Friday, December 2, 2011

Utah Canyon Winds Cause mini-Disaster

December came in like a lion as David County, Utah was hit yesterday morning with high speed canyon winds reaching over 100mph in some locations. My neighborhood was hit pretty hard. Trees down everywhere; even swamp coolers blown off roofs. We had a large pine tree come down crushing the fence and even part of the neighbors roof. Ouch! We didn't have power all day and radio commentators predicted 48 hours without electricity for the county. So I was surprised and delighted that they had power restored by 11pm last night.

Funny how disaster sometimes brings us together. It was heart-warming to see so many neighbors helping each other out. Even one pack of high school aged kids roamed the neighborhood as a group aiding any and all who needed it. The clean-up will go on through the weekend, and perhaps longer.

It was also kinda fun to play several rounds of UNO with the kids by candlelight.  I also read to them for an hour, finishing up book four of a series I've been reading to them each night. We were all in bed by 8:30pm, the kids snuggled into sleeping bags to stay warm in our stick-and-brick tent - without power and heat.

Below are some of the pictures from our yard:
This pine's trunk separated in two a few feet up. I should have known the tree was in trouble when I saw mushrooms growing out of the split a couple months back and recalling Julie Zickefoose's posts last May about her fallen oak tree. In this photo you can see that each trunk fell in a different direction. The one in the back is leaning on the neighbors house. The trunk in the foreground crushed the fence, took out one of the neighbors trees and ripped the power line they are still without power.

Being that this home is a rental property, I've not allowed myself to become emotionally attached to the landscaping or the trees in particular. Though I did have plans for this pine, including a Screech-Owl box. It did regularly host a good variety of species that seem to prefer pines, so now my yard is left without a pine. Another large stand of pines in an adjoining property that hosts a lot of birds lost seven of their trees, so more than half. It'll be interested to see how this affects the variety of yard birds. Surprisingly, I didn't come across a single bird nest in all the pine tree debris.
My neighbor ran out and bought a really nice and expensive chainsaw. He and I spent all day clearing the trees from the neighbors property and helping out a couple other neighbors in similar circumstances. It was a lot of work, especially for flabby-fleshed me who has Jell-O for muscles. That Jell-O is sure sore and hard today.
One heck of a brush pile for the birds, right? This chest-high pile of pine tree debris runs the full length of the west side of my yard. I'll salvage all the firewood that I can, leave some for a somewhat smaller brush pile for the birds, and dispose of the rest that the city says they will collect soon. My wife - always one to make lemonade of life's lemons - rescued two garbage bags of pine cones to use for arts and crafts.
Now, I'm not one to pass up an opportunity of enjoying the birds nor of sharing my passion for birds, no matter what the situation is..."Always be birding!" right?! Throughout the day there were plenty of the usual Robins, Scrub-jays, and Black-capped Chickadees. But the special sighing of the day was a mature Bald Eagle soaring low over the neighborhood. It was a happy omen in the middle of some distress. I showed it to the group of high school kids, some of which had never before seen our national symbol in the wild. Awesome!


  1. Wow...carnage! We had the big winds come through San Francisco too, but I think you guys got the worst of it. Glad no one got hurt.

    People LOVE Bald Eagles.

  2. Robert, I heard about the high winds and saw some footage n the national news. I wondered about you and my friend, Kathryn who lives in Mountain Green. Glad to see you all survived and glad you gave that Jello a workout! I hope you are not too sore. congrats to your wife for using the pine cones. She's my kind of gal!

  3. A rápida avaliação que eu faço, é que essa árvore, não foi limpa ao longo do seu crescimento, tem ramos a mais no seu tronco o que a fragiliza. Podia ter durado muitos mais anos. Mais uma árvore que perdemos. A que plantar outra!