BlogThis is an occasional blog, and will be updated as and when something occurs to me. Happy reading. Any opinions expressed here are just that - opinions. They are not intended to represent anything else. There is no intent to offend. Anyway, it's all © Tim Stead.
Every time the Nor’wester blows now, it brings with it a certain uncertainty. We live in a house surrounded by trees, but there are fewer of them than there used to be.
In September we had a great wind, blowing from the North West, the traditional source for such winds. It felled trees all across the country, including some of ours. The wind peaked, on the peaks, at around 251 kph. That’s a little over 150mph for those who prefer non-metric. The wind began in the evening and raged all night. I went out, briefly, and saw the trees thrashing to and fro’, spitting small branches onto the roof of the house, the wind smelling of pine sap from all the breakage.
In the morning it became apparent that damage had been done. The power was off. The house was unscathed but the trees, or some of them, had come to a sticky end. The chief casualties were two stands of gums, one to the east of the house and another just south of west. Some had been torn from the ground, roots and all, looking like the toy trees I had played with as a child, lying on their sides with the base just beyond the vertical. Others seemed to have been plucked cleanly out of their root with an end that had a shape similar to a bread stick.
Two gates were write offs, and three fences broken.
There were pines down, too. A dozen or so near the house and many more at the other end of the property. Pines don’t last once they’re down. Most of them will rot before they can be transformed into firewood.
The road into town was blocked. Just up from us a pine plantation had been felled, and more than a score of trees barred the way. The power lines had been broken in at least four places between us and town.
It was lucky, I suppose, that the wind blew so early in the spring. The poplars and willows were still bare, and so escaped.
Now it is six weeks later, and the clearing up is half done to the east of the house. We have burned several fires of staggering proportions, made up of smaller branches and gum and pine leaves. Gum leaves contain their own accelerant, of course. But when the weather forecast warns of a Nor’wester I look out the window and wonder if any more trees will succumb.
It took a day to clear the road, two to get the power back on. It will be months before the barn is full of firewood, and years before we’ve burned it all.
All the photo's are © Tim Stead 2013 for what it's worth.