|along Beaver Creek|
Last evening produced a thunderstorm of the kind I only see once or twice a year. The lightning was right on top of me, the strikes came fast and furious. All the animals, even the ones who are normally oblivious to storms, were scared, wincing or cowering every time the lightning flashed and again when the thunder rattled the cabin.Fortunately, nothing struck at the cabin itself, though at least two of the strikes were within 100 yards of me, which is too close for my comfort. Storms of one kind of another are a way of life at the cabin, and I more or less have gotten used to them. When you live in the woods and storms come through regularly, you have to learn to live with them. Storms are a lot different and considerably more intense in the woods than when you’re in a city or a town. Trees sway overhead, leaves fall, rain pelts the windows like hail, branches fall onto the roof. I can tell by the sounds outside if the storm is intensifying or diminishing. Sometimes I can’t tell if the sound itself is from rain hitting the leaves or wind tossing the leaves and limbs around. They both sound much the same—loud.
I’m glad I have radar on my phone. I can watch the storm cells march across the mountain and figure out how much longer it will be until the worst of the storm is past me. I find it a lot easier to get through the worst storms when I can calculate that it’s going to be over in 5 or 10 or 15 minutes. Not knowing how long the storm would last, as in those pre-radar-on-the-phone days, was a lot worse.
I have other ways of calculating storm difficulties, too. For rainstorms, my basement is usually dry for the first 3-4 inches. More than that, unless the ground has been dry for a while, I’d better start checking the basement and getting the pumps ready.
Winter storms can be particularly tricky, though lately those have been few and far between. Ice is a big worry, as limbs and trees can crack under that weight, and often electricity goes out too. It’s scary being outside during an ice storm, and those storms can go on for long enough that sooner or later I have to take the dogs out. It’s no fun listening to and seeing trees crack and crash to the ground every few seconds while a dog is sniffing around trying to find the perfect place to pee.
I’ve been through a few honest-to-gosh blizzards at the cabin, though none of those too recently either. With those, worrying about the electricity going out is always in the forefront of my mind. That happens a lot because the electric line comes up the mountain through the forest, traveling for at least a mile before reaching a road. Trees are always falling on that line.
I do what I can to ready myself for such storms. I have water on hand. I have a propane fireplace for heat in the winter. I have pumps and back-up pumps for severe rain. I keep the phone charged so I can watch the radar. And mostly I just wait for the storms to be over.