On October 29th, Hurricane Sandy stormed through our neighborhood. And while we took a couple hits, we count ourselves among the lucky ones.
But our yard will never look the same...
Front Yard: Before and After
The large Elm tree to the right fell on our house. Twice!
It was around 5PM Monday afternoon, the wind was howling and the trees in the back yard were bending way more than I had ever seen. The power was back on again (after going off and on several times throughout the day). I was in the den on the computer checking the weather when I heard a muffled thud from the living room. With both kids home from school, I figured that was to be expected. Then one yelled out "DAD!" ...at which point, I naturally assumed one of them had been injured. When I reached the living room, I was relieved to see both kids were fine, but concerned that the view out the front window had changed to all green!
The huge tree limb (shown in orange in the first photo) came crashing down on the corner of our roof. It broke open 4 rows of shingles in the lower right corner and punctured a hole near the top ridge. Later in the evening, the two higher branches (shown in violet) would come down as well, with at least one of them landing on the roof to make a few more holes.
But lets go back to the first round of damage...
Front Yard: First Round
Here's what we saw after the first limb of the Elm had come down. We were fortunate in that some of the weight of this heavy limb was being supported by a branch that was drilled deep into the ground. Using a pole saw, I was able to cut two smaller branches which allowed the limb to roll gently off the house. Besides the missing soffit and gutter, it was now apparent that we had a hole in the roof too.
In the second photo, I am quickly repairing the hole to keep the water out of our living room... while being very mindful of the gusting winds and listening for cracking sounds!
Front Yard: Second Round
It was now around 7PM, darker, with even stronger winds howling outside. We had just finished dinner and I had gone upstairs to watch some news. Where the previous sound was a thud, this time there was a loud house-rocking crash. I again heard "DAD!!" and, from the sound of it, I knew this one was not going to be pretty.
In the first picture above, you can see what we all saw. One of the higher limbs on the Elm tree had came down on our roof, hitting in at least 2 places, and then rolling off in front of the window. While we couldn't see what had happened outside, from what we saw in our living room, it was clear this was a powerful blow. The force snapped (at least) three of the 2x8 rafters in the ceiling! Soon afterward, water started trickling in so we quickly pulled away the sheet rock and arranged to better catch all the water in a bucket (protecting the hardwood floor).
Just as we finished getting the buckets set up, the power went out again... and stayed out the rest of the week.
Front Yard: Aftermath
In the first photo, near as I can tell, those logs sticking up in front of the window are from the second hit. You can also see some of the roof damage incurred by our house (circled in green). I had some old roof shingles in the basement so the next day, my oldest son and I went up there to affect temporary repairs. Later, my neighbor stopped by and we put a tarp over all of it just to be sure no more water comes through (supposedly, we're going to get a Nor'easter storm this week with plenty of rain... oh joy).
The kids and I cleaned up most of the branches the following day, although we left the big limb in the second photo to the tree professionals who will also remove what's left of the Elm tree.
Bee Hive: Close Call
Take a look at these 2 photos and tell me how those large branches from the Silver Maple tree did not fall on anything! The bee hive, satellite dish, bench, woodshed, garden fence, swing set... all escaped damage. We were very fortunate!
The bees may have been rattled a bit by the storm, but they apparently took it in stride as they were outside mulling around the next morning. I placed those 2 logs atop the hive to keep the lid on during the windstorm.
Goodbye Pear, hello Peach tree!
This is the last photo you'll see of the flowering pear tree. The wind blew it so far over that there was no way to save it. At least the split-rail fence was spared from damage.
And then on Friday, as if by plan, our new Dwarf Fingerlakes S.H. Peach tree arrived from Miller Nurseries! Catarina and I decided to plant it here by the stump seat... imagine, someday in the future, sitting on that stump eating a fresh peach!
The Pond: Business as Usual
And what of the pond? ..and the fish?!
Well, this is how the pond always looks at this time of year, with some leaves and small pine branches on the leaf net. And as for the fish, I doubt they were concerned with the storm at all!