Wednesday, September 24, 2008

You know you are in the country…

When you step outside to enjoy a cool afternoon and hear the sound of a tractor in the distance. And that tractor is bailing hay two doors down the street. The machine is making the huge, round bails. Odd to see it running down the acreage, pause, and then expel this huge roll of hay.
Prior to Ike, rather than put boards over their window, a homeowner in Danbury rolled bales of hay up against their home for protection. Due to downed power lines, I was not able to visit the place to see if the home did ok.
My yard is clean !!! The crew worked for two hours yesterday with chainsaw, backhoe and a dump truck. While they were there, the property owner had them remove three nearly dead sycamore trees. I’ve worked with the crew for five years but never had an opportunity to really see them in action. It was as if they had been choreographed ~ they interact, give hand signals, dance around each other. Everything went so smoothly. Even the one near miss when a branch fell close to one guy it appeared to be part of their “routine”. They laughed it off and moved on. I did attempt to assist but only managed to get in their way.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cleaning up after Ike

With exception of some major branches beyond my capabilities, the backyard is cleared of debris. And I learned where fire ants take shelter ~ in the tall grasses near the sycamore trees. Also learned how to really piss them off: find their hiding spot with a lawn mower. They do get aggravated when their mounds are destroyed. Gained a few bites/welts out of that lesson. They gained a feeding of fire ant poison.
Company crew will be working today, Sunday, to continue clean up in Danbury. One resident supplied a complete bbq lunch for them yesterday. The neighbor kept insisting it was no big deal ~ his attitude was the brisket had to be cooked or it would be lost. Needless to say, the crew did not see it that way.
Weather has been cooperative for the clean up and restoring electricity. High temp during day is mid-80’s with low at night of low 70’s. Good mosquito growing weather. The spray trucks have been attempting to get out but no spray planes yet.

Friday, September 19, 2008

After the storm

This morning, I heard a train whistle again. This is the first since last Thursday. Sounds of the country now include the rumbling of construction equipment and chain saws. The fresh air now has the smell of firewood as people burn the trees and branches that are in their yards thanks to the storm. I’ve wandered the streets in Danbury and seen so many trees knocked down but amazingly very few actually landed on a house. There is one small house that had a huge tree in the backyard. The tree split right down the center and fell to each side of the house. Absolutely amazing.
I lost power on Friday night and it was restored on Sunday. There was an article in the Houston Chronicle about the power being returned in the city. Due to the infrastructure, one side of a given street may receive power while the opposite side is still in the dark. The woman that was interviewed said she has a guilty feeling for having electricity while her neighbor does not. I know the feeling. Many of my coworkers still do not have electricity or running water. The crew is working on cleanup projects (Danbury, the local mall) so my shower is available to them after work.
There have been “PODS” {points of distribution} set up in Danbury and Angleton to supply water, ice, and meals. The volume of assistance is overwhelming. It appears that as horrid as Katrina was at least lessons have been learned. Those lessons are costing some hurricane victims some challenges though. FEMA is delaying living assistance a bit longer than it should.

Luckily I can say this must be a short post ~ I have to go to work. Another wonderful thing. The owner of the company {and landlord} has been wonderful. Assisted so much in insuring my home {his house} was operating ok and he is out there hustling work so we can all stay on the payroll.

Photo is sycamore tree in backyard that got "topped". Photo taken at sunset on Sunday.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Moving on

The dirty deed is done ~ literally and figuratively. I’ve moved from the place I called home for seven years. Left behind is the little house with the huge trees and the rumbling of trains. No more train car changes in the middle of the night that shook the house. That noise has been replaced by the occasional distant sound of a train whistle announcing the approach to Danbury, Texas. The sounds of my neighbors ~ a herd of rescued donkeys and a few horses ~ along with the noise of the tractors traveling the roads to the hay and rice fields were distractions as I attempted to stay focused and place things in my new house, trying to make it a home.