The storm that moved through the area, leaving us without power for three days or so, did most of its damage in the first few seconds.

Here it crushed the Dog Hall of Fame, my tool shed. Daughter Unit named it that when we bought it from a young Amish man 15 years ago. She drew pictures of famous dogs, including her own, to festoon the interior walls.

I bought it because the basement of our house gets too damp at certain times of the year to safely store my tools. Planes, saws, axes and so forth would get covered in thin films of rust. The Dog Hall of Fame has done the job of storing my tools and repair manuals high and dry since I first put them in there.

Now with the roof smashed, the walls damaged and the whole unit knocked out of square, plum and level (cockeyed, in other words) it has been severely injured if not totaled.

Marty Ox’s shed was hit on one end and knocked out of whack as well.

I’m considering rebuilding it elsewhere. The trees that did the damage are across the property line, so there is not much I can do about them.

Those white pine weren’t so big 20 or 30 years ago.

There was also some incidental wind damage to the garden shed, which was named the Penance Shed by our former mailman, Mr. Bull. Some glass is broken on the barn and such, but I will have to wait on repairing that until my tools are safe again.

Those few seconds knocked over several trees that I have been cleaning up. Some of them are already split and waiting to be stacked, and others I am still working on.

Fortunately, the hardwoods that were knocked over did no damage to buildings, and very little damage to fences, so they are windfall in the best sense of the word.

And I have a good start on my weight-lifting regimen. Some of the chunks were so big I had to get Boy Unit and the Mechanical Ox, my little tractor with loader, to help me lift them.

Luckily we had plenty of water in the stock tanks to keep all the animals watered. We also had enough water in the pressure tank for limited use in the house.

Because it wasn’t cold, we didn’t even need a fire in the wood stove during the outage. We cooked outside in the smoker, burning cherry, and had some really good meals. We wrapped fish and vegetables in foil in the smoker and that came out great.

The deep freeze was close enough to being empty that we could clean it out by finishing off the contents during the power outage.

We even had internet access for Boy Unit. We hooked the router and computer up to the little generator for brief periods so he could do his work and contact friends during the day.

The only growing problem as the outage went on was that a few of the goat kids figured they could get over the electric fence without a shock.

Most of the goats were content to stay where they belonged. But you know these kids today, always testing the limits.

I think we got power back just in time to prevent a major breakout. That would have been another storm entirely that would have taken only seconds to take its toll.

I’m glad we avoided that.

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Forrest Hartley lives in Hadley, where the power is back on again. You can leave him a message at new_americangothic@yahoo.com.


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