August 30 “Goodnight Irene, I’ll See You in My (Bad) Dreams…”

The phone has been coming off the hook. The media has the river sweeping away the Bartonville, Vermont covered bridge on a tape loop. The  Disaster Vultures are cruising  up and down our road in their slow moving SUVs diligently looking for death and destruction. Our bottom line was that we took a hit from Hurricane Irene. But not as bad as so many other poor folks.

We prepared for the wind, we feared for damage to the greenhouses. So we moved things to higher ground and buttoned up buildings in preparation. But in fact we got no wind to speak of and relatively no rain. However, 10 miles to the west they were picking up 12 inches of rain. Whatever hits the eastern slopes of the Green Mountains of Vermont ends up in the Connecticut River, and when enough of it got there, it ended up in our lower meadow.

We suffered very little damage to infrastructure. We lost an electrical service panel and four propane furnaces, but the current was not strong enough to worry the greenhouses structurally. The water level engulfed and ruined the remaining greenhouse tomato crop there and ruined 2 acres of fall crops in the field by depositing anywhere from a half to six inches of a light Cream of Wheat-like gooey mud. Our losses were significant, but not crippling.

There were homes lost. There were farmers who lost their crops to inundation for a second time this season. It underscores the point that the fate of the farmer’s success is out of his hands. You have to accept the forces of nature  all the while  optimistically hoping they will work on your behalf, hopefully to your advantage. It also entails accepting them when they do not.

Harry Truman said “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.”   We all know that the forces of nature will eventually turn a heavy hand to us. Its part of the deal.  We just hope that our turn doesn’t come around again for a good long  while.


  Floodwaters  receding 8/29 Monday morning.