Friday, August 21, 2009

Our Story, Part III, the Winter Storm

November 15th, 2006.
These pictures don't come close to describing the damage and the scariness of this first storm. Winds were clocked at 105mph!!! I was terrified! I'm sure you realize from my many pictures of the farm, we have a large stand of old growth evergreen trees by the house. We lost power at about noon, and a big branch from the pine tree landed on the power line going out to the barn. This was the third time this had happened in 5 years, so it was time to consider putting the power lines underground. I wasn't cold, just lonely and afraid. I ran over to my neighbor's house and begged for cover. The police chief's daughter was sitting on the couch, wrapped in a quilt. She opened it up to me and said, "Come on In". What a warm welcome. Judy has a gas stove and a fireplace, so it was very cozy there. In fact, she was serving nachos and chocolate milk!! I only stayed a couple of hours, being nervous about the alpacas. Like I could do anything, but I had to keep checking on them in the barn.
Part of a tree fell on my store and broke the rafters and struts. Fortunately DH was able to repair it from inside. He would have been blown away if he'd gotten on the roof. The circumfrence of the branch that fell was the size of a regular tree.
With the power out to the barn, we had no way to heat the water buckets. With the temperature dropping, that was extremely important. Alpacas eat and drink more when it is cold than when it is hot. They are using that food for internal combustion, and the water helps.
By the next Sunday, the temp was in the teens, the wind was blowing at 85mph, and the snow had joined the party. I had three and four foot drifts in the lane to the barn. I often thought about Ma and Pa in the books I read about settling the west. They had to run a rope from the cabin door to the barn so Pa could find his way back. Well, believe me, if I hadn't had a fence to follow, I would have had the same problem.
By now the water in the buckets was frozen solid. I turned the water to the barn off every night, covering the faucet with insulation to keep it from freezing. Monday Morning I could not get the water to run. One of my clients alpacas was dying from a case of pnuemonia caused by choke, and I was beside myself.
To be continued.


  1. YIKES....I would have been super-scared and not held myself together as well as you apparently did.

  2. AS I sit in rapt attention, waiting for chapter 4!!!!!!!