*Just A Little Ice*
By: TrainedMonkey
28 December 2006

[NOTE: photos are 'morning after' shots]

The Damage

The trees took a beating

The forecast for that Friday evening told me to expect 'some' freezing rain starting midday and continuing into the evening. Before leaving for work (about a half-hour drive), I made sure my boots and gloves were in the Jeep.

The drive in was uneventful, as was the morning. Around noon, the sky clouded over and the rain started. My wife, much to my chagrin, had taken the truck to a funeral in the afternoon. She got back, safely, around 4:30 and told me the roads were terrible. Trees and hydro poles were down all over the region and the salt trucks and plows were desperately playing catch-up.

We left work and headed over to the Home Depot around the corner. We grabbed a few extra extension cords, a few bags of salt, an extra sump pump (first winter in the new house), and a pair of 5gal jerry cans. Leaving there, it quickly became apparent just how bad the roads were. We stopped in at the gas station across the road, filled the cans, and topped up the Jeep.

Put the truck in 4-high and we're off to the races. We make it most of the way home with neither velocity nor excitement. About a hundred yards from my house, however, there's some drama. Two cars and a BIG pickup are pulled onto the shoulder, and a mid-size tree is blocking the road. We stop, I get out , survey the situation, and decide that I really don't want to turn around and backtrack 10 miles when I can see the driveway. I walk to the back of the Jeep, grab the tow strap, and walk back to the tree. As I'm wrapping it around the top third of the tree, a woman says "I don't think you're allowed to do that!". I let her know that there was NO WAY I was driving any more than I had to in this weather. Looped the other end of the strap around the hitch, put 'er in 4-low and yanked the tree off the road. Being the good citizen I am, I even went back and lopped off some offending branches to make sure the road was clear enough for all the lowered Honda Civics 'round these parts.

The woman got in her car without so much as word and took off into town. The bubba in the pickup nodded a 'Thanks', maybe just a little sheepish that his brand new $70,000 V-8 Truck had just been shown up by a six-year old glorified station wagon. Back in the truck, into the driveway and....hello... what's that....slid all the way to the end. Fortunately, one of our cedars had blown down and stopped us before we hit the big pine at the end. Too bad that I've never been much of a curler, because the driveway would have been PERFECT!

The end of the driveway

That stump used to be connected to that tree.

Get out of the truck and see we've got no power. Into the garage, and fire up the generator. While it's warming up, I go down to the electrical panel in the basement and flip off the main breaker, along with the water heater and all the 'unnecessary' breakers - it's only a 5kW genny. Back upstairs and plug the generator into the dryer plug. Please don't tell my insurance company!. My wife gets started on dinner on the BBQ while I go outside to lay down some salt and survey the damage. Only the one tree down, a few missing tops, and a whole lot of branches lying on the lawn. Oh, and the side yard is a frozen lake.

Lac St. Monkey

Lac St. Monkey.

Over dinner, we take stock of the situation. We have a full tank of heating oil, 20 gallons of diesel for the generator, and a full tank + 20 gallons of gasoline. Ten gallons of Coleman fuel and two spare propane cylinders for the BBQ. Still have the cable service, and the high-speed internet. We check on the utility's web site, and they're projecting power restoration within 24 hours. We call friends who live near us to see if they need anything, but they're going to stay with their parents in town. Okay - we hunker down for the evening.

24 hours later, the power comes back on during the hockey game. I wait for the intermission and go outside to turn the genny off. All told, things went remarkably well - our first 'test' since joining the Rubicon. A few things still need improvement, however: