It has been an interesting few weeks.. it all started with an earthquake and ended with a hurricane, right here in the Catskills of New York. The earthquake was very very minor, really more entertaining at the time. I had been at a conference I was presenting at about our use of social media in winning the Pepsi Refresh grant but thankfully I had not yet taken the stage. Ironically the presenter who was on stage was talking about life changing events as we felt the shaking and half the room cleared out. All was well after the excitement died down and we all took our time to post our #earthquake posts to Twitter before the conference continued.
Then came Hurricane Irene. The Friday before I kept asking myself what should I really be doing to prepare. We are very used to loosing power and being cut off for days sometimes simply due to where we live. Up a hill on a private dead end road, off a dead end road, off a back town road makes winter travel tough sometimes up here on the mountaintop. Our biggest concern would be water, since if we lost power our well pump would not work, but knowing rain was coming, it would at least fill up our creek and we could water the animals from there if need be. The electric fence was another concern.. as once we lost power, we could only hope that our new horse, only here a week, would still stay in the fence even if not powered. Nothing we could really do though, as our solar charger was on its way and was due to arrive at any time. We don’t own a generator so we made sure we had batteries, groceries, hay, 3 gallons of drinking water and whatever else we could think of. This is New York State we said.. how bad could it be.. Then my husband reminded me of the Hurricane of 1938, the worst storm the states of New England saw since 1869. After now experiencing Hurricane Irene, I wonder if they would still consider the storm of 1938 the most costly in history, or if Irene is now that title holder.
If you are not familiar with the area, it is hard to explain and imagine, but Irene has completely destroyed many of the mountaintop towns. The mountaintop by its very nature is somewhat secluded. There are only a few routes on and off the mountain and our towns and roads are built around lots of streams & creeks. When Irene caused the creeks to rise, we lost literally entire towns. The water has since receded but not before destroying many homes, businesses, roads and bridges. Our grocery store is gone, our feed store is gone, our building supplier is gone… many roads are still closed a week later.
Many bridges and roads are now being or have been rebuilt, people who have been displaced are finding a way to start again and the phrase heard by all effected is “We will be back.” It has been an amazing experience and brings me to tears on so many levels.. the people of this community are so strong, determined and hardworking, even after all they have endured. In just a short amount of time our town has been cleaned up. Businesses are reopening and hopefully the kids will be back to school soon. There is still a lot of work to be done, many are still rebuilding or planning to rebuild, but I am confident to say that we will be here. Life will get back to normal but in the meantime, we all work a little harder and get done what needs to get done.
Lower driveway is now a creek
As for us, we have some minor damage as some of our culverts failed. Our house is only a few years old so we do have good drainage around the actual house. Our property has a creek on one side that at many times is dry. During the storm we had the creek running over the bank, and across our driveway. Now there is stone that needs to be moved back and a culvert to rebuild. Our lower property where our run-in and hay barn is being built also now has a creek running across the driveway. That one is pretty much lost completely as the culvert is completely buried under feet of rock and crushed stone. Nothing we can’t deal with though and as soon as the lumber yard is open again we will be be back to building. For now it has time to dry and hopefully we can use our garden tractor to make some repairs to the driveway.
In better news, we welcomed a beautiful Arabian mare to our farm. Ethereal is a retired Arabian broodmare who has come to live with us as a permanent resident. She is “the horse I always wanted” so I am very excited to have her with us.
In the meantime, fence is going up, we’ve purchased our “new” used horse trailer, and many supplies have been arriving. The storm has been a set-back but there are always other auction dates and always horses in need. We will continue on with our plans as quickly as we can get the supplies we need and soon will be back on schedule. Thanks to everyone who has checked in to see we are doing ok and offered support to the effected mountaintop. To quote to local mantra, “We will be back!”
Ethereal & Kase's first encounter