Friday, July 15, 2011

A Lost Week

Returning from vacation is never fun but I am glad to report that no one came back with Lyme Disease this year! Yay!
I did try to lift a cooler while standing on the opposite side of the boat while twisting ... um ... NOT a good idea as my back instantly hurt in a bad way. I'm not sure what I was thinking. Actually ... it's clear I wasn't thinking.

It is starting to feel better for which I am thankful. All in all, it was a good time away with family.

So you may have noticed (maybe?) that I've been away for a tad longer than what a normal vacation should merit? Well, we returned Saturday at 2(yawn)am in the morning, had a friendly gathering to attend later in the day and with the next day being Sunday I was really counting on Monday being my shake and move day of getting back into the groove and things put away.

Not God's plan.

5am Monday morning: I awoke to loud thunder and lightening ... I looked outside trying to make out what was on the deck in the driving rain, determining between lightening strikes that it wasn't hail, but actually pulverized leaves! And that train-like wooshing sound of wind was accompanied by tornado sirens. With my back a bit tender still, I ran upstairs and told Jeff he needed to get up and get the kids to the basement NOW!, meanwhile scooping up Nolan (ouch to the back) and heading down the stairs. I'm not one to normally TELL Jeff what to do in that matter-of-fact bossy tone of directive-ness but judging by the bend of the trees (totally sideways) and odd sounds outside of stuff hitting the house it was time to get going. No time for gently waking him from his sleep.
This is the first sight upon opening the garage door when the storm had passed. 
Leaves pulverized on every side of our house and sticks everywhere!

It was not a tornado, however since there were leaves on ALL sides of our house and we only have trees directly on the west side I'm thinking there was some circular motion happening. The storm took down 4  trees in our tree-line next to our house and scattered debris in the form of leaves, branches, sticks, pulverized leaves so thick on our one+ acre lawn the boys and I literally had to rake the entire lawn (I kid you not) over the course of 5 hours! (The photos just do not do it justice at all. This is our lane.)
And let me add that it is HOT here in Iowa right now, like 90-some degrees plus humidity ... there was NO phone and NO electricity which not only meant no TV (torture for Easton poor boy--no escape from the chore of picking up the yard) but also no water (we have our own well and septic since we live in the country.) And since we had been gone we didn't even have a pitcher of filtered water in the fridge.
This is a really bad shot of our tree-line, but it shows some of the trees blown over.
I gave the boys rootbeer pop to their hearts desire, which usually would be their dream, however they really just wanted a good glass of water! We did end up driving to town and buying some bottled stuff later in the day.

While raking I came across a tiny baby bird who had been blown from his nest. Orphaned, it was huddled in the grass slowly dying in the hot sun. I hate to admit that I had actually raked over it, but I did not see it until it squawked! He seemed fine ... but was hungry and alone and way tinier than the little one photo-ed (I could not bare to actually take his photo.) I was stunned and flustered--I didn't know what to do. I stood there staring at it ... Angry because it just seemed so unfair that the little bird wouldn't get to learn to fly or even grow in all its feathers--knowing if I touched it the mama would reject it.  But I also knew that in the hot sun it was sure to die. I was also a bit miffed that the boys didn't seem so much compassionate as they did curious wanting to poke him with sticks! So alone (since the boys thought I was silly) I said a few words for him in a little prayer asking for God to look over him because I just didn't know what I could do that would really help. I went about my raking trying to just let "nature" do its thing mulling over why my kids didn't ooze with the compassion that I was sure I had as a child--and that's when I was determined to SHOW them compassion, even in the light of a somewhat impossible situation. I returned determined to give the little bird at least a little chance and hopefully make an impact on my own little ones. I found part of a bird nest (maybe it was his former home?) Carefully picked him up with my gloved hands and some leaves (I've never held a wild baby bird before, it was tremendous feeling that little tiny life squawking in my palm!) And carefully I put him in the nest ... his mouth wide open looking for food ... me unable to provide anything but shade and some temporary safety for him and maybe a slim chance. I put the nest up in a tree and prayed for the best for him ... later I saw the mama bird I think squawking loudly to the baby ... but then later in the afternoon I saw that the nest had fallen from the tree and there was no sign of the baby bird anywhere. I am hopeful that somehow ... someway ... he is okay ...
I tried really hard to save it ... and I know that God doesn't even let one little sparrow fall to the earth without knowing it. And since I could not find the little guy anywhere on the ground or in the tree I am going to believe that he is in good hands--or wings. There have been many conversations since then from the boys on where the bird is and how it was pretty cool to try to get him back to his mama. The consensus is that the mama bird picked him up and flew him back to a new nest ... and I'm not gonna question that

We are very grateful that there was no damage to the house or to any of us! The neighboring town of Vinton, a beautiful, lush older town known for it's old arching trees over the streets, lost 75% of their trees! The fairgrounds were hit hard, homes, businesses, and The Braille and Site-Saving School (Yes. the same one Mary Ingalls--Laura Ingalls Wilder's sister from Little House on the Prairie books/TV series-- attended!) all are without roofs... due to the tremendous straight-line winds. But again, I don't think there were any people injured ... which considering how many tree branches and metal building parts were flying around is such a blessing! It could have been MUCH worse.

Anyway, it's been pretty much a Lost Week. We continue to saw down trees and haul branches... in fact as soon as Jeff gets home we'll be at it again. I did try a bit of it myself yesterday morning with a carpenter's saw since I have no idea how to use or start a chain saw. Actually, having been to the emergency room twice for cutting my finger with x-acto blades at work while trimming my graphic design work I'm pretty sure it's a good idea I go nowhere near a chainsaw.
But there is still so much left to do. I think the funniest thing is that on Sunday night long before the storm, I mentioned something to Jeff about me being his "delicate-flower." I'm not even sure what the conversation was and it was said in half humor because I am nowhere near "delicate" and probably had to do with my non-delicate life that I lead in this house of boys. But believe me it did come up again the next night when his "delicate-flower" was sweating up a storm while hauling and cutting wood like nobody's business. Too funny.
I guess maybe I'm more of a sturdy-flower. And I'm glad to be home ... even if I am a bit behind!


Learning Together at Home said...

Oh Valerie! I'm so thankful no one was hurt! (save your back from the cooler incident. :)

Vinton - is that Vinton like fom the Laura Ingalls stories (the place where Mary went to the blind school for training?). Okay, so I'm a dork, but I lived on those books growing up. haha


Girly Girl Mommy said...

Goodness! Some welcome home that was! So thankful that you are all OK. Sounds like you deserve a good massage following a twisted back, and then all that back breaking clean up work. I'm all for believing that the baby bird is back with his momma too! Hugs!!

Shawna Kurth said...

Glad to hear you are safe! That was quite a storm wasn't it? You made my smile with your heart for ALL God's creatures.. You know my love for birds and all ;)

Shelley-That is THE Vinton :)

TanyaLea said...

Wow Valerie ~ I'm so glad that everyone there is okay. After I seen the photos that Angie posted on FB of Vinton, I thought of you guys, knowing you were close by.

I'm glad your trip to MN was better this time. Sorry about the back, but glad it's not Lyme Disease. I agree with Kelly... I think a good massage is in order!!

And that baby bird story... be still my heart. We had a similar experience with a baby squirrel. It was hard to watch. We don't know what ever happened to it either, but like your kids, we choose to believe the mama found it. Good for you for ceasing the moment to teach compassion to your little men. I get such a kick out of your stories with all that testosterone that surrounds you. You are such a good mommy!!

The family

The family