This Is The Story Of The Hurricane

The power is back on after three days, which is most welcome, and there are plenty more houses all over the area who still have a while to wait; I drove around some yesterday and it’s a huge mess, with trees hanging off of lines on street after street. I had to drive under several just to get to the pottery. It’s hard to find a bridge or culvert that wasn’t overtopped with rushing water; there’s dirt and gravel across the roads in many places and brown mud four feet high in the bushes in others. Our little taste of the storm’s power was this, which happened at about 7:00 Sunday morning:

That’s the garden, in case you can’t tell. The other half is under water, though all the growing plants’ roots meant that only one bed–the one with carrot seedlings–floated up and got shifted. We’re lucky here because there are steep hills just downstream of us, so the water always has somewhere better to be.

After the rain let up, I climbed up and took off all the small branches with a one-handed tree saw and stacked them. It was not too bad; willow is very soft wood and I like physical projects. The incessant roar of neighbors’ generators was annoying, as was my knowledge that I’d be lucky to get a tepid shower at the end of the day since our heater doesn’t work with no electricity.

Then, with perfect timing, a friend wandered over with his chainsaw because he heard we had a tree down. We took the rest of it apart in no time. Small towns can be great this way. I heard lots of stories of people helping each other out, and none of panicked assholishness (until I turned on the radio, of course).

I straightened up one of the posts and then tacked the wire fence back to it with staples. It’s wrinkled, but will see us through the season. And now I have room to expand into the former footprint of the tree.

On the whole, we got off lightly. Hunter Mountain to the Northwest of us got sixteen inches of rain, and further up the Route 28 corridor in the Catskills got massive, violent flooding with many bridges and houses damaged or gone. So I’m not going to be complaining about this minor inconvenience.

We took advantage of our thawing freezer to invite over a dozen friends and neighbors to eat a leg of lamb with fresh-made pita and pesto, grilled vegetables (much of the garden is fine):

and then grilled duck breast on polenta with homemade smoked salsa.

And, of course, the obligatory platter of tomatoes, which wisely I picked the night before because that bed took it on the chin and our non-paste tomatoes are done for the year.

It was a very nice party, and there was much to be grateful for, not least among which these:

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go take a hot shower and shave because I can.

5 comments to This Is The Story Of The Hurricane

  • Glad you are fine and your garden was not a complete loss. I feel so lucky that we didn’t have damage or even lose power here. So many areas are so devastated :(

  • I think the media goes looking for the assholes at times like this – much more entertaining, so they think, to interview someone sobbing than someone saying, “It could have been worse.” I’m glad you are okay and you can take a hot shower again. Hang in there.

  • Mo

    Well damn, at least you had some amazing food and wine to dine on! Glad the tree clean up was so simple, when our tree fell (across our private road so we were trapped) we had some asshole neighbors, one of them screaming at us to not put any pieces of wood on her creek bed (which is where the top of the tree fell). Granted she is the crazy bitch lady of the road and obviously she wasn’t trapped by the tree like we were.

    Good thinking on the tomatoes! So glad you made it out without too much damage. Some of my friends are still without power and expect to be for a while. :/

  • Thank heavens… you are lucky. I am really worried about meeting my farmers at the market tomorrow… I hear they were hit particularly hard in NY and NJ. Looks like you made lemonade with your lemons!!

  • Peter

    Winnie: You were lucky.

    Zoomie: I have friends who just got their power back a day or two ago.

    Mo: It’s looking better around here, but not normal.

    Deana: I hope you gave them lots of business. We did all right.

Yours Truly



I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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