Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cleaning up after Ike

It is a week since the storm (see previous post) and the area is still cleaning up. I was amazed to find what I suspect to be the oldest pine at the Farmersville-Jackson Twp. Joint Park broken off near the top. Already a trimmer has been by and reduced some of the fallen branches to workable loads.

I also suspect that this very tree was standing here when Winter Zero Swartsel still lived (he died 55 years ago). Perhaps he planted it? In any case, it was a stately tree, a bit gnarled with age but grown more lovely with the passing years. Can it live in this shape, effectively topped if not toppled? When I walked this path yesterday, a branch covered the walkway and we had to detour through a nearby shelter.

Below is a picture taken this afternoon on Farmersville-West Carrollton Road, maybe two miles southeast of Pinehaven. This power pole was tilted by the southern wind a week ago and nearby power lines still touch the ground. We saw homeowners standing in their yard hoping for a Dayton Power & Light crew to stop by. Surely this section has had dark nights for the past week.

Yesterday we drove over to my brother's house west of Germantown and helped him rake and pick up limbs in his front yard. They have a 10 acre plot that is mostly wooded (thank goodness!) but Bob has a large lawn in front of (where this picture was taken) and a small one behind his house. By the time I took this picture, much of the work had been done and Bob was beginning to burn the limbs and leaves.

A closer view of the burn pile, in the background works my mother (Mary, 82) and my step-nephew (Michael, 11).

A little closer view shows how dry the leaves are. In fact, Bob wouldn't have had to light the pile. It had already begun to smolder from previous day's burnings.

Mom's taking a rest; and so is Michael.

Pictured below is my brother (Bob, 52), Mom and Michael.

And while Dad can't help with the work any longer, he's happy to supervise. At first he sat on the east side of the house in the shade but decided that a better spot would be near the front porch, shade close enough for comfort if needed and a spot where he could watch the clean-up work underway.

So now, with a week behind us, we've cleaned about as much as we plan to. The limbs are picked up, the leaves raked and burnt and the scattered damage repaired. We lost no more than skylights in the barn. Bob had a tree fall on one of their cars and dent the roof about 6". Who can afford to turn this sort of thing in to our homeowner's insurance? One claim and the premiums rocket. So we stay insured for more major catastrophes and hope we don't see them.

But who would have expected hurricane-related damage in southwestern Ohio?