We had quite a week!! It went out with a bang with the very surreal experience of a wicked storm that blazed through our property within three minutes’ time and obliterated huge trees and our beautiful old barn.
It was our second night of thunderstorms. Our Upper Peninsula is a dramatic old gal! She doesn’t do things small. From storms to forests to our lake, we just have them all bigger and fiercer than the average state. Where we used to live, we loved a good storm. Here, we brace ourselves and hang on. But this time, lulled into complacency (or just plain exhaustion), we just didn’t take the warning from the weatherman that seriously. He did say, and I remember noting it as unusual, that there were big storms coming and there could even be a tornado. A tornado.
You have to understand. We are far too wilderness-y for tornado sirens. Our weather forecasts have to predict for the entire U.P. so we kinda take it all with a grain of salt. And since it was the second night of storms, we didn’t even run water as per usual. Aaaand we had some in the bathtub from the storms the night before. We did, however decide to shuffle the vehicles to safety in case of hail. One went in the barn, one went in the garage, and one got moved over into a different space than usual. The plow truck remained next to the barn. We were beyond exhausted from guests, a broken refrigerator (all of our food in coolers) getting some of our children moved into their apartment, and other situations I won’t explain now, but let’s just say that’s all we had in us before we collapsed into bed that night up in our third floor Rapunzel-esque tower.
Here came the lightning and thunder, and about as soon as it started (about 1:00) the wind got CRAZY. I’ve since heard it was 90-100 mph. It gusted three, huge gusts that soaked our bed with rain before we could get the window shut. The power shut off. There was a weird noise and my sweet man said, “Maybe we shouldn’t be on the third floor!” About that time, the storm faded into the distance. I’m talking a total of THREE minutes of time.
We left our room to go to the third-floor turret where we can get texts out when we have no power and texted all our kids who were all awake due to the noise and strangeness. Two of the three families were fine, but our son was securing himself in the safest part of his home on the mountain-top because his doors and walls were twisting enough to pull the paint off the ceilings and make the whole house groan. Not cool. Lightning was our only light source, and as we peered out over the driveway, we had a strange realization. I’m honestly not sure which of us noticed first that our horizon-line had changed drastically. We waited for the next lightning to confirm that we could no longer see our tall, beautiful barn. We ran downstairs in our scant clothing into the rain with little flashlights and stood like some Kansas folks in a movie, peering into the darkness. Absolute shock. It was just gone.
We had no idea, at that point, the scope of the damage. We have motorcycles and ATV’s and UTV’s and tools and a car (!) in that barn. We have hens in a coop that now has only one wall standing. We have baby chicks brooding up in a tall deer stand built on 2×4’s. Can’t hear our ducks and geese at all. Do we have a garage with my truck left in it? Can’t get to it because the massive Black Spruce trees have fallen across the driveway with the power lines wrapped around them and on the ground! Overwhelmed, we go inside. We check in with Justin. He has massive cottonwood trees that have fallen and to what degree, he’s unsure. A pine rested on one of his trucks. Other than that, he’s okay. He made it to our place between 3:00 and 4:00 AM after using his chainsaw to move half a dozen trees on the roads to get here. Most roads were impassable.
At daybreak, the rest of our sons (and families) all showed up — chainsaws and hugs abound as we surveyed the damage. We made food for everyone on my antique (gas) stove from freezer food and the coolers.
All of our birds are alive. It was the cutest thing to watch my little hens peek their heads out of the absent walls and decide if the sky had indeed, fallen! Miraculously, the foundation walls remain on the barn and every single thing inside is intact! The debris stopped at the tires of my sweet man’s truck without damaging a thing!
The garage and my truck were 100% fine — the trees did no damage. The massive chunks of barn had flown 50 yards into trees, but broke nothing. The chicken coop (it’s a rubbermaid shed!) popped back together and those strong men also put the fence up by mid-morning. Power company came midday and worked for hours, but got us our power. Not one bit of damage to our house. Our plow truck, little boats, and trailer remain under the barn roof and we will know better what happened to them after the insurance assessment. Justin drove his truck out from under the tree and has a couple scuffs and a broken tail-light!!! You can see the path of destruction from our house to his — trees are down, uprooted and over yards and close to houses, but for what it was, our little town had no loss of life and the homes mostly survived.
We made the news! Watch our interview here. <—- (click) Today I was in Walmart and got recognized three times (even with my mask on!!) for being the Lady with the Barn! Hahahahaha!
And Lord, I just want to say publicly that I know I needed some writing topics, but from here on out, they don’t need to be anything like this. It really doesn’t always have to be an adventure. I’m getting too old for this. :o)
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