After the Storm

The snow was very wet snow. It accumulated on the branches of our trees. Soon, the weight was more than they could bear. One after another, branches gave way. Some broke off completely, Others simply fractured and dropped until either the snow fell off or they hit something that could help support the load. Our tall pine trees in back lost about a dozen branches. Some of them probably weighed close to half a ton. I could not move them at all. The acacia in front of the house had two of its’ main trunk sections snap and droop unto the stairs from the main road to our house. One section fell in front of our front porch and managed to block access and exit in two separate directions. We were fortunate that none of them actually fell on the house. But leaves and pine needles did. They accumulated at the entrance to the drains from our flat roof. Before long we had two large pools of water on the two opposite sides of the roof. Another branch landed on the fence between us and our neighbors. The fence bent, but did not break. The many other heavy branches all managed to avoid taking down nearby telephone and power lines.

The next morning, Friday, I was out with a saw and managed to cut a path through the snow and branches to reach our front gate. The calm after the storm meant we could enjoy the white carpet of snow that now covered most of our yard. We may not have enjoyed it much, but our two dogs certainly did. The Sabbath was fast approaching, and being observant Jews, there would be no way I could work to clear away anything else until after sundown on Saturday. We welcomed in the Sabbath with a nice warm meal, played a couple of games of scrabble, and went to bed. In the morning, the entire house was dark. The snow had turned to rain, and then stopped altogether. But the melted snow found a crack somewhere in the roof and began to trickle downward. The path it took went into our electrical connection box. The main house fuse tripped and left us with no power. We spent the whole day without electric lights and without heat. After sunset we called our local electrician and he was able to restore power. He also rigged a plastic sheet to direct the leaking water away from the connection box and into a pail we placed just outside the front door. I emptied the pail about once every 3 hours.

Sunday morning we called our gardener and he came with a team of 5 men equipped with a power saw to clear our yard. It took the a good 4 hours to cut up the branches and haul them up to the main road. Another neighbor who is also a builder is coming tomorrow to see what can be done to fix the leak from the roof. The mass of leaves and pine needles that blocked the main drains was already cleared. But that bucket kept filling up with the stream of melted snow and rain that had already penetrated into the structure. Over the course of the day the stream slowed to a drip and drip became progressively slower. By tomorrow, we hope it will have stopped completely.

Meanwhile, in the house, in order not to overload the part of our flow of electricity that has been temporarily restored, we don’t use more than two devices that have heating elements at the same time. Heating elements draw much more current, and could easily cause another overload. Using our electric oven is taboo. But the top burners are gas and the microwave is also functional. I restored power to the internet connection this morning. We will still need to replace our emergency night light. When the power dropped it automatically came on, but the batteries did not last long. When I tried to recharge it, the circuit blew. But all in all, we came through the experience without too much discomfort. As I write this, almost all the snow has melted from the combined effects of the warm sun and the earlier rain. It’s been a long time, so I need to go dump that bucket again.

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