Sunday, September 19, 2010

If A Tree Falls...

A few posts back, I hinted at our witnessing a summer storm which was worse than the one I had illustrated with a few photos at that time. This is the story of that storm. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon at the cottage, and Frank and I had returned from a couple of hours of fishing for walleye.

I had caught this beauty which Frank measured at just about 22 inches. This photo credit belongs to him. We were considering a second go-round at this lovely lake when the wind suddenly began to pick up. It would seem that some dramatic weather was imminent.

Windblown Benny agreed.

Clouds blew in and trees swayed and bowed down with the force of the wind. Lightning, thunder and heavy rain accompanied this show of Nature's force. I picked up my camera to photograph what I could, when Frank, who was watching the show through the kitchen window was heard to utter "Oh, crap!" just seconds after I heard a relatively subtle cracking sound.

A glance outside that window showed one tree shouldering the upper body of a fallen pine. It wasn't uprooted as you might be able to see by the angle, but snapped in two, about three feet above ground level.

We knew that the other tree wouldn't hold its weight for much longer and just as it dawned on us that it could fall on the cottage, it completed its descent.
We never heard the crash, bang, shatter or thump. All we heard was a slight scratching sound and then nothing.

When we regained consciousness...

No, I'm kidding of course. We were very lucky as we were spared any further damage. The scratching sound we heard was the very tip of the tree gently brushing against the living room window as it landed on the deck just outside. It fell across the steps, precisely between the rails. It couldn't have been directed to a better spot if we'd tried.

Here's a view the tree through the living room window, where it landed on the deck while the storm raged on.

It was a short-lived disturbance and the skies soon cleared. Something needed to be done about the tree as it blocked our access past the front of the house, though we could still get around it by exiting through the back door.

Frank got to work sawing off the top of the tree.

His nephew and friend dragged it off behind the cottage.

This is a view of the trunk at the break.

The deck needed sweeping and the rest of the tree needed to be turned into next year's firewood. The clothesline and hammock which had been attached to it needed a new home on another trunk.

All of that was done eventually but not before photographing the beautiful colours of the lichen which was growing on its bark.

Needless to say, we were very fortunate. Years earlier, I'm told, a similar storm blew through which dropped another, larger tree. It too, missed the cottage by just a smidge. After this summer's storm, I happened to glance up at the photograph of the smiling faces of Frank's late parents. It would seem that they were still looking out for their family and summer home. For this, I'm very grateful.


Grayquill said...

To bad Christmas is a ways off the top of the tree might have been useful:)
Storms are majestic and can certainly be frightful.
I am glad everyone is safe.

Anonymous said...

Wow - what dramatic pictures. You were indeed very very lucky! I'm so glad. And that picture of the wind whipping the dog's fur is amazing!

June said...

It's easy to forget the strength of Nature.
Feel a breeze . . . and never think of what it could do, if it wanted to.
Very lucky indeed with that tree falling as it did!

Anonymous said...

OMG, that looks pretty scary stuff. We have some really bad storms up here and last year witnessed a tree collapsing, fortunately far enough away from the house that we didn't encounter the same as you. Glad you are okay.

CJ xx

Sueann said...

Wow!! Now that is some storm. Glad no damage was done to the cottage! Whew!!
And that is some good looking Walleye there. Yummy!!

Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

That must have been some wind! So happy to hear that the cottage was not damaged and none of you were injured. Phew!

Zuzana said...

It is amazing what a strength a summer storm can have. Here summer storms are unusual, but autumn ones can be very destructive.
I am glad both you and the cottage are safe.
Despite the drama, the pictures here are very enticing.

Brian Miller said...

that was some storm you had there. great pictures...glad everyone was ok...

DJan said...

Hilary, your pictures and text made me feel like I was there, too! It's very fortunate that it didn't hit the house, and it does make me wonder if your parents didn't have something to do with it. (smiles)

She Who Carries Camera said...

thank goodness you weren't out on the lake. you guys were very lucky!

ellen abbott said...

Wow. Nature is so powerful. We've weathered several hurricanes at the city house but we have been fortunate enough to not have had any trees fall on us. Our neighbors have not been so lucky.

ellen abbott said...

Oh, I meant to say what a cool photo of the broken stump. Poor thing.

steviewren said...

Wow, You both are blessed that the tree didn't crash through the ceiling or wreck the deck. I love a good storm, but not when trees start falling around me.

I have a huge oak tree growing in the middle of my deck. Whenever a big storm is brewing I worry about what would happen if that baby fell. Sometimes when the trees are really blowing in the wind, I go down to the basement just in case that is the storm that take the tree down. The tree is healthy so it probably isn't as much of an issue as I imagine.

Cheryl Kohan said...

So glad all is well. I think Frank's cabin must be in a very auspicious location to have survived two such storms!

The pictures are great...I love the lichen on the trunk, too, and that shot of the stump is really beautiful.

Cheryl Kohan said...

P.S. Congrats on catching that beautiful walleye!

CiCi said...

Congratulations on the big catch, the fish looks larger than 22 inches. The timing of the storm was kind to you so you caught the fish and were inside and safe in time to prevent anyone getting hurt. You did have an adventure with the tree falling, didn't you. I like the idea of you looking at the smiling faces of Franks parents.

Susie said...

I'm just wondering how you managed to convice the forest fairies to create a tree-repelling forcefield around that cabin...

Great pictures and I'm glad all ended well.

MaggieGem said...

Thank goodness everyone is OK and there was no damage to the cottage!

Frank Baron said...

Somebody/something was watching over the cottage, all right. That tree had as gentle a landing as possible. Nice recreation of an exciting event, Hil.

(And that walleye was none too shabby....) :)

Lori said...

I am so thankful that no one was hurt and that the damage wasn't as bad as it could have been. Nice catch...did you cook it up and eat it after all the hard work of cleaning up from the storm? :)
I like that his parents were watching over you all. XX

beth said...

that walleye is quit impressive !

as was the storm.....i'm so glad your damage was minimal and that nobody or really anything got hurt.

Maggie May said...

What a scary story but i'm glad the tree only lightly scratched the window. I suppose it could've been a lot worse.
Loved the photos of the bark. Really dramatic.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Brenda Pruitt said...

Ah, now I know what you were referring to a few days ago. Lucky it didn't fall smack on top of that place! That, or they truly were watching out for you.

Unknown said...

Gorgeous pictures! Thank goodness the cabin was spared! Phew!

Wishing you a wonderful week Hilary : )

Dawning Inspiration said...

Oh wow - how scary! So glad God was watching out for you!

Kat said...

Oh wow! How lucky is that? Whew! I think it was his parents, indeed!
I love that shot of the splintered trunk! :)

Anonymous said...

Golly gosh and Wow! How lucky were you someone else mentioned, would have made a perfect Christmas tree. So happy all is well.

Linda said...

Whew, that was some storm. I always hate to lose a tree or even branches. Glad you didn't have any more damage.

Karen said...

Oh, Hilary, I'm glad ya'll or the house wasn't harmed. Wow, the wind did that? It didn't look like lightening. Great pics and great fish. Did ya eat'em?

Rosaria Williams said...

You were lucky, this time. We often forget the strange and awesome power of nature.

SandyCarlson said...

Holy smoke! What a storm. You sure did capture it well in all its horrible, overwhelming might. I am glad you are well--and went home with a fish to fry.

messymimi said...

Isn't it amazing what a storm can do?

I'm glad you were spared any damage to the cottage.

Hilary said...

• Thanks, Grayquill. I was quite happy to watch that storm from the safety of the cottage. I'm glad it remained that way. :)

• LadyFi, thank you kindly. Much appreciated. :)

• June, you're quite right. It's easy to forget that power exists, particularly if you've never really experienced it first hand. And this was just a tiny zephyr compared to serious weather. Thanks for stopping by.

• Crystal Jigsaw, thanks very much. It can be really unnerving to see. Mind you, it happened gently in a way, so it wasn't as shocking as it would have been had it just come straight down. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Thank you, SueAnn. It was delicious! :)

• Bonnie, thanks. We were very lucky, indeed. :)

• Zuzana, thanks kindly. It happened pretty quickly between assessing it to accepting that it was on its way to enduring it and then finally the aftermath.. which was bright sunshine. :)

• Thanks, Brian. Much appreciated. :)

• DJan, thanks kindly. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. :)

• Jillsy, thanks. We knew enough to stay off of the water once we saw it approaching. :)

• Ellen, I think a hurricane would terrify me.. and a tornado.. cyclone.. etc. I felt bad for that tree too. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Steviewren, I think that's very wise on your part to head to the basement when your weather gets rough. It's just better safe than sorry. May you always be safe. :)

• Cheryl, you're right. That cottage is situated in Paradise. ;) Thanks very much for your kind words. :)

• Thank you, TechnoBabe. We were lucky yes, but we wouldn't have made the poor decision to stay on the water or head back out there knowing the weather was on its way. And even getting taken by surprise, we would have been protected from the worst of it.. being no more than about 5 minutes away by boat. I'm glad you enjoyed the post and I'm very appreciative for the kind words you said about me in your blog today. Thank you. :)

• Susie, it took a lot of sweet-talking on Frank's part. He's the Faerie Whisperer. ;)

• Maggie, we're very grateful. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Hilary said...

• Thank you, Frank. I'm glad you think so. And yeah, that walleye was a fun catch.. my biggest to date.. aside from you, of course. ;)

• Lori, I can't remember if we ate it that day or even during that cottage stay. It might still be in Frank's freezer or mine with other catches.. or he might have shared it with his boy, or I with mine. It will not go to waste though. That's for sure! Thanks for your kind comments. :)

• Thank you, Beth. Yes we made sure that all people, dogs and one young adopted raccoon was safely inside. We assume the older raccoons found their own shelter. All were fine. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very much, Maggie May. It could have been a lot worse. It's too bad about the tree.. it was a beauty but that's Nature for you. Thanks so much. :)

• Brenda, now you understand my mini cliffhanger. ;) Thanks for the visit. Much appreciated. :)

• Thanks very much, Becky. And right back at you. :)

• Stacey Dawn, we were very grateful. :)

• Kat, you never know. Thanks very much for the kind words. :)

• Moannie, yes. It was a perfectly shaped top. Ah well, next year it will make for some cozy campfires. Thanks for stopping by with your kind words. :)

• Linda, it was hard to see a beautiful tree go like that but we were so relieved that it didn't take us with it. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Karen, thank you kindly. Yes, that was the wind. The tree was on the shoreline and getting the brunt of the wind. Lightning was happening but it isn't what got this tree. It snapped like a toothpick. And yes, we did eat a lot of walleye and still have some in our respective freezers. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• So true, Lakeviewer. We do feel very grateful. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Sandy, thanks so much. All in all it turned out fine for everyone but that poor tree. And the fish, I suppose. ;)

• Thanks kindly, Messymimi. I'm am quite amazed and impressed with the force of the wind.. out of nowhere. Thanks for the visit. :)

Slamdunk said...

I am glad that it was nothing more than a close call. The power of nature is simply amazing.

Bossy Betty said...

Glad everything came out OK! You have some absolutely fantastic shots here!! I am really taken with the one of the broken tree trunk!

Kappa no He said...

Woah. So glad you guys and the cottage are fine. (Love the name in red on the side of the cabin.)

Pauline said...

that ominous crack! glad you're all okay.

Kerri Farley said...

That was a close call! Glad it all worked out well.

Mental P Mama said...

That is one big fish! And you were very lucky, indeed. Those guardian angels are hard at work;)

Unknown said...

So glad no one was hurt and no serious damage done. I love a good storm but it's nice when it's only that, a storm that doesn't damage.

Suldog said...

Wow. Very dramatic. And nicely captured by you. Glad the tree didn't fall in a worse direction!

Daryl said...

WOW .. and look at you .. thats some neat catch!

Reb said...

Wow, that was close! Great photos and I am glad no one was hurt. And, now you know just how far away to keep the big pines ;) Not to mention a clearer view of the lake.

VM Sehy Photography said...

So glad that no one was hurt. That would have been too much excitement for me. Good job documenting the whole thing. Good thing that the storm was short and someone was looking out for you guys.

Friko said...

Golly, you were lucky, that tree could so easily have fallen in a spot where it could have done real damage.

There are two photos I particularly like, one is the slate grey water of the lake before the storm (with Benny looking disgusted with the weather) and the other is the jaggedy stump.

Leah J. Utas said...

I love storms and their raging power, but that was too close to be enjoyable. Glad everything's okay.

Anonymous said...

Those are awesome photos Hilary...I know that loud "crack" very well, we had a t-storm here in July and one of the trees in the forest behind the cottage was hit by lightening and toppled over, scary stuff! Glad you were all safe.

Unknown said...

wow! those photos are amazing! that looks and sounds like a very frightening storm. glad the tree missed the house!

Russell said...

Whoa....! That was CLOSE! You and Frank are very lucky that tree didn't come crashing right on top of you!

It certainly is a beautiful area, though. Perhaps with that one tree gone -- taken by nature -- it will open up the view a bit.

The cabin and lake are really nice. And that fish ....! My father loved to fish for walleye! That is one fine fish! Good for you!

Indrani said...

That was close.
I am glad you all are safe and there is not much damage.

Shrinky said...

Oh my goodness, yes, a lucky miss, eh? Your photography looks very dramatic, how incredible it blew in and out without warning - the first pic looks to have been taken on a beautiful suumer day! And oh my, what a monster fish you caught!

Dave said...

Wow, you were both fortunate! Glad all worked out well for you Hilary. Good fish catch! - Dave

Sandra said...

Storms are frightening and awesome at the same time, aren't they. I'm glad you didn't have major damage -- and that you can use the tree for firewood!

btw, love the picture pf brave little Benny looking the storm right in the eye -- not cowering under cover like a lesser dog might! :)

Mage said...

Goodness. Unfortunatly this server won't let me see your pictures, so I will have to wait till I get home to see the disaster. I'm just glad that you and yours are ok.

Hilary said...

• Thanks, Slamdunk. It's a force to be respected for sure. :)

• Betty, thanks very much. It was amazing how slick the surface of that broken tree was. I don't know why I expected it to be dry like lumber but it was very moist. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Terrie, thanks. I take it you're kind of familiar with that name? ;)

• Thanks kindly, Pauline. :)

• Kerri, thank you. :)

• MPM, it's so nice when they come through for you, isn't it? Thanks. :)

• Thanks, Jane. I agree. But I still enjoyed the storm, aside from the tree incident. :)

• Thank you, Jim. I am too. :)

• Daryl, thanks. Wanna come by for a fish fry? :)

• Reb the cottage and pines have been living in harmony for 40+ years. This was just a bit of a temper tantrum. ;) Thanks for stopping by. :)

• VM, thanks very much. It was very short-lived but full of fury. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Friko, yes. We were lucky that it happened just the way that it did. Thanks very much for the kind comments. Benny might appear to be disgusted but he was probably calculating the arrival of the next wave so that he could eat it! ;)

• Leah, thanks very much. I love storms too.. even that one. :)

• Rain, I suspect that your lightning strike created a louder crack than what we heard. It was all surprisingly matter of fact considering the outcome. Thanks for the kind words and so good to see you out in the blogosphere once again. Welcome back to public posting. :)

• Life Is Good, thanks very kindly. It was not quite as frightening as it may seem. Really it was coming, happening, over and gone before we knew it. Maybe 10 minutes in total. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Russell, it's good to see you. We were very lucky, indeed. The view was quite lovely with the tree and not incredibly different without it. It was used by hammocks and the clothesline so they've each been placed on other trees and the view is almost the same.. except for one clear patch. :) Thanks for the kind words. Your Dad must have known what he was doing because walleye is one fine eating fish. Yum! Thanks for the visit. :)

• Indrani, thanks very much. All turned out well. :)

• Shrinky, a lucky miss, indeed. It was a beautiful summer day all around.. before and after.. and even during for those of us who love storms. ;) That fish was a record for me, but not even close to some of the real monsters in that lake. It sure was fun though. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very much, Dave. Much appreciated. :)

• Sandra, you're quite right about the fright and awe factor of storms. I quite enjoy them but respect the forces of Nature greatly. Benny was hoping the winds would blow something interesting his way.. like another wave to eat. He's fierce.. and crazy. ;) Thanks for the visit, my friend. :)

• Thank you, Maggie. Everyone was just fine. It's a shame you can't access the images. Hopefully you will be able to see them later. :)

Nick said...

Hilary: I'd be carefully taking Benny out in the boat. Those fish are so large, they may think he's bait.

Anonymous said...

You had me holding my breath! Amazing story and perhaps a miraculous outcome.

The branches gathered
from storms become firewood
for autumn evenings.

Land of shimp said...

Very lovely, and I can easily see what held your attention this summer. How could you ever stop gazing at those lovely views.

I'm glad everyone is all right, and the cottage wasn't much damaged.

By the way, it would appear that Frank's nephew and friend made a swift get away from clown college. I've been sitting here imagining the red-foam-noses on those lads ;-) Those are some truly great fashion choices they are displaying there!

I love it. I want a pair. I also want to try to stuff those boys into a VW Bug, just to see how many would fit, but I'm sure that urge will pass.

Please don't hit me.

Cloudia said...

Glorious adventure and shots!

look at the shattered tree!!

Warm Aloha from Honolulu

Comfort Spiral

Debbie said...

Wow! I'm so happy you all weren't hurt. Someone was watching over you:)

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Hilary: The Walleye is a beaut and the storm was drastic for sure. Neat captures from the cabin.

Kelly H-Y said...

Yow ... that was close! Glad you are all okay, along with the cottage! Great story told with pictures!

Tammie Lee said...

that was one very exciting storm! I am so glad that you did not have damage with it's fall. Nature is an amazing dance.

Hilary said...

• Nick, Benny is such a pest on the boat, we'd be sorely tempted to offer him up as muskie bait. ;)

• KC, beautiful haiku. Thank you for that. :)

• Alane, you get top prize for funniest observation. You never fail to make me smile.. in this case laugh out loud. We Canadians are a colourful, mismatched lot. Now where did I put my squirting flower? ;)

• Thanks, Cloudia.. Aloha! :)

• Debbie, I think you might be right. :)

• Fishing Guy, thanks very much. I kind of thought you'd like that fish. ;)

• Kelly, thank you kindly. Much appreciated. :)

• Tammie Lee, you're so right... amazing and beautiful. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Unknown said...

incredible , Hilary.

I've been waiting to catch up here, because I hate rushing through your photos.