The Ice Storm of 2009

We hear on the news about other places and their trials by nature but you never really get it until you live it.  Several years ago, Springfield (MO.) just up the road had their ice storm.  Power out for weeks to thousands of homes and businesses.  The animal shelter was pleading for places to foster the over 100 dogs in their facility.  We hear it and see it, but we just donít really feel it.  This week we got to experience it first hand.

Day 1:  We knew it was coming so Tuesday morning, Loren went to the grocery store.  It was like the day before Thanksgiving with the mass of people emptying shelves of edible non-perishables that wouldnít need cooked to be consumed and other essentials.  Loren forgot the toilet paperJ.  He did bring home a T-bone for that day.  Since it was so cold outside, we were discussing broiling it when the electricity went out.   This was around 1:00 p.m.  We decided it had best go in the freezer as it could be evening before the power was back on.  The naivety of it all! 

I made a tuna sandwich and Loren had a salad. 

What do you do when there is no electricity?  Out here in the country it means no computer, no TV, no lights and NO WATER!  No water means no water for the dogs, no doing laundry, no washing dishes, no bath and no flush.  We are on a well.  For those city folk, it is not the circular brick yard ornament with a bucket attached that you see in a Norman Rockwell. A well is a pump on top of a long pipe that goes deep into the ground and pumps up water, fills a bladder and keeps it there until you need it.  Ours holds about 4 flushes. 

We each found a book that we had not read and curled up on the sofa in front of the window for the rest of the day. 

Luckily Loren had brought up the propane heater from the basement on Monday so we had some heat.  Between that and the heat that dogs radiate, we stayed warm. 

We watched as the tree branches collected ice, bent and snapped.  It was a constant snapping and crackling and many kabooms as the vegetation around us collapsed under the weight of the frozen water.  Some younger trees merely bent in an arch to the ground as if made of rubber.  One in particular, a thin tree about 50 feet tall, bent down and rested its top on our car.  It never did break.  Just rested.  Many of the broken branches caught on lower limbs and continue to hang precariously as an ominous threat to any creature who dares too venture too close.

By dark, we had about a dozen branches of significant size on the ground or dangling in despair. Only one had done any damage.  It had taken down a section of the dog fence. 

Around 6:30 p.m. finding it too hard to read, we lit 2 candles, a camp lantern and gathered flashlights.  We had unplugged the computers battery packs in anticipation that a jolt would bring our power back up in the middle of the night. 

First night:  Sissy decided to patrol which is totally unlike her.  With old age and arthritis, I got concerned.  Once she came in, I could relax and go to sleep.  That is until Bear began his nightly ritual to the longest extent ever.  He barked literally all night.  He barked at every snap, crackle and crash and there were plenty.  Believe me, I heard them also.  Bear finally shut up in the wee hours of the morning, but the snap, crackle and crash did not.

Day 2; Wednesday morning:  We woke up to 10 acres of war zone.  A war of weather versus nature.  Weather won.  We only had one tree uproot and it went through the back fence.  The rest were either whole tops of trees or limbs that were no longer attached to their respective trunks.  They covered a good portion of the ground and made navigation difficult.  The hazard lay with the limbs that had not come down, but only broke and were dangling 15, 20, 30 feet in the air like multi-pronged missiles awaiting the slightest breeze to win their struggle against gravity.   Most of the trees were large and old, 40 and 50 foot tall; were being the key word.  All of the approximately 30 large oaks in the front yard had major damage.