Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Blowin' in the wind

You wouldn't think people living in the midwestern United States would be much affected by a major hurricane hitting the gulf coast. But early last Sunday afternoon, Ike came to my state and mixed it up with a cold front moving in from the north. There wasn't much rain, but wind gusts were clocked as high as 75 miles per hour. That's hurricane force, folks.

No lives were lost and we didn't get much rain, but our historic neighborhood with its many mature trees was hit hard. Falling trees destroyed cars, damaged houses, and took out power lines. Since early Sunday evening, chain saws have been buzzing everywhere, but several of our streets are still blocked by huge fallen trees. And in front of every house --and I do mean every house--is an enormous pile of limbs.

Three days after the Big Wind, over one-third of the residents in our major metropolitan area (yes, I'm being coy about where I live) are still without power. The electricity was off at Chez Coulter for more than 24 hours, so we lost a refrigerator full of food. It came back on for a while, but went off again. Last night we got it back, to the envy of many of our neighbors. The power company expects it to be a full week before they have 90% of its customers back online.

Of course I'm grateful that our house and cars weren't squished by falling trees, but my garden was ravaged by the winds. One wood arbor (not the big one by the patio) was ripped out of the ground and smashed. A rose trellis was pulled up, but we might be able to repair that and we should be able to save the rosebush. Large pots of flowers were knocked over by the wind, including a poured-concrete urn that I can't even lift.

My hunk o' burnin' love has already dealt with the fallen tree limbs, but zillions of small branches still need to be picked up. Both fountains are full of leafy litter and need to be emptied. Several rosebushes need to have their broken canes trimmed...and so on. Unfortunately, the bulk of the garden cleanup will have to wait for more than a week.

Later this morning I'm leaving for Minneapolis and the American Christian Fiction Writers conference. I'll be away from my blogging desk until Friday, September 26. The original plan was to schedule blog posts to appear during my absence, but after spending the better part of three days "being Amish" (doing without electricity), I don't have time to organize that now.

If you're attending the conference or if you live in the area and plan to stop by the huge Mall of America booksigning on Saturday, don't look for me at the signing. Yes, I do have a book out this month. But the noise and confusion of a multi-author booksigning is a little too much for a highly distractible person who also suffers from chronic headaches. It's easier for me to just skip it! But I'm not a shy person by any stretch, so please hunt me down at the conference and say hello.


Chad Aaron Sayban said...

Wow, I'm glad to hear everyone is alright. Sorry to hear about the garden, though. I'm sure you will have it back to it's normal state of beauty in no time.

Have fun at the conference!

Anonymous said...

Have fun at the conference. I'm sad about your garden too. The pictures you've posted in the past were so beautiful, but Chad is right, you'll have it up and running soon enough, I'm sure!
Be safe in your travels. I wish I could have gone this year to meet you.

Julana said...

Our lines are underground, so we didn't lose electricity. Almost everyone I know did though.

The pruning of your plants will likely cause vigorous growth.

Enjoy Minneapolis. We were in MN two years ago to visit family. Beautiful state. Nancy, who blogs at Just Thinking, lives there.

Domino said...

I love your garden photos, so I'm sad for your troubled garden. I think you had more property damage than I did - and I'm in the Houston area. Our neighbors had a lot of downed trees. I think we may lose a tree. My honey's trying to save it. My sister had one of her trees end up in her neighbor's pool. But God protected the people! By the way, I hope your family in Texas is safe too.

Damyanti said...

Sorry about the garden, I've always enjoyed looking at the pictures. Thank god you and yours are safe otherwise. Just swung by to check.

Anthony James Barnett - author said...

I understand your feelings. Last October in Jalón, Spain, we had 28 inches of rain in 36 hours.

The normally dry river at the bottom of the lane became a raging torrent, cars were swept down, houses crumbled, and bridges were destroyed.

Nature can be so devastating not just to property but to spirit as well.

CatMom said...

Hello Brenda!
It was great meeting you at the ACFW Conference! At the First-time attendees session last Thursday, I suddenly realized I was sitting next to YOU and I babbled excitedly about reading your blog and even leaving a comment now and then. Being around all you published authors was like being around celebrities for me*grin* (I'm serious!). Blessings, Patti Jo from Georgia

Brenda Coulter said...

Thanks, everyone, for your good wishes. Sorry it has taken me so long to respond. (See my excuses and my take on the ACFW conference in today's post.)

I'm happy to say that all of my family is safe. As for my garden, I'm deeply gratified to know that so many of you have enjoyed the photographs. While I was away at the conference, my hunk o' burnin' love cleaned up most of the mess. There are a lot of little things to do, and we did lose some plants, but the growing season is almost over, anyway.

Patti Jo, it was a pleasure to see you in Minneapolis. I couldn't believe how many people there told me they were reading my blog--but unlike you, most of them don't comment here.

I had no idea I was so scary.