Sunday, June 01, 2008

Electrical MalFunction

Yesterday, we had a thunderstorm and in the midst of it, our electricity went out… not a big deal, it happens. After a little while it seemed apparent that it wasn’t going to just “blink right back on” as it often does. Jay tried to call the electric company but couldn’t get through because the line was busy. He kept hitting redial and I got the bright idea to drive up to “the top of the hill” to see if it looked like any of our neighbors had their lights on…. As I approached the top, this is what I saw:
Yep, that is a HUGE oak tree, laying across our driveway. Not only that, our pump house (for our well) is somewhere in that mass of leaves.
I could see broken electric lines laying on the ground under the tree and on both sides. No wonder we didn’t have electricity.

I got around the tree by driving on the grass… got out of the van and took a few more pictures.

That tree laying on its side was as large as the one still standing. The base of the trunk is about four feet in diameter.

It’s a miracle that it missed the pump house… by an inch or so. It would have been a REAL drag to have had our well or pump messed up.

There is a huge hole in the ground where the roots used to be. The picture doesn’t really do a good job in showing how big (and deep) it is.

These trees may have been there when the old farmhouse that stands on our property was built in 1903. (no one lives in it now) When we bought the property in 1981 there were three of them. Quite awhile back we cut one down (before it could fall)… this one fell, and now there is only one left.

After I found out what the problem was… and saw those scary electric lines on the ground, I called the electric company again and this time got through. I told them that a BIG tree fell on our lines. Meanwhile Jay had been getting out his chain saw and getting ready to head up the hill to start cutting a path through the branches across the road. I was more than a little nervous about him messing around up there with the electric lines on the ground… so I was relieved when the electric workers showed up after only about 15 minutes, and before Jay even got up there.

The guys said…” wow, that is a BIG tree…” I said, “Yeah, that is what I told your dispatcher…” They said they knew it was “big” but never expected it to be this BIG. They called for more help then made sure the wires were not “hot”… When two more guys got there, they got in the “bucket” on their truck and sawed off the upper parts of the tree branches so that they could reconnect the lines.

After this quick attention from FOUR electrical workers, I felt better about our higher than usual electric bills. I really never expected them to cut any parts of the tree. I only thought they’d disconnect the lines and then say to call them when we got “our tree” out of the way. I guess I failed to understand that the whole neighborhood lost power, thanks to “our tree”, so of course the electric company had to get it back on as soon as possible.

After 3-4 hours we (and all our neighbors) had electricity again and all that remains now is putting away my candle collection… oh yeah… and cutting up and splitting that tree and cleaning up the mess. There is another tree behind Amon’s trailer that lost a huge branch in a storm the day before… about half the tree… but I guess cleaning up that mess will have to wait. At least we’ll have the trailer hitched to the tractor, ready for action… no wait, the tractor will also have to grade the road and repair some of the huge ruts made by the amazing amount of rain in a short while.

One thing is for sure, we will have firewood for a LONG time. We still have a couple cords left from the ice storm clean up this past winter.

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