Sunday, July 1, 2012


Not as in "power to the people" or "girl power" (though we did see Brave last night--an awesome movie) but power as in "we lost power for  two days."  Anyone who loses power realizes quickly how dependent we are on electricity not just for our own comfort, but for the comfort or our critters, too.

Virginia gets many thunder storms this time of the year, but Friday night's was like nothing I have experienced before. The weather the past few days had been and has been n the high 90s, and very uncomfortable for humans and horses plus the flies have been HORRIBLE. (We've blogged before about flies but I have found no good solution other than putting them in the barn with the fan on and fly masks.)

Friends had arrived from Roanoke for the weekend with their kids, my son showed up, too, and we could see the storm over the mountains as we cooled off in the pool after dinner. The friends went in to shower and I walked the dogs down the drive before we went in for the night. The wind picked up, but suddenly, it whipped towards us, bending the trees almost in half. The dogs and I ran for the garage. The wind raged for almost three hours. There was lightning all around but little rain. Power quickly quit and we spent the night in the dark. (Those of you in tornado alley or hurricane areas who REALLY get storms, will be shaking your heads and saying "that was nothin'!")

The next morning, we inspected the damage. The roof will need replacing, and that's me looking at the mess in the pool. You can't see the millions of leaves and dead bugs, but lots of other strange things ended up in the water. No big trees fell down, just tons of limbs and leaves. The neighbors fared about the same, and fortunately, no animals were hurt, no cars smashed, no fences down and no houses blew away. In the middle of it all, the old cat died (we buried her in the garden); I sent the friends home without their fun weekend (awful to have company with no toilets!); and my daughter arrived safely having gotten the message NOT to drive Friday night.

Saturday was hot and sticky but we cooked on the grill and wisely we always have huge containers of water to help flush the toilets. The horses were okay without their fan, biding time in the woods with the deer flies. Another day and we would have had to move them to the neighbor's pasture which has a stream. We even jumped in the leafy pool (still icky after much skimming) after picking up limbs all day. I managed to find ice and water, cell phones still worked, we had gas in the cars, we took showers at a neighbors who had power, but no one wanted to spend one more night in the heat, which got up to 90 in the house.  And at 11:00 Saturday night when the power went back on, we (animals included) were jubilant to have running water, flushing toilets, and air conditioning.

This, however, was an annoying storm, not a disaster, and I can only imagine how devastating real disasters--floods, hurricanes, fires, tornados--are to humans and critters.  We were only somewhat prepared, and my first direction to my husband was "we need to get a generator."  I've read articles about the weather getting weirder across the US and the world, and my brother is battling the fires in Colorado due to lightning strikes. We all need to figure out how to be prepared for whatever happens.

 What disasters or annoying weather situations have you made it through lately? And how did you keep your animals safe? 


Susan said...

We're facing a serious drought here. Hay is going to be expensive and we have to buy more than usual as we have no grass. We'll figure out a way to get through like we always do.

Alison said...

Hi Susan--where are you located? My brother is in Colorado and it's super hot and dry--thus the fires.

We're headed into drought mode, too. Nature is so fickle and . . .powerful.

Good luck finding hay.

TBDancer said...

Such unique pictures from this storm--trampoline folded neatly over a powerline, someone's metal roof bent in half and residing over a power line.

Re the hay situation, our hay prices shot through the roof last year because of the drought in TX and OK; hay being shipped to take care of their animals. Mother Nature can be a real tough taskmaster, and we do what we have to in order to care for our animals. I can do the peanut butter and crackers or ramen "thing" day after day. Dogs and horse can't quite "go there."

Prayers to all within fire, windstorm, floodwater, heatwave range. One day at a time.

Alison said...

TB Dancer,

I hope this year's hay season is better for you and Susan. Pasture can get burnt up so quickly in this heat.

The pics are incredible and we were lucky to get power back -- others, including my mom, are still without.

Francesca Prescott said...

Sounds crazy, Alison. I can't imagine anything like that, here in Switzerland we rarely get such extreme weather. There have been the occasional super strong storms, with trees ripped out, and roofs damaged, and power outage, but not on the scale you are describing.

We're just having really unsettled, weed-growth inducing weather: hot, cold-ish, wet, hot, cold-ish, wet, which is hard on everyone, including the animals, but just in a tiring way, really. I'd just like a couple of weeks of nice warm sunshine; our summers are so short.

One question: why do you need power to flush toilets? Actually, one more question: your horses have a fan??!! Does it get soooo hot?

Sorry about your poor cat :(

Laura Crum said...

I actually hate to comment on this post because our weather's been great here on the central California coast. In the 70's every day. Of course, we have rain and storms (and lots of mud) in the winter, and one day last month, for no discernible reason, a BIG pine tree tipped over and completely blocked our driveway (no real damage done and it was cleared within a day). Hay prices are high here, too, but they are going down as the new hay crop comes in. I really have nothing to complain about.

I hope you are able to clean up your storm damage fairly easily--that can't have been any fun. Glad that you are all OK--besides the loss of your cat. Its always sad to lose an animal. Good wishes to you and yours.

Laura Crum said...

Oh, and I'm pretty sure that Susan is in Montana.

Alison said...

We use big dairy barn fans in the barn which whirl so strongly that the flies don't DARE come inside. It's the only place flies aren't annoying, and yes, our summers are long and hot, usually not terrible because we have low humidity BUT I keep hearing that everywhere in the US is getting HOTTER.
I love your comment about toilets not flushing, you city girl you. When you live in the country and have a well, an electric pump brings up the water. So no electricity, no water. I hope your weather gets warm SOON and your hand gets better for your big event.

Alison said...

Laura, I am always jealous of your weather, and beach riding, but your last post you mentioned the terrible poison oak. It's fun to 'experience' so many different places (like Switzerland, CA and Montana!)through this blog.

Val said...


I am weathering the same storm, but have not yet gotten power back (almost 72 hours). I live in southern New Jersey, although NJ seems to not be mentioned much in the news (as I hear from others who have power). The heat we are experiencing is making this experience extremely unpleasant and even dangerous.

I hope that your repairs are timely and that we do not have to experience one of these storms again. I thought it was a tornado!

Alison said...

Hi Val--Good luck with getting power back on! I hope your animals weathered the weird storm unscathed.
Yes, the heat is making things even worse. Stay well!