Thursday, February 20, 2014

Georgia Ice Storm 2014

 We had a nasty Ice Storm here in our GEORGIA GARDENS a week ago!
 This area MAY receive one of these storms about every 10 years, if that. 
We had an Ice storm back in 2004 but it was nothing such as this storm.
Our front woods looked beautiful but the sound of popping transformers and snapping trees was scary. 
 This dead Fern made a beautiful sculpture.
 The fire pit looked like a small skating rink. Maybe the Gnomes enjoyed it when we were not looking.
 But with Beautiful Ice Sculptures, there is danger! The weight of Ice on trees and soggy grounds below, had trees falling all around us. This old Willow Oak just about hit our house. Yikes! It fell after dark and the sound was so scary! We had lost Power to the house and were sitting in the dark keeping warm by the fireplace. We ran outside with flashlights to find this tree had missed the house. But by the sound inside, we just knew it had hit us. Whew, we dodged that bullet. 
The Oak took down a Sweet Gum Tree that was in its pathway. I was so happy about that in this sad saga.
 The Retaining Brick Wall took a bad hit with two trees falling on it. More on that later.
 The tree fell across the driveway, onto the wall and into the yard. Yes, that was one big tree. Just look at the root ball. Once the tree is all cut up, the Saint hopes to stand the root ball back in place. Ha, good luck with that. Stay tuned...
 It is always fun to see neighbors show up for the spectacle after a storm. We met more neighbors in this past week then we have in the 13 years of living here. Ha, Of all 25 houses on our street, we got the worst of the storm. Too bad we do not receive some type of award. Ha. And that is yet another small tree across the driveway as well. We had 5 trees fall in this area.
 We lost a second Willow Oak by the driveway. This one could not have fallen any better for us. It missed the Silver Berry Bushes and only bent two of the fence poles. Poles that have been replaced once by us from a neighbors tree falling on it. Ha. Ironic thing, we had been trying to find perfect weather to remove both of these Oaks and that Sweet Gum Tree for the past year but something kept us from the task. So thank you Mother Nature for getting the job done, even though I do believe we could have done a better job of getting them down with no damage. This root ball took dirt from under the asphalt of our driveway leaving a very dangerous spot. We plan to work on resolving that issue soon!
 Another dangerous tree during an Ice Storm are those beautiful Tall Georgia Pine Trees. This one fell from across the street and onto the power lines. See the other pine debris by our mailbox to the right? Those came from our trees.  
Here are two Pines I believe we shall remove after this storm. They are close enough to the house to fall on it and after this storm, that scares us a bit. Loblolly Pines grow straight up and constantly loose their lower limbs. See how this one has lost more limbs on the left side of the tree then the right? That makes for an unbalanced tree which could fall with the right conditions.   
These trees are referred to as Widow Makers, as they can drop a branch with no notice. See how the one is sticking in the ground as if a spear? Yep, that would hurt if dropped on my head. The Tree House was not damaged during the storm.
The very first thing we did after the storm was over, was to go check on our neighbors Hoof Babies. Harley, Storm and Georgia were all warm under their coats and fine. They spooked with each snap of limbs from above. I can only wonder what goes on with wildlife such as deer, birds in trees, squirrels, etc. during such brutal weather.
 We found our neighbors already in the pasture clearing debris from the fence. The Saint and I jumped into action and helped them. Of course my Saint just had to be the one to get into the bucket of the tractor with a chainsaw in hand.
 We worried about our young Leyland Cypress and Green Giants as they were bent into strange positions. The Saint tried to knock off the ice with no luck of course. All the Leyland and Green Giants stood back up once the ice was off their branches. They are tough trees. 
 And beautiful when coated with ice.
 This tree did not snap in half like we knew it would. It did not stand back upright and will have to come down as soon as we can get to it. This one will be tricky as it is hanging over the Suet Feeder and a Leyland.
 I was worried about the Cedar Tree that my dad gave me as a mere sapling a few years ago.
 I am happy to report, it is once again standing tall.
 We lost power for 60 hours! But after the ice storm back in 2004, the Saint installed a Propane Gas Heater into the sunroom. So between the heater and the Fireplace, we had heat the entire time in those two rooms. We used a portable grill for cooking on the front porch and a propane Heater/Cooker for heat in the bathroom and for heating water for coffee, etc. We had plenty of left overs to eat and we had an old fashioned phone, you know the kind with cords that do not require electricity. Ha, And we also kept in touch with the outside world via a transistor radio! Great grandparents old Oil Lamp came in handy as well. So we just had a big camp-out in the Sunroom and Living room during the power outage! We are survivors...  
On Valentines Day, these guys became our hero's by giving us back Electricity! This group of hard workers were from Decatur, Alabama. Georgia Power had called in trucks from many states around us. We were so thankful for the quick recovery time as this was one huge mess in our area.
 Once the streets were clear of debris and we had the okay get out in our vehicles, The Saint and I went for my Valentines Day gift! Good Boots to keep my healing ankle stable and some good work gloves. I was thrilled with my goodies and plan to get much use from them. Let the Clean Up begin!
 The Garden Shed got Speared by pine limbs. My little Trellis was moved a bit but I think I can stable the trellis.
  The Shed is now sporting a nice brown tarp until we can get it repaired. I kind of like the brown and may see if we can get the roof replaced with brown tin instead of yellow. It was my idea to hold the tarp in place with bricks. Ha...
 Crepe Myrtles were not looking too good with Ice bending them over.
 But they all stood right back up once the ice was gone.
 I thought the Japanese Maples would be fine but this one took a beating. Sigh...
 It was hard pruned by Mother Nature.
 3 major branches were broken off. Hopefully, it will make a come back. Only time will tell.
 Yep, that was a tall Oak. We started the clean up as soon as we could and prioritized. Clearing the driveway first, the wall second, then branches, etc.
 What a mess and a lot of hard work. But the lawn is getting back to normal. Well, soggy and a few new ruts from our boots but hopefully in time, the ground will lay back into place.
 The Wood Shed was running low of firewood so now we will have some wonderful Oak Firewood to burn come next winter.
 We have worked really hard to get up what debris we can. Our county is going to go through every road and pick up all debris put on the County Right of Way. This will be a One Time Sweep through for free.
 So trailer by trailer we have gotten many branches up on the roadway ready for pick up! We have a bit more to add to the pile and shall add it until the crews arrive on our street. So needless to say, this clean up has not been at our normal slow pace. Our body's are scratched, bruised and sore beyond anything we have experienced before but like I said before, we are Survivors... The County says it will more then likely take them 6 weeks to get up all the debris on the roads. Yes, it is one big mess...
 Now to the Retaining Brick Wall.
 It took a hard hit. Bricks were crumbled in several spots, this one being the worst.
 Mortar and Bricks are cracked, thus and unstable wall which has now become a bit dangerous.

 The Force of the Oak coming down was unbelievable. This branch is embedded so deep into the ground, that we cannot get it out ourselves! We shall get assistance with this one. 
And believe it or not, we had an 4.4 Earthquake on February 15!!! As the Saint Says, "If it aint one thing, its two" Needless to say, we will be calling our Insurance Company about the GEORGIA ICE STORM, 2014, In the Garden... 

**NOTE, Today, one week later, the temperature was 80 degrees! Ha, I would so rather be spending my time in the garden...
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden


  1. Damn, that's a massive tree! I'm just glad it didn't fall on someone's head.

    Greetings from London.

  2. Well for goodness sakes. What a mess. I am glad to hear that you are safe and your house didn't get major damage. You are lucky to have a fireplace and some gas heat to suffice during an emergency. Nothing like a winter camp out. You will be in shape for summer gardening. :)

    1. Getting in shape for sure Lisa! But one big mess to deal with for many days to come. Sigh.... But we will get over this one....

  3. Oh my gosh! Great story and photos. I am so glad the tree miss your house and that you didn't have more damages than you did. Your trees and debris reminded me of Hurricanes Frances, Jeanne and Wilma. We cleared our driveway first too, and were very pooped at the end of each day with clean up. Wilma was the worst and we were without power for 13 days.

    What a difference in your weather from that terrible ice storm to 80 temps. Hopefully you'll get to play in your gardens soon. You've done a great job with clean up.


    1. Locals are referring this storm to one of the hurricanes that came through here before our days in GA. So I can see how you can see that comparison! A few still remain without power with the smaller Power Companies. Luckily, we are with GA Power and they have the manpower... I do hope to get into the gardens soon but the ground is so saturated with water that I fear it may be some time before I can do major projects I have in mind....

  4. That was quite a storm. It's fantastic you can see the good in the bad and so nice of your neighbors to come together. Nothing like a storm to bring out the neighbors. You guys worked really hard! Good job!

    1. We can take our time getting the trunks cut and the logs split. A neighbor has offered the use of his splitter so that will save us some money. More to spend on lost plants! LOL...

  5. Yikes, Skeeter! I'm relieved to hear that you're okay and that your neighbors came together to help. Your photos remind me of the ice storm of 1998 in Maine, my first winter in Maine. Beautiful but deadly. We're due for ice and rain tomorrow. I can't believe you got an earthquake on top of all that! In fairness you deserve an early spring.

    1. Yes, we are hoping for Spring and soon although, do not wish for much rain for a bit as the yard is a soggy mess right now. Am sure with all the moisture the past few months, I have lost some beloved garden beauties.. But they can be replaced. Ice storms are so dangerous.... I would gladly take snow any day...

  6. What a mess! Ice storms are the worst! I'm glad you were able to find some positives in all of this, Skeeter--nothing hit your house, and some trees came down that you didn't want anyway. Still, what a lot of work for you! I hope that the surviving trees and plants didn't suffer too much, and that everything can be repaired in time. I've lived through some ice storms, and believe me, I'd much rather have a snow blizzard. A couple of those times we were without power for a week. You don't realize how much you depend on electricity until you lose it!

    1. I am always looking for the positive in any bad situation Rose! LOL, I am even teaching this to the Saint after all these years! I will take snow over ice any day. As the snow is usually gone once it hits our warm ground. Ice does not need to hang around to do damage so Ice Storms stink.... Hey, we saved some money during our power outage. :-)

  7. That was some storm. Glad you guys are ok. Good that the neighbors helped.

    1. Thanks Lola, it was scary to hear all those limbs and trees snapping and falling. And power transformers to boot with their loud pops! One scary time but all over and we will get back to normal one day...

  8. I am SO glad we missed all that ice, and the earthquake. I hope your garden will recover with a nice flush of spring growth.

  9. Oh my that's a storm to match all storms. You are indeed survivors. We missed the big traffic jam storm in Atlanta by one day on our way to Cedar key in Florida but managed to catch on ice storm on the way home in Kentucky and southern Illinois.

  10. oh what damage mother nature can do, sorry for all the garden problems you had, perhaps all the cold will reduce the bug population in the coming seasons.