I too have the peace of mind a generator brings. You have great neighbors and of course Sara N. Dippity.

“You never know when a strong wind is going to blow it all down.” That’s my next tattoo. Hugs to you, wise friend.

I sure would like some of that rain our way but not the winds. Glad to hear you and yours survived all with a little help from your friend.

I'm leaning towards five lined skink, but betting that James Adams will overrule me. You see the neatest things!

Oh my goodness. What blessings in the storm though! Hugs.

You need to clone Bill and make him available throughout the land.
Glad to know why you've been blog-absent for 3 weeks, and that you're safe & sound.

“And still I rise” Maya Angelou. Julie, you are a poet “The roads from town are covered with a sticky, twiggy salad of macerated leaves, punctuated by limbs and trunks of trees...” 💕❤️A science nerd, flower loving , independence seeking poet❤️💕 put that to music, girl. ( in your free time! HA!)

Oof, spring storms are rough. Our years of living in Florida taught us the value of a generator. At that time we also had aquariums so it was pretty much vital to have one.

Broad headed skink---that's a great find! We see them from time to time around here but five lined are more common. And we have tons of Carolina anoles!

Most poetic disaster report I've ever read. Glad the bonsai are safe.

So much said in this post overtly and some with subtlety. "...but under my ever-watchful eye. You never know when a strong wind is going to blow it all down." Powerful stuff. So glad you're safe and had some help out there on the bak roads. I remember a bow echo in Marietta but this sounds like it was much worse. Kim in PA

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