I was just told by all three of my aunts and uncles on my mother's side that I have "the best looking yard on the bayou." This is high praise indeed, let me tell you. But it wasn't that way last night.
Rita has come and gone. Thankfully. And my fears about the curious name of the storm and my own sordid past luckily held very little weight--we got off pretty lucky, compared to some of our neighbors.
We lost power pretty early on, which was expected, and which we had long since prepared for. About four am we were awoken by a loud 'whump' noise which we both assumed was a branch, because there would have been no way to see what was out there anyway. Around six the storm finally got level with us, and from then until almost four that afternoon we sat outside in the garage on folding chairs, watched the storm roll on, watched limbs and birds and leaves go flying, and waited patiently.
We found out pretty early on that the 'whump' noise was my mother's tin porch roof, which the wind peeled off as one piece (12' by 10',) then flipped completely over her house's roof WITHOUT TOUCHING IT and dropped it onto it's top up against one of my pecan trees. When the wind shifted as the storm passed it then blew back up out of the yard and into her driveway, but did no harm.
Surprisingly, the only damage we endured was the loss of two 10' pine tree saplings out in the field, no surprise there, and a horrendous number of still-green pecans, pecan branches, and oak twigs. Four dedicated hours of team cleaning the yard this morning and lawn-mowing the smallest limbs and leaves into mulch rendered us the compliment, but there's still a ways to go.
All in all our friends made it through pretty well--we had power and water and cable back on fairly fast, and were back to normal Saturday afternoon, amasingly, and our local power and water and telephone companies be praised.
The funniest thing during the storm was the hummingbirds. We've had scads and scads of the beasties out here, but their numbers seemed to be dropping off. I thought the season was at an end, and that most of them had already migrated into Mexico. I took down all the feeders and anything else that would blow away Friday evening before the storm got here, and Saturday mid morning I saw a lone hummer fighting the wind, trying to get to where the feeders used to hang. Feeling bad for the little bugger, I filled the glass feeder and went out the patio door to hang it.
Before I had gotten the wire loop over the hook I had four hummingbirds fighting 45 mph wind gusts to eat, quite literally, out of the palm of my hand. Hanging it up brought a good six or seven out of I don't know where, all of them daredevils for that sugar water. They would at times have to face into the wind and fly at full speed to stay alongside the feeder, and many a time I saw one's feathers get blown backwards when the wind caught them wrong, but they stayed the course of the storm and were right there when I filled and re-hung the other two.
It's amasing what junkies will do for their fix.
So all told we got off very light. The biggest branches that fell were wrist-thick, which is astounding in light of the numerous trees that were uprooted entirely, telephone poles that were snapped off, cable and power lines that were torn down from wind and trees falling on them, billboards that were blown to pieces, and halves of trees that succumbed to the wind, all within a ten-minute drive of our neighborhood.
Me, I attribute it to clean living.
* For more information on the pun of the title, please click here for a nice write-up on the painting by Max Ernst entitled "Europe After The Rain," and right over there for a good (if small) view of the last painting in the series.