And the road goes on forever...

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Horrific Wind Storm


The morning dawned with just a touch of lake fog scooting across the water, creating a momentary and mesmerizing shimmer of pink. I had never caught the lake exactly like that before. 

As it neared bedtime, I had read about and seen a severe weather alert for Wausau but nothing for Price County. I fell asleep only to be awoken around midnight by thunder and lightning moving in. Then it got much closer and louder with a little rain starting and the winds starting to pick up. Our weather mostly seems to arrive across the lake from the north. This places our RV broadside to arriving weather with a band of trees providing somewhat of a shelter. Winds have always been a fear here due to how many old and rotted trees we have on the property which are thin and very tall. I’ve shown you video recently before. 

It wasn’t long before it felt as though the trailer was literally dancing, the rain was coming down in torrents lashing against the windows so hard I felt as though a fire hose had let lose. Then, for what seemed like half an hour (but was probably a shorter time period) the winds became in the category of “banshee”. The big, bad wolf was definitely huffing and puffing to blow this house down as I started fearing for my life! I started crying and tried calling Marc (in Waupaca) but of course, he was sleeping and didn’t answer. I must have wanted to say goodbye; I can’t really think of why I called him at that point. The trailer rocked, the winds so ferocious I thought all the windows would blow right out as I ran from the bedroom to hide under our flimsy RV table. The storm was so severe at this point I couldn’t make it into the garage. The power went out. 

During bursts of lightning, which lasted for a good two hours, I could see trees coming down and was hoping like mad my last sound wouldn’t be one crashing through my tin can, destroying me and the RV.

Finally, with a last whimper of distant thunder and sheet lightning, the storm moved off farther east and south. I gratefully fell asleep but was awakened not long after by the sound of chain saws buzzing in the distance. 

So, of course, I was up at dawn to start surveying the damage and to call Marc. I finally reached him around 5:30 a.m. where I relayed what had gone on and as I stepped outside to take pictures to send him, it was just jaw-dropping how many trees were down. By this time, the chain saws and equipment sounds were much closer so I figured the crews were out on our boat landing road, which our driveway leads off from. They told me there was quite a bit of wind damage throughout town; power out to thousands; a roof blown off a restaurant, but no one had been hurt.


All in all, I am still in shock that we managed to escape with no real damage to any structure or the Suburu. I had it parked under the RV shelter, but that is open on the sides and I know sticks and branches were flying yet it seems to have remained unscathed with no scratches or dents. My imagining a wild ride in the RV was indeed, true—apparently, the wind lifted the rear of the RV off the jacks and knocked those metal jacks stands out from under it. Our screen tent looked done in, but quickly gained its shape back once the pooled water on the roof was removed. One of the trees Marc had it tied to was bent and loosened, so that will have to come down.

A conservative estimate is that we likely have around 50 trees down and there are a handful more that are now leaning precariously and will need to also be brought down. Our work is cut out for us for next two weeks Marc figures. A sad part of the aftermath is that the behavior of many of the birds here is off. The loons are nesting this time of year and overall quieter than usual but they forlornly started calling out all day. I am fearful, since their nest is on the small river which empties from our lake, that either their eggs or their small chicks may have blown out of the nest and been lost. We also have a dove here which has done nothing but call and call as if it can’t find its mate. 

A quick trip into town for gas caught more of the devastation along our road. These pines were just one after one, totally uprooted. Today will be another day of making piles and also we’ll start our first bonfire burn to start getting rid of as much as possible. One thing totally noticeable is how losing the trees opened up our views of the lake. It has changed the character of the property, but maybe not for worse. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

The Summer That Isn’t


Although some parts of the country may be suffering from high heat it certainly hasn’t reached Wisconsin as yet! In fact, we continue to rage like early Spring, with daily high winds and off and on rain also almost daily. The constantly cloudy skies are getting downright gloomy! Despite it being mid-June, I still am wearing long pants and long sleeve sweatshirts.

 Late May and June have been months of turmoil here in the Northwoods. Dodging bad weather and not feeling too good, Marc has made repeated attempts to gain ground on the two most looming projects here—the new stairway and finishing the siding on the boathouse—to no avail.

It took awhile for him to figure out all the mathematical angles and trajectory of the stairway given the distance it drops down the hillside. First, he built a small retaining railing for the stairs to drop from. Then he had to remove the two-bolted together railway ties (heavy) from each of the old steps and drag them and all the rebar holding them together up to flat ground. Then he had to shovel out the dirt to make it smooth before he could start fabricating the stringers which would hold the new stair steps. Given that he is working on a steep side hill he found he literally had to tie himself off to keep from sliding down as he worked. By the end of a few hours of work his ankles and knees were screaming in pain.

As day by day passed, he felt worse and worse in terms of body aches. We managed to obtain a buyer for our Hideout RV and on one Saturday he delivered it to the buyers in Tomahawk, around 45 miles from here. After delivery, he kept going to head for home in Waupaca to fix our lawnmower, which had broken down the last time I was trying to mow a few days earlier. While there he broke out in terrible night sweats and bad headaches with extreme fatigue. I urged him into urgent care on that Monday and the doctor highly suspected Lyme’s disease so put him on a high powered antibiotic. Bloodwork definitely showed he is fighting some type of infection although the specific Lyme’s test proved negative. I guess this can be common even though one has the infection. He continued to suffer for much of that week before physically being capable of the three hour drive back to Phillips. He still hasn’t felt like attempting any physical work so things remain at a standstill. 

That’s the latest update from the far North as I’m about to take off for my turn again in Waupaca. I hope by the next update we’ve made progression on these tasks and that the weather finally decides to give us some summer, when the living’s supposed to be easy. Yeah, right!

(wild Columbine)
(wild Trillium)

Thursday, May 16, 2024

We're Camping!


Just a few notes here as there’s nothing too exciting or productive going on as yet.

One of my first and ongoing tasks is to try and pick up the downed wood and branches that always occur over winter, so I’m building our burn pile. It really is amazing just how much comes down over a winter’s course so I find myself working on it a few hours at a time.

We did get the repairs finalized in the Hideout and towed it down to a storage facility on the main highway to put a For Sale on it; kudos to the kind owner who is letting us park it there. Activity has been slow but as they say, it only takes one and the weather hasn’t been terribly conducive as yet. It’s been kind of coolish. Overall, I think the consensus is that RV sales are down. 

I was pleased some of Fall’s planting of bulbs paid off and daffodils have sprung up. I also got a few other favorites into pots (dahlias, petunias and a cherry tomato). Trees are just now starting to bud out so some of our direct sunshine will fade as they leaf out and provide us with summer shade. 

We got up our fancier and larger screen tent and are really enjoying both the protection and the view from its roomy interior. Even the cats approve! Marc often works out there on his tablet while I read novels. The only downside is lowering the flaps when it’s due to rain.

Not having any success at gaining any labor help for the intended stairway, Marc purchased some lumber yesterday and is in the process of working on a design. He came across an old aluminum handicap ramp he saw in town and is trying to contact the owner to see if she wants to sell it as he was told it’s no longer being used. That could be incorporated much as one would see a ramp at a marina. Regardless of how it all comes together, this is going to be a slow, arduous process as Marc’s back isn’t getting any better and his torn should rotator cuff limits use of his left arm. 

I will actually be gone quite a bit in June as I have Waupaca appointments nearly every week and any trip home takes at least 2-3 days by the time I do all the chores, including the laundry, getting our drinking water from the artesian spring, and all the yard care. I am also due to help with the shelter rummage sale on its opening day and again with a pizza sale on June 29th. I had previously cut material for about four baskets and I brought that with me so on the list of things to accomplish in the next couple months is to get the rope wrapped and then sewn, as they are intended for the next shelter auction in August. 

It seems to be a little less hectic here this trip or I’m slowing down and just not as rambunctious to get things accomplished. Marc bought some fishing tackle and we’re hopeful to soon get out in both boats and do some of that. In addition to the pontoon, he has a 14-foot aluminum boat which is actually probably easier to fish from.

So, that’s the way our summer is shaping up! I’ll post as there’s progress of any note….Meanwhile, it’s rainy today so inside endeavors.