Batten down the hatches. Yes batten.
It seems almost impossible to believe, but a week ago we were traveling deep into the interior of Vermont — small town slipped into small town, lakes, old bridges, new roads, country stores, not at all cheap gas in these parts — mostso around the White River region of the state, towns like Bethel and others, that were royally slammed by Hurricane Irene, and one can spot just the roadways that have been completely rebuilt, and others that are still being worked on, for well over a year. And now a hurricane called "Sandy" is heading our way. It was the title of a Hollies song I used to love.
We've been "battening" for a few weeks now, in the usual winter preparation, and maybe sensing something was coming. The wooly caterpillars have been, each one, very brown at the center.
Two weeks ago I had a chance to work with an excavator and backhoe that was operating nearby and down into our land along the river to winch out logs I cut out from many hardwood trees that came down river last year with Irene full length. Rootball and all. This was on the second of two very small wooded islands on our property right on the river. You might remember last year at exactly this time I was cutting up trees on the first island and lugging all the wood home on my shoulder, up a steep stone staircase I had built to the roadside, loading the wood into our truck, and moving it home up on the knoll. Three months labor, like they did it once in Egypt and China. I wouldn't recommend it after the age of 50, or 60.
This time I got a very helping hand from friends with just the machine age at their disposal and expertise, so as I bucked up twenty foot logs, they got it all moved in a matter of hours. First onto the road edge for an overnight yarding, then up to our house the next day where I may get onto the logs in another year. We currently have twenty-four cord of wood in the dooryard and stuffed into the big woodshed, so there is no hurry for wood. Right now for Sandy's approach, I've been moving indoors easy wood to keep dry for about a week, and wouldn't think to touch the better firewood right off the kitchen and into the woodshed. That's for a state of emergency. One battened sealed.
We just did groceries for two weeks, which means I finally took off the big screen on the kitchen window for the season and will tuck that away tomorrow into the cellar. This opens the window to pass all the grocery satchels from me to Sweetheart as I empty out a vehicle and get the food stuff stored. Through the winter we'll pull the groceries to the same window with sled and unload in the same method. It's all greased.
We've also scouted and hunted up for weeks on end of new book acquisitions for the bookshop and will get those available over the snow months. The books came in tonight through the same window.
Leaves raked and composted, but now the oak leaves have to fall, and I believe Sandy will have the capacity to strip those off the trees like natives used to rake blueberries off their bushes in the old days. Let's hope it's just the leaves the hurricane strips and leaves the trees be. We don't need to lose more trees. Still along the Green River, never mind the White River further north, one can survey hundreds and hundreds of potential cords of firewood piled away into the banks of these rivers, twisted into some misbegotten shape, curved with the force of flood waters into some other form and identity called best "haunted", that few know exactly what to do with it all.
I heard two elderly women in the cellar of a library yesterday morning talk this way: "I can see you are stocking up (on books) for the next five or so days." The other woman smiles and nods "Oh yes. But I just hate to lose our power, then there will be no television at night and nothing to do." There is a quiet nodding of the heads. "I have my oil lamps ready on the kitchen table", one finally says, closing down the short but sweet conversation.
We have our many oil lamps, too. And one heavy-duty Makita work flashlight I go nowhere without when the power is down.
Laundry is all washed.
I rebuilt the summer driveway by hand and may watch it all wash away in one day of driving rain. The winter driveway is what it is: shorter, practical and away from the house.
Mail will all be addressed before the storm.
50 gallons of rain water waits outdoors in their buckets. It could be 500 gallons of rain water before the storm has passed if we had enough buckets.
The moon is lighting the night earth nicely.
Last night I watched the Giants back to back shutout the Tigers and the increasing and sinking sadness on the Tiger fans faces.
There are holes in my jeans to mend when all else shuts down and we get that awful long quiet.
I want to think Barack Obama may look pretty handy and of help for the nation during this weather pounding. I could even go further and believe the gods have sent this storm right to us, a week before the Presidential election, to showcase the merits and ample good sense of Mr. Obama. Let's watch what happens.
I have news about our neighborhood and recent troubles but will hold off on that until this weather maker does its stuff. It's the difference between what could be serious trouble, and what has been irritating and despair.
More. And soon. Keep your head down, or up, at least around.
photo : "Sandy" developing