Saturday, July 05, 2014

Roads Closed

As we drove home from New Hartford on Route 8 we had no idea what we were driving into.  At Leonardsville, half way home to the farm, we were diverted away from a fallen tree.  We turned around and started toward West Winfield and saw several large trees fallen on Route 20.  Turning onto the road to Unadilla Forks where I thought I could avoid route 8 it got worse.  We were driving over downed lines on the road, into ditches and around/under giant trees. The scale of the storm started to dawn on us.  What treacherous wind and rain had we missed driving in had we not lingered at Lowe's to look at freezers?  We headed west on route 20 and tried heading toward Brookfield on Blivens Road.  Several miles in a woman headed the other way in a Blazer waved us down with an arm covered in tattoos.  She said don't go that way it's no good.  You can't get to Brookfield on Beaver Creek Road.    We told her route 8 was closed and she uttered a very colorful expletive and zoomed off.  I was beginning to feel the same way.  We turned around and went back to 20.  I thought maybe we should go down to Hamilton but heard from another driver that Larkin Road was blocked too.  No good.  I decided to try Beaver Creek Road which goes straight into Brookfield from 20.  Maybe it was open.  No good.  Terrible devastation, trees everywhere.  Back to 20 then down 12 to North Brookfield.   Many trees down and wires everywhere, but something amazing was going on.  The little village fire department was out in force, along with farmers on tractors, cutting up the trees and hauling them off the road.  Mia said this was worse than what she experienced with Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey, and that she was inspired to see how the people here were mobilized to clear the roads.  While we stopped and waited I saw hail on the ground.  It looked like broken glass until I saw how much there was, going down the road.  An older (than me) couple stood still and stared on the side of the road, across from their farm where the tops of silos were ripped off and the metal roof panels curled up on their barn.  I asked him, Was it a tornado?  He said it must have been and "I have never been so scared in my life!"  I believed him.   We struck up a conversation with two women who were waiting to drive into Brookfield.  One of them said where do you live?  I told her I had a sheep farm on Academy Road.  She said OH! Your husband pulled me out of my car when I had a wreck in front of your farm!"   Small world.  That's a story for another chapter, and a good one.  Let's just say it had to do with a little dog named Izzy, who ran across the road and caused this nice lady to swerve and end up sideways in a culvert.   Mia and I talked about how, if we had to, we could sleep in the Subaru as we had books and coffee but we didn't have to.  A tunnel was cleared through the mass of downed trees and we started on our way.  I looked across the valley off Ouloutte Road in North Brookfield to see a swath of trees with the tops snapped off going up the mountain.  It surely looked like a tornado to me.  Back to the farm to find it largely unscathed.  Mia and I did chores and settled down to watch the season finale of Nurse Jackie together when the power died.  After our ordeal of many hours travelling home we decided to retreat to Hannah's Celebrity Trailer and go to bed.  Friday morning dawned cool and cloudy.  Mia walked the dogs to the pond while I made her eggs and put together a care package of honey, eggs, veggie pepper for her boyfriend who loves to cook,  and sewed a button on an old Bundaflicka bag for her to take to the Caribbean.  She was flying out the next morning and wanted to go home and pack.  I hated to see her leave.  We never got to float on the pond, or sit by a campfire, but we shared quite an adventure together.   It had been a year since she came to the farm and she interrupted her vacation to drive four hours to spend a day with her mother and help out any way she could.   I miss her so much.  She's on her way to a week of beach, yoga and books - a well deserved rest from her busy life working long hours at the urgent care center and extra shifts at the hospital.  I'm so happy for her.  Yesterday I found two large trees on the front edge of my lower field toppled in and leaning on the telephone line.  They have to be dealt with but I don't know how.  With spouse still crippled with this rotten foot that won't heal, I'll add it to the list of a million things that need to be done on this farm.  With many people in Brookfield still without power, going on day 3, I'm relieved I don't have worse to deal with.

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