Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Storm

Here is the story why we were out of contact with the world for several days, some of you´ve been wanting to hear:

It started out as a nice, sunny day.

We moved the Whiskies out to start living their outdoor life in the kennel.

The past few days we´ve been experiencing tropical heat of temperatures reaching up to 31°C in the shade and although it was great for all my gardening projects and plans, it´s been tiring, making us unable to work very hard physically. It even chased Jachym and Ake out of the woods, where they were cutting wood for this winter.

So it was one of those hot days. But something wasn´t right. The mosquitos were extra agressive and the sun was pinching a lot. A sign of weather change.

And soon enough, we spoted heavy dark clouds moving fast over the lake. 

We´ve learned from experience of living in the woods that when clouds like this hang over the mighty Vattudalen lake, it can mean anything. It can just pass by, but it can also come and stay right here, above our property. In such cases, we are stuck, because the weather won´t change as the lake holds it above it´s waters and the mountains to the west will not let it leave the valley. That would be the worst scenario and a reason why often, when we get bad weather, it stays for a while.

But these fast moving steel gray clouds did not look good. The thunders, echoing over the lake, got louder and louder and we could see very frequent lightnings. Whatever storm was comming our way, it was going to be a big one.

I am really glad we live our life as self sufficiently as possible and I am happy we´ve learned to take care of ourselves pretty decently, living the rugget outdoor lifestyle so remote and far from civilization, we do. Because what came needed to be treated calmly and wisely.

First the rain came. Since it was large, heavy drops, I knew it was not going to be a nice summer rain.
First I called out Jachym and Misa to come help me pick up all the puppies and Galena, because there was no way these guys are going to stay outside in this kind of storm. It took just couple minutes. We managed to get the last two puppies in, in a heavy rain. Within minutes of the rain pouring in what looked like heavy chains, we heard the drumming of something a lot harder. Hail!

Jachym ran out and I shouted at him to get back in. He said he was going to hide the most fragile flowers and plants. Brave man, he did save them indeed!

As soon as he got in, I told everyone to gather water in canisters and buckets, and started cooking lunch, hoping the electricity won´t go off before we eat something warm.
By this time the thunders roared above our heads and it was pitch black outside, only with the occassional flash of a lightning and as soon as the food was done, the electricity went off. It jumped back on immediately and we saw the lights blinking.

Jachym and I looked at each other and we simultaneously said: "let´s turn the computers off".

And then it happened. Misa and I stood in the kitchen and we saw this cracking light. It was like staring into the sun, or as if a bulb on a lamp explodes, acompanied by a loud explosive sound. Baaaang!
Right by the kitchen table. We jumped into the air. 
But the lights were still on, although they were suspiciously blinking.

My inner sense took over and I told Jachym to immediately turn off the main fuse box for the whole household. All went silent and dark and we lit a candle in the kitchen, were we all stayed with Galena and the puppies.

The lightnings had a parade right above our house and I prayed they won´t decide to come down the tall larch tree by our kitchen window or the huge spruce by the dog lot.
I told Misa about our emergency evacuation plan. If the storm would cause a fire, all the dogs would need to be loaded into the dog truck and trailer and evacuated from here.
We also prepared the fire extinguisher and I gave instructions to not use water in case of fire from the electric cables. We´ve never been in such situation before, but I sure was glad to be prepared, knowing what the system and steps would be.

Things calmed down for some minutes so we decided to eat our meal. But as we set down by the table, the same light, this time looking like a round ball, showed up right by the table and banged even louder than the first time.

"It´s in the phone line!" I shouted. Since there was no signs of fire starting around the phone, Jachym carefully disconnected it from the plug. We immediately smelled the burned plastic. The phone was fried. Jachym checked also the modem and the router, which were switched off, but connected to the phone. Also fried. The lightning found it´s way through our phone line connection to the house and smashed into the phone, destroying everything that was connected to it. Imagine if we were trying to call someone in that time!!!

We were also closely monitoring the kennels and dog yard. Almost all the dogs were in their houses. Only a few were so stressed that they ran in and out, and Comet refused to go inside her house, after the biggest thunder shook the whole property. She was soken wet, her tail between her legs. 
As soon as the storm seemed to be over, Jachym went out and put her in one of the kennels, protected by roof. She still refused to go inside the dog house, but at least wasn´t getting even more wet.

As I predicted, the storm stayed in the valley, forced by the mountains from one side and the lake from the other side. It literally hung over our heads for 2 hours. 

When it was finally over, we went out to check the dogs again and called our neighbours to see if their land lines were also dead. But their lines were fine! It was just our own connection line that got hit!

I´ve experienced some huge thunderstorms in my life and generally am not afraid of them, but this one was the scariest of all!

Hope everyone´s safe, whatever part of the world you live in. Stay safe and happy trails!

P.S. For obvious reasons, there are no photos to acompany this blog post :)

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