Sunday, February 6, 2011

Yasi has left the building, thank you and good-night.

Oh, what a night!

We lost our first tree, around 6pm, a ti-tree which broke in half.  That didn't bode well for the night to come when they said the cyclone would cross about 100klms or so north of us around midnight!  We were really thanking our lucky stars by then that we'd made the painful decision to cut down the rain trees!

Around 8.30pm, The Princess and I heard a massive bang outside my bedroom window.  It was dark and howling with wind and rain so we couldn't find out what it was.  The following morning revealed a giant iron bark gum from next door at the fence - it was snapped off at the ground.  The wind was blowing sideways that it pushed through the mesh vents built into the bathroom window and drenched the towels on the towel rack, and reached all across the room to the doorway.  

By 9pm our power went out.  We've been running on generator power until almost lunch time today.  As much as I am grateful for a generator to run the fridge, and we didn't lose any food, I was glad when we finally turned it off and I could hear the sounds of the birds again!

Everyone I speak to has tried to explain what the sound of the cyclone was shortly before its crossing.  We all differ in our wording, but I likened it to the sound of the sound jet engines make, as the plane is just about to take off.  Do you know that sound?  It just roars loudly, but this lasted for hours.  I felt it would never end.  It was that loud it drowned out the sounds of the trees crashing to the ground.  And there were a lot down.

Little Man went to bed at 8.30pm and pretty much slept through until 5.30am.  Poor thing, he is most upset that he 'missed it'.  The Princess got sent to bed close to 10pm and she slept on and off during the night.  I got up at 5.30am to survey our new world.

What a mess trees make when they've been blown here and there.  Not only were there trees completely uprooted, there were branches strewn all over the ground, snapped in half but still attached to the trees, or dangling in amongst other trees.  One of the trees in the chicken yard came down and landed on the power pole post and gate, knocking them partly over.  We fixed that later in the afternoon.  The ladies were very pleased about moving out of their temporary accommodation in the aviary, back to their home.  

There was a gum tree along the side fence that had snapped in half and was hanging over the fence, just missing it.  After I took a photo, it fell within half an hour, taking out the fence.  Another job to do on the spot.  The Groom righted fences, chain-sawed what he could and we made piles of branches where we could.  We didn't get much done, though, because we had to work in between the howling wind and rain.  

The Groom had to head off on Friday for work as now the recovery and restoration begins.  The neighbours will come to lend a hand on Monday, so that is good.  As long as we get the trees and branches into piles, that is okay.  There is way too much for us to take to the tip by ourselves in the ute, so it will have to eventually be burnt.  Unless someone is offering free removal services, but the ground is that sodden even the ride-on mower gets bogged.

The creek came up really close to the creek fence.  I found it funny how the two ti-trees both snapped together; it's like they're twins.  Or brothers-in-arms sort of.  A death pact.

I'm amazed, though, at what did and didn't come down or blow away or whatever.  I had left a shovel standing next to the aviary that was still upright in the morning!  A can of insect repellant on the back patio had barely moved.  I found an empty water bottle in the front paddock in amongst a tangle of branches, but the orchids on the rain tree didn't suffer any damage or loss.  I still can't find one of the dog bowls, though, despite all my attempts at finding it.  I've borrowed an old saucepan I use for food scraps in the chicken yard for the time being.  

In the interim, we've lost water for a day and a bit, mobile phone reception was pretty hit and miss, we lost our landline for a couple of days, but other than that, we fared rather well.  I feel for those who suffered far worse in Tully and Cardwell.  They are such beautiful towns, especially Cardwell.  The Groom said last night that he saw such saddening sights of people wandering around in a daze outside what was left of their homes, many of them elderly.  But, we've done it many times before and no doubt we'll pick ourselves up again and start over somehow.

I'm still trying to decide if it's worth trying to save some trees that have been knocked over a bit.  I'd need machinery to try to stand them but the ground is so wet the truck would get bogged, but if I leave it too long the ground will dry up and it'll be too late.  The last owners planted too many trees that weren't obviously suitable so maybe that'll sway my decision.  

If anyone would like to help in some way, please consider contacting the Red Cross or Salvation Army to find out what they would prefer.  They do a wonderful job in times like these, and they are also focussing on the Victorian floods as well.

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