Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Irene Adventures

Irene came through our area of Maine on Sunday. The sky was ominously dark, the air was heavy, and rain was falling when we awoke early Sunday morning. Severe winds picked up over the course of the day.

We ran the air conditioners to combat the 100% humidity and 70% dew point. The garden is visible from our living room windows and I watched the plants bending back and fourth from the wind's assault. By mid-afternoon, one SFG trellis holding several tomato plants was leaning precariously forward. K went out in the wind and the rain and secured it.

Soon our view outside was blurred as torrential rain fell. It looked like someone was throwing buckets of water at our windows. Lights flickered, but the electricity remained on for the majority of the day. We did lose our internet service early in the afternoon rendering all of our wi-fi items useless. We were able to catch up with the news using our smart phones.

We lost our power around 4 pm just as we were discussing what to have for dinner. It was too rainy and windy to grill anything outside, so I made a quick venture into the refrigerator to extract some leftover homemade pizza from Friday night, a veggie and cheese platter prepared earlier, and a bottle of wine. We ate cold pizza, snacked on veggies and cheese, and drank wine as the sunlight faded and the winds continued to roar.

The rain slowly tapered off and we opened the windows and enjoyed the cooler temperatures. The sky lightened just before the sun began to set. The winds continued to blow.  I lit a few candles and set an oil lamp on the dining room table.

K retreated upstairs to finagle a battery powered tv and antenna in order to watch a game. I settled myself on the couch with a glass of wine and read a book on my ipod for most of the evening.

It was peaceful listening to only the sounds of nature outside carried with the wind. Each sound was magnified with the absence of the normal household noise. There were the usual nighttime sounds of crickets and various toads and frogs. Then there were the unexpected sounds of deer and even fox. These were heard even above the noise of our neighbors' generators. I have seen many deer in my yard, but I have never seen a fox. Until tonight, I didn't even realize they were around.

We went to bed and woke the following morning to find we still didn't have power. The sounds of generators and chainsaws reverberated through our neighborhood. Several trees had fallen across our road and our neighbors said there were more fallen trees on the main road.  I alerted work that I wouldn't be in. I communicated with coworkers with my smartphone via email by painfully typing on a teeny-tiny keyboard.

It was a beautiful day after the storm. We cooked a large breakfast on the gas grill. The side burner came in handy to heat a teakettle for instant coffee and tea. A cast iron skillet was used to cook up some Dark Red Norland Potatoes and Red Onions and to make a delicious pepper and cheese omelet. Lunch was grilled chicken sandwiches with slices of onion, tomato, and lettuce. Accompanied by sliced fresh cucumber.

Irene's rainfall and winds were much less than predicted, but still left behind some damage. Luckily, our property didn't have any major harm other than a few small branches. The garden faired much better than I expected. The tomato cages were leaning slightly, pushed by the winds. But only a few tomatoes were knocked from the vines.

Our power came back almost 24-hours after we lost it. We celebrated by washing dishes that had accumulated, taking a shower, and cleaning out the refrigerator. Thankfully, freezer items stayed frozen.

Still, we eagerly awaited our internet service to return. I kept up with email, news, and blogs using google reader with my smart phone, but I can't seem to figure out how to comment on posts.

I went back to work on Tuesday. Some of my coworkers still didn't have electricity. K called me during the day to let me know that internet service had returned at home.

Luckily for us, all is well after Irene and life has returned to normal.


  1. What a wild time! At least you ate well ;-) I'm happy you are safe, and that the garden didn't suffer much damage.

  2. I'm glad all was well.
    You know, I love refrigeration and all that, but I also like the way people pour out into our streets when the power's off. Makes me a little wistful. I wish we could get out every day like that.

  3. Glad you got through it okay. You seemed to have escaped most of the damage. I wouldn't want to live like that all the time, but once in awhile, it's nice to enjoy the "peacefulness" that comes with no power.

  4. Glad everything worked out for you. It could have been much worse.

  5. Granny: We are thankful that Irene wasn't bad for us. Yes, we ate very well.

    Stefaneener: After the storm, it was nice that all the neighbors were checking in with each other to see if anyone needed anything (food, water, etc).

    Sue: I looked at the situation as an adventure. K was absolutely miserable. He couldn't relax for one minute.

    Kris: Thanks. Yes, it was much worse for a lot of people.

  6. Sounds like you were going with the flow and did quite well. My husband is alot like your K and generally is agitated and fussy until the power returns - but he keeps himself busy with emergency radio and lighting needs and otherwise messing with lower tech versions of his usual electronic arsenal. :D

  7. The day after Irene went through Maine, I checked the CMP website (from Pennsylvania) and saw that almost all the roads in my neighborhood were in the power outage list. As I taught my classes and met with students all day, I made mental lists of how I could take care of various kinds of problems (downed trees, broken windows) from a distance. I was amazed to speak with my next door neighbors and learn that our little dirt road was an oasis of calm in a neighborhood of downed trees and wires and blocked roads. They had only lost power for about 2 hours, and had found no damage at my house. I'm glad that you, too, got away relatively easily. -Jean

  8. Laura: K does the same thing. He's always playing around with various lighting and using his battery powered gadgets. He just can't relax until the power is restored.

  9. Jean: It was so strange, some people had a lot of damage and some didn't have anything. Your little Maine neighborhood was really lucky. There are still people in the surrounding towns that are waiting for their power to be restored.

    I am so glad that your Maine home didn't have any damage from the storm.

  10. GM, happy to hear all is well and that you escaped much damage. Lovely prose of the events of your evening and morning. Hope your weekend will be an enjoyable and safe one.