May 26, 2011
Fully operational again!
We are back up, and ahead of schedule too, thank you Dominion VA Power! There have been non stop power trucks driving by for days, but we are always one of the last to get back online, since our area serves very few customers compared to the rest of Virginia Beach, the area around the air station is relatively unpopulated with homes.
Here are the photos/video I have - I thought I had more video of me trying to get the kids, but apparently I stopped filming in favor of running high speed for Finnegan. The speck in the orange shirt is Finn in the video. Not 3 minutes after I got him, a large tree fell in his friend's front yard where Finn was with his bike in the video. Loch had already ditched his bike and his brother in favor of hightailing it back to the house... not sure how I feel about that??! What you don't see in the video is that I'm being pelted with sheets of gravel, dust and random objects from peoples' recycling cans :)
While not as devastating as what some people are going through in other parts of the country, it was terrifying to me that my kids were down the street and not with me. After getting them set up in the bathroom with the dogs and a few essentials (I want a basement!), I filmed a bit of the yard from the back door. You can hear me breathless, which is part from running against 80 mph winds to get Finn, and part just leftover adrenaline from what I was seeing fly by in the air and not knowing that the storm was coming until it was here.
Afterwards, there was plenty of destruction in the yard, but other homes had it much worse with trees right through houses and live wires down all over the place. Here, the destruction was confined to the yard, thanks to the fact that I garden, and don't plant large trees for fear of blocking the sun!
Below, several fence sections were down, mulch gone and the soil torn up -
Adirondack chairs piled up against the fence, and those aren't light! All 3 of my Colonnade Apple Trees were uprooted -
Tomato Bed damage...
Lots of these were found in the yard...
Along with these... yes, those are Mama Dove's eggs :(
I am happy to report that baby robin is fine! I found she/he huddling under some of the flopped over Amish Paste Tomatoes, mama robin was squawking away so I shooed the baby out so mama could see her.
First I lugged the generator all the way from the shed up to the house. We bought this a couple of years ago on clearance after hurricane season and even if we never use it, it sure gives a lot of piece of mind. We have a well, so no power = no water. The worst it's ever been here was a loss of power about 10 years ago for almost 2 weeks, and water is a precious commodity when you've been sweating all day in 95 degree temps, not to mention the peace of mind of having my freezer and fridge running.
I had to crawl under the house where the well pump is to fetch the plug, yuck! Shimmying through a space 1' x 2' is no fun at all, matter of fact I got semi-stuck in that opening one year when hubby was deployed and I was 5 months pregnant with Loch, LOL!
After the storm, all you could hear was sirens everywhere for about 15 minutes, and then I was completely surprised that I heard about 4 generators come alive along with mine - we used to be the only people that had one around here. We are the only ones on a well though, so I imagine they were using them for refrigeration.
Certain things become painfully obvious when you think of what is pretty important to me...a manual espresso press and bean grinder is obviously on the preparedness shopping list :) I bet I was the only one on my street running my Breville off the generator LOL
Other than securing power for keeping food and water, I was content to do without for everything else, and found it quite peaceful. If you don't have any real hurricane or ship's lanterns yet, do go buy at least one - they give off enough light to actually read or play games by, and it really gives off an feeling that you aren't "doing without". Bonus... the homebrew kegs don't rely on electricity to dispense their hoppy goodness :)
Sure there were bumps along the way, like dealing with the oppressive heat (sit in the shade), having to spend my time picking up garbage and branches instead of gardening, spending way too much on fuel for the generator, spilling gasoline all over my bare foot, hubby working 24/7 throughout it all, having to eat hot dogs for dinner (kids thought that was fantastic), but we did well in spite, and I'm really proud of the kids for not whining too much. Maybe all that reading of Laura Ingalls out loud has made them appreciate things more.
I must admit though, when I saw these guys headed onto our street I was glad it was over!
Glad I had: generator, hurricane lanterns, fuel, candles, grill, water, lawn chair, shady spot to sit, books, patience
Lessons for next time: canning more and freezing less as a way of garden preservation would save lots of $$ on generator fuel since I would only have to turn it on when I needed water, hand powered espresso pump, building an outdoor enclosure to hang our solar shower... (ice cold water out of the well is not as refreshing as it sounds!), these things plus a HAND PUMP tied to the well would get us off the generator completely... except for the meat in the freezer... I guess we could have a big BBQ and sell it to people LOL...
Here's a link to some photos the local news team got of the approaching storm, according to the meteorologist, I'm not the only one who saw what looked like a funnel cloud here, and hubby said they saw it right over the airfield headed towards our street, he called us right away but our cell service was down already.
Now, I have a whole lot of laundry and blog reading to catch up on! More storms predicted this weekend, what is going on with the weather this year? I'm either going to be stripped of a garden, or will have the strongest tomato stems ever this year!