Last weekend turned out to be quite eventful. What we thought would be just like any other normal weekend, turned out to be anything but. They were calling for rain, heavy snowfall, and a lot of wind. On Saturday morning we had light rainfall that eventually turned into heavy snowfall and then came the wind. By late Saturday afternoon, the lights had flickered a few times and we knew it was just a matter of time before the power would go out. Being that we have been here for seven years now, we have been through this exact scenario many times before. I will admit, you do find yourself hoping for the best and keeping your fingers crossed that we wouldn’t be once again without power for days on end.
We had watched several branches come down and we knew that there would be trees soon to follow. The snow that had fallen was extremely wet and combined with the rain, wind, and falling temperatures, we knew we soon find ourselves without power. By 8 pm, after the lights had flickered again, we found ourselves once again in the dark. During the night we had heard several noises outside and we suspected they weren’t all just the sound of the wind. We knew there were several branches falling and perhaps a few trees as well. As I mentioned, we have been through this before and we have a pretty good system now for when the power goes out. We always have extra water on hand and gas for the generator. Being that we have a wood-burning stove, this has become handy for keeping us warm and even cooking. As you know, of course from your own experiences, I’m sure, you never quite know how long you will be without power. In these situations, I find it is best to practice with patients. Being that you are quite powerless, it is just best to go with the flow.
The next morning, we headed outside with our coffees and me with my camera, too. We then found out just how much damage this nor’easter had caused. We didn’t get the number of inches of snow they had called for. There were around four inches or so. We figured we would find a couple of downed trees here and there, but it proved to be far worse. Many of the tree trunks just cracked under the weight of the heavy snow. It had rained several days prior to this storm and this proved to be a recipe for disaster for both the soft and hardwoods.
We knew this maple (Acer) was on its way out soon, so this sort of saved the trouble of taking it down. Luckily, it missed landing on the apple tree.
Eventually, when this downed tree is cut-up, we will have more wood for our growing collection to help keep us warm.
After checking the side of the house closest to the woods, we discovered two eastern pines (Pinus strobus) had come down as well as a few white birches (Betula) that had bent under the weight of the snow.
With nothing else much to do without power, I continued on into the backyard and then into the woods for taking more photographs.
I couldn’t resist spending some time with the birds as well. Here are a few photographs of black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) and a white-breasted nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis).
It was still pretty windy at this time, so we took a quick look at the damage back in the woods. I have to say we were quite shocked at the number of trees that had fallen under the weight of the snow. With no surprise, though, the majority of the downed trees seemed to be the pines. It wasn’t too safe to be walking out in the woods with the trees still swaying in the wind, so I would have to come back out later in the day.
Without power, we also had no internet. It’s just the way things go around here. We then ran down to Farmington with our tablets to find Wi-Fi and get some work done. The amount of damage on the roads was quite overwhelming. On the way down to town, things were not looking good at all and we were thinking we would be without power for a very long time.
After checking the Central Maine Power website, we had discovered the magnitude of the storm and when our power was estimated to come back on. They had predicted that our power would be restored by Wednesday at 11 pm. We could only hope they would arrive sooner, but there would be a lot of work to get the state cleaned-up. Being that it would be dark soon, we got ourselves ready for the coming days by making a big pot of soup on the woodburning stove and filling the oil lamps. We try to run the generator for just the fridge and freezer. This usually means carrying a flashlight wherever you go and a lot of reading by the flame of the oil lamp at night. Since moving here and the number of times the power has gone out, I’m pretty sure I have a good idea of what it must have been like before electricity.
The next day before it got dark once again, I decided to go back outside and see what I could find to photograph around the property.
Fox (Vulpes vulpes) tracks in the snow.
Coyote (Canis latrans) tracks in the snow.
I usually don’t see any evidence of our resident weasel (Mustela) around the house until late winter. I had the pleasure of seeing this interesting little animal from the backdoor and later found its tracks in the snow all around the house. It is usually moving too fast for me to get a photograph. I suppose I will have to keep trying.
With the wind gone and with the sun shining, I spent some more time with my camera out in the woods.
I couldn’t resist taking one more photograph of one of my black-capped chickadee visitors.
As we hoped, the power came back on earlier than predicted. Our power came back on about an hour before midnight on Tuesday night. It went out again for twenty minutes or so and then finally came back on for good. In total, we were without power for three days this time. Even though it isn’t technically winter yet, I predict we are going to be in for quite a rollercoaster ride of weather once again this winter. All part of that New England charm I suppose. On the plus side, I got a chance to finish reading my book and started another, spent some time out in nature, and took a few photographs of the landscape and the birds. A simpler life I suppose, with fewer distractions.
We are still holding onto our hats, though. This week, they are predicting another nor’easter for parts of the mid-Atlantic to New England. The storm is expected to bring significant snowfall totals, possible blizzard conditions, and ice. This time, here in Maine, we are only expecting a few inches of powdery snow and wind. Hopefully, this won’t entail another power outage.
It looks like some of us will be having a white Christmas this year!