SEW I SEE!

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Hurricane Sally

I don’t have much progress to report, thanks to a little thing called Hurricane Sally.  

**This turned out to be a long account of the storm, for my own future reference more than anything else.  Skip to the dashed line if you’re only interested in crafty updates.**

At first, it looked like we might get some rain and slightly blustery conditions at most, as the forecast cone took aim at New Orleans.  Then it inched further and further to the east, and we started paying closer attention.  Still, I wasn’t expecting too much.  After all, this wasn’t going to be a wind storm (so far as you can say that of any hurricane).  The main threat was storm surge and localized flooding. 

Our house isn’t near any rivers, and we don’t tend to flood, so I wasn’t too worried.  Still, I made sure to do laundry and keep dishes washed, then filled some containers with water for drinking and filled the tub for flushing the toilet.  (The joys of having your own well!  If the power goes, so does the water, so you need to think about things like that.)  

Donald cleared out one side of the garage so the car could go in and moved the truck as far from trees as possible.  We charged everything up, including our little power bank. Secured a few things in the yard that might go flying in high winds.  And that was about it.  

Our house sits down a little dirt road, and the power lines are close enough to pine trees that it’s come to feel inevitable that something will happen to cut off our power during a hurricane, but I was hoping that the damage to the area would be light enough that it might not take too, too long for power to be restored.  

There was nothing to do but wait it out and hope for the best.  

I slept a little Tuesday night, but stayed up late sitting up in bed, in the dark, watching the storm coverage streaming on my phone (with the phone plugged into the charger the whole time, just in case, and listening through earbuds so Donald could sleep).  Hearing the rain and wind outside… Watching as the storm, which had strengthened to a category 2 and weakened back to a 1 during the previous day, regained strength again.  Back to category 2, and still creeping along at a snail’s pace.  

Eventually I slept, until something woke us in the predawn hours.  (Frodo barking?  The wind?  Not sure.)  The wind sounded different, at that point.  I don’t think it ever sounded as scary as it did during Ivan (the hurricane by which I measure all others and which we weathered here in this house less than a year after it was built).  The sustained winds and gusts weren’t as terrifyingly loud, but there were some gusts that made me jump up and consider hunkering down in the center of the house.  It definitely wasn’t lazy lounging weather! 

We kept power for a long time, but it finally went out at about 4:45.  We just happened to be outside at the time, on our sheltered, west-facing back porch (mostly protected from the wind and rain). We went out with Frodo to try to encourage him to go to the toilet there, since he seemed to need to go but was anxious about the weather.  While we stood there coaxing him, the lights went out, and almost simultaneously, I heard a crash from the direction of our power line. 

Yep, that was it.  The power was out.  

At some point after that, when the wind seemed to have shifted to a less violent level, I dozed for half an hour.  As soon as it was light enough outside, we peered out for our first glimpses of the damage.  

For us, it was nothing compared to Ivan. When we woke after Ivan, a huge swath of tall pines behind our house had broken.  Several more trees had fallen in our yard.  It was such a depressing sight!  This time, we lost some shingles and had a few small wet spots on the ceiling from a minor leak or two.  There was a tree or two down outside the fenced yard, but nothing too bad.  The little dirt road, however, was blocked with numerous trees.  

We share the easement with one other household, and fortunately, he has a tractor and a brother who knows his way around a chainsaw and was kind enough to come and help.  Donald went out to help them clear the road, Wednesday afternoon.  It took hours (3.5 or 4?), but eventually it was passable again.  

…And then there was the long, sticky wait for power to return.  Afraid to open the fridge or freezer, in case the power might come on soon enough to save the contents if you haven’t let out all the cold air in the meantime.  No running water, so simple things like flushing a toilet, washing your hands, or cleaning a dish become so much more complicated. 

Heat.  Humidity.  Uncertainty about how long it might take for the power to come back.  Is this a two-day wait?  Or will it be a week or more?  No way of knowing!  I think I read that the entire county (or almost) was without power, at one point!  Even with some LED lanterns and candles, it’s dim and dull after sunset.  The nights get boring fast.  You don’t sleep as well (and are probably still sleep-deprived from the storm), so you don’t have the energy to do much more than what has to be done.  (The first night, it was actually pleasant weather, at least.  Cooler than it had been– and breezy.  The subsequent nights were stickier.)

We had our devices charged, but I felt like I had to conserve them for emergencies, not knowing when we might have our next chance to recharge them.  (Also, the data connection was soooo slooooow that first afternoon!  It was practically unusable.  Fortunately, it improved in the next day or so.)  

You get a new appreciation for how life must’ve been for people living a handful of generations back.  No hot running water, no electricity, no A/C?  How did they survive?!  How did they not lose the will the live in the daily struggle to do the simplest necessary things?  I guess they were used to it, and their homes and lives were set up for those circumstances (as ours are not) but still… Life was hard.  It would change your outlook.  Maybe make you sterner, but also a lot stronger.  Not so soft and spoiled. (But don’t get me wrong– I’m happy to go back to being spoiled!!)

…Anyway! 

We were able to save some of the food from our freezer by putting it into Grandpa’s freezer, which was being powered by a generator Aunt C. loaned him.  I think four households crammed food in the freezer.  

I was so grateful for that.  It may sound silly– and I know many people had much worse to contend with– but I felt sick about losing expensive meat to the power outage.  We still ended up throwing away a lot of stuff, but that can’t be helped.  It’s been 16 years since Ivan, and that was the last time we lost power long enough that food had to be tossed.  

Saturday morning, we heard some trucks coming down the easement.  It was linesmen!  I didn’t see the logo on their truck, but we think they were some of the workers who came in from out of the area to help restore power.  (Thank goodness for them!) 

You try not to get your hopes up, because they may not be able to get it fixed right away– you just never know– but at the same time, at least it means they haven’t forgotten you exist down that little dirt road. That sounds weird, but you do start to feel very isolated and cut off, or at least I did.  

While we listened to the chainsaw working away at the tree on our lines, there was a loud boom in the distance.  We still don’t know what that was, but the power at my parents’ and Grandpa’s houses (both within walking distance) went back out at about the same time.  (Their power had returned sometime the day before.)  Our power came on sometime between 12 and 1, and Grandpa’s and my parents’ was also restored by the end of the day.  We’re keeping our fingers crossed that it stays on, now!

Lots of pine trees snapped off around Mom and Dad’s house, and at Grandpa’s there are downed pines and a large oak that narrowly missed hitting his garage.  Three large sawtooth oaks at Grandpa’s pond have also fallen, and we found a big pine blocking the path on the way there.  Many of those trees were completely uprooted– the tell-tale sign of a very wet hurricane, where soaking rain is followed by high wind in a one-two punch.  It’s always sad to see a huge tree fallen that way… 

But things could’ve been much worse, and our conditions are steadily improving.  Nothing like losing electricity for three and a half days to remind you not to take for granted the comforts of a warm shower, fresh laundry, and air conditioning– not to mention all your devices and entertainment sources that require power!  I’m still not completely finished setting everything to rights in the house (never mind outside, yet), but I think I’ve finally gotten rid of that mystery “kitchen stink” that accompanies a prolonged power outage. 

– – – – – – –

There’s not much to share on the crafting front, this time.  I finished quilting the “Hunter’s String Star” quilt, trimmed it, and prepared the binding, but I have yet to apply that binding.  

There was a little crumb-quilting playtime, last week (or… whenever that was…), but it hasn’t really amounted to anything yet.  Just crumbs sewn together into slightly larger chunks. I’m not even sure what the goal is, but it’s not too early to give it some thought.  I like to have a rough target in mind for how big these crumb blocks should be.

I finished the latest doily, but haven’t weaved in the tails or blocked it, yet.  

With the ball of thread left over from that doily, I finished one mini doily and started another.  I thought that would be a good project for waiting out the days without power, but I didn’t make much progress. 


Here’s the only other thing I’ve “crafted” over the past few days– a DIY hand-powered fan. 😂 

It doesn’t look like much, but it got the job done.  All it took was four sheets of cardboard (from cereal boxes), a paint stirring paddle/stick (used), and a little duct tape. The only other things you’ll need are a pair of scissors and the ability to ignore how ugly it is.  C’est magnifique! 🎨😘😜

Welcome!

I’m Michael (a female Michael, to remove any doubt).  I live on the Alabama Gulf Coast with my husband, Donald, and our crazy American Eskimo Dogs. 

I love to fill my spare time with various crafts and other hobbies, and this blog is where I share photos, record my progress, and ramble endlessly.

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