Uncle Cran Rejoins the 21st Century
Let me open Uncle Cran's report with the photo above, showing that the ice storm -- which came in two separate icy blasts -- included a bit of snow atop the ice. Uncle Cran tells us:
This is the lovely scene that greeted our eyes on Tuesday morning. I didn't get a picture of the 40-50 birds . . . blue jays, snow birds, woodpeckers, starlings, and a few others . . . that I fed with dog feed for about two weeks, until the ice melted. Yes, the birds did just fine on dog feed. We didn't have any bird seeds to give them.Note the broken trees in that photo above . . . and this is just the beginning of a horrific tale of Uncle Cran's struggle against nature's formidable odds in "The Great Ice Storm of 2009!" But before we enter fully into Uncle Cran's world, let us wholeheartedly agree with Cousin Bill's sentiments:
Good to see your written words again! And welcome back to the world. Send pictures. Let me be specific -- make those ice pictures. We don't need any of you soaking in a wash tub or dressed in red long johns [and] screw soled work boots [while] clutching a circa 1940 Sear's catalogue in preparation for a midnight run to the outhouse. Trust Aunt Gay will edit all you send.I especially second Cousin Bill's sentiments concerning the outhouse run and thank Aunt Gay for her prudent editing. Now, let's see the rest of those written words and the remaining photographic images, starting with Uncle Cran's summary of his ordeal:
After the biggest ice storm in recent history, we are surviving, and doing ok. Grover Borden, a local resident about 95 years old, said he has never seen anything like this in his lifetime. Since there were no previous stories current in our area from our parents or grandparents, it likely would be back in the 1800's to find anything comparable.I would have expected Uncle Cran to provide some wild stories about the terrible ice storms of his youth, so this humility is unexpected. But I suppose that the reticence simply enhances this story of his current ordeal, a story that we now learn about in horrific detail:
We were stranded from Monday until Saturday after the storm, before we could get out of our yard and go to get groceries. When it became obvious that we were going to be one of the last ones to get electrical service restored, and likely not before March 1, I bought a 5000 watt generator. So for two weeks we huddled by the wood stove at night with candles and two old coal oil lamps. Luckily we had several flashlights after lights out at night.Note how subtly Uncle Cran claims to have gone without sleep for two weeks! Burning candles and coal-oil lamps . . . and shining flashlights? Sounds like games of scarey shadows on the wall!
The generator is a a real help. We run it three times a day to keep our freezer and refrigerator usable, and have a wood stove in the basement, where we do our cooking, plus we have a bedroom in the basement where we sleep.Oh, he now admits to sleeping!
When I grew up, we didn't have electrical service until I was 10 years old, and the only running water was twice a day we ran down to the spring a thousand feet away, with a bucket in each hand.I interrupt Uncle Cran's addition to his "Legends of Uncle Cran" to point out that this is an addition to his "Legends of Uncle Cran" -- especially the point about being a grown-up at 10 years old! The precisely measured distance to the spring is also a nice detail, very authentic sounding. Anyway, back to his legend-making:
Now I run to Bakersfield and get city water in two large new plastic containers, and 6 gallon jugs. We buy bottled water to drink.He's now claiming to run to Bakersfield for water! With his new titanium hip! On ice! As we see:
The ice was about 2 inches thick, and a total of almost three inches of precipitation. It was too dangerous to get on it, so I took an old worn pair of work boots, and ran screws through the outside edges of the soles and heels, and I could walk anywhere without slipping, so I could tend to the cows.And run to Bakersfield...
I told Gay, This is just like the Good Old Days! . . . sure will be glad when it's over!Right, because you can then safely brag about it. But before this grows too mythological, let's see the rest of those images . . . with Uncle Cran's sometimes cryptic commentary:
That, for instance, was a rather cryptic comment from Uncle Cran. But let's not remain mired overly long in hermeneutical musings on what Uncle Cran meant by "the morning after the night before." More photos await our critical, if meandering eyes:
Great guns! Just like hunting season!
Do limbs ever fall in any direction other than straight down? I'm just asking...
Uncle Cran's helpful enrichment of our orienteering information -- to fill in the details that Google Earth lacks a perspective on as we gaze down upon Uncle Cran from above . . . as we've been doing for a couple of weeks now. I saw you, Uncle Cran, on your run to Bakersfield!
Have you reported on that experience for our blog, Uncle Cran? Note that I say "our blog" . . . now that you're back.
His winter wonderland vanished, the ever-precise Uncle Cran gets back to work. But all kidding aside, Uncle Cran, we're glad to hear from you again and see that you did, in fact, survive the ordeal. We look forward to hearing more about this experience over the next several years as the story grows and becomes even more fascinating.