Wednesday, May 11, 2011

An old gas lantern, a coffee pot and Olive's shelter from the storm.....

The gas lantern provided ample light this morning as we prepared coffee in an old campfire percolator style coffee pot over our gas range.  For once, I was grateful for Henry's obsessive collection of vintage kitchen and camping gadgets.  I admit, I've not been very supportive of his collection in the past because there's no room for it except in my laundry room where it takes up space that I could use for...well, you know....laundry stuff.

But I wasn't complaining as the coffee perked this morning.  A series of severe wind and thunder storms wreaked havoc through our community last night and made for a sleepless night - taking power lines down and leaving us in total darkness except for the vivid flashes of lightening.  It was very frightening.  At one point during the relentless wind, our roof seemed likely to lift straight up off the house.  Upstairs, the attic's knee wall doors that weren't latched blew wide open.  The sounds of snapping tree limbs made us think that one of our many backyard trees would topple over on the house at any time.  As I rambled around upstairs in the dark, droplets of water starting falling on my head near the dormer window - I could only imagine what awaited me in the morning. 

At the first hint of light, we walked outside.  First on the list was to check on the animals.  I knew that the cat and dog had shelter.  Most of the chickens sleep in the trees, so I was hoping they hadn't blown away - they hadn't.   The Polish Hen, Olive, and baby chick Rube have been sleeping outside in the thick shrubbery under the eaves at the corner of the house since Rube hatched out a little over a week ago.  They were the ones I was worried about.  I took the lantern outside lifting up the shrubs trying to find my girls.  She wasn't in her usual place.  Getting thoroughly soaked by the wet shrubs, I rambled about until I finally saw Olive.  Her Elvis pouf hairstyle was wet and totally flat on top of her head, but her feathers are good at shedding water so her body was relatively dry.  I called her to come out and here comes little peeper Rube sticking her head out from under mommy's protective wings - they were both fine.  The overhanging bay window had provided a good shelter from the storm.

Now it was time to survey the damage.  Power outages were widespread because trees were across lines everywhere.  The majestic old oak trees in the community that had withstood Hurricane Hugo in 1989 could not withstand another storm.  Most of the ones lining Old Hickory, our main street, were haphazardly toppled over with their large roots up in the air.  One of the large oaks in front of our church lay precariously leaned against another.  Pine trees were snapped off like toothpicks.  Up the road a bit, the oldest house in our community dating back into the 1700's had a huge tree lying across it's front porch.   Our daughter's new house had the screen ripped right off her back porch and trees down everywhere.  Our neighborhood looked like a war zone.  Our own backyard was spared - only a jumble of large tree limbs were down.
These two photos are of a massive tree down on the side of a house on Old Hickory (our Main Street)
Another view of the same tree
The other side of the same house, a different tree
Another tree down on Old Hickory
Tree leaning on other trees at our church
Isn't our church beautiful.  Built in 1912
Tree limbs down all over our back yard
Although frightening for us, our storm was nothing compared to the wide path of destruction  from the tornadoes in our neighboring states a few weeks ago.  And the fear we may have felt paled in comparison to those knowing that their homes were being blown apart with their families inside.  My heart goes out to those families as their lives will never be the same.

Our neighbors are all fine......our blessings are many.  Trees can be replanted, houses can be repaired, but the life of someone you love is irreplaceable.

I join my neighbors in giving thanks to God for protecting our families and providing us a shelter from the storm. 

p.s.  and that cup of coffee this morning was mighty fine!


  1. I have been trying to leave a comment here for the past few hours. I am really hoping that this time it will work! What an awful night you had over there - it must have been very frightening for you. Those photos really do show the awful damage that was done. The Church is really beautiful. Thank goodness it wasn't damaged. My prayers go out to all those whose homes were damaged, including your daughter. As you say, thank the Lord that no=one was injured or, even worse, killed. I do hope that you will have a much more peaceful night tonight! Thank heavens Olive and little Rube were okay. I did have a sense of dread when I read in your post that you were looking for them. Phew! That could have been the shortest adoption in history. Hugs.

  2. I think there was something wrong with Blogger today. Wouldn't let me comment or read my own comments. Never mind its OK now.

    You have had a very lucky escape. Amazing how you house is still standing and that the animals were not hurt or blown away.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  3. Thank you for your concerns, thisisme. My first thoughts when the storm awakened me was of Olive and Rube since they were unprotected. I was relieved they were ok. I keep putting her and the chick in the hen house but she won't stay. She escapes by flying over the fence and Rube can get through the wire easily because of his size. If another storm is forecast, I'm going to put them in a pen we built for baby chicks.

  4. Thanks Maggie. This has been a season for violent weather here in the South. The National Weather Service says we had a "straight line storm" whatever that is - with winds over 70 miles per hour. I think we had tornadoes that skipped about.

    I don't know what's wrong with Blogger. I've had trouble downloading a video of Olive and Rube. I guess I'll just youtube it.


I love to hear your comments!