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What a single thunderstorm can do

[No photo with this post since the storm drowned my cell phone.] We had a hell of a weekend. A huge thunderstorm came thru on Thursday. Charlie and I were here at the ranch awaiting visitors, and we did our best to secure things, including leading horses into individual stalls, but it was like going out into a hurricane. Huge limbs were breaking off of trees. The rain was coming down sideways. A couple of times I had to simply bend over and hold my hat on; there was nothing else I could do. I found a dead hummingbird and rescued a young sparrow who was flapping around on the ground. (Afterward the storm passed, I looked at Charlie’s dog dish which is 4 inches tall, and it was filled to the brim with water!). At Shiloh, next to us, a big horse trailer was blown over. The storm knocked out the power, and our emergency generator kicked on. (I immediately congratulated myself on being smart enough to listen to Larry the Electrician and install such a system.) Just after the storm passed, visitors arrived (our LV neighbor Sherri, her sister and her friend plus 3 boys). Being Norwegian, they all began working to remove fallen branches from sidewalks and patios. Someone smelled propane, and we discovered that our gas BBQ had blown from one side of the patio to the other, breaking the gas pipe in the process. So I had to shut down the propane to our house at a time when Tex was cookin’ for guests. Then I discovered that the rain had zapped out my iphone that I had unfortunately decided to use in order to film this epic event. It has never come to life since. (Yes, I did try putting it in rice.) I called Kim on Joanie’s cell phone and told her to email everyone in the office that my cell was out and that they could call me on the ranch land line if they needed me. In the middle of the night, I turned on the water faucet and . . . nothing. We had no water due to the fact that the distant wells are not on our back up generator and the 10,000 gal tank by the hangar had run dry. The following morning at daybreak, I delivered 5 gal buckets of water from the lake to both houses so toilets could be flushed. Then we discovered our land line phones were out too. On Friday, I got Larry the Electrician to come over, and he pulled a generator out to the wells so we could have water. Later in the day neighbors came by and peered with envious eyes at our electrical power and our water. One woman couldn’t get down her driveway because of the mud. Another neighbor said they had 6” of muddy water in their house. It was 110 degrees, and I thought about offering help, but I could see that Kingston Ranch would soon become the local refugee camp, a slippery slope we don’t want to step on. Although they looked at us with pleading, envious eyes, we refrained from offering habitation. When feeding the horses Friday night, a wasp stung me on my cheek which swelled up like I had a golf ball in the side of my mouth. On Sat. afternoon, power was restored to the valley, but ours was still out due to a blown line fuse at the top of the power pole (and therefore inaccessible for Larry). So the generator kept running while all of our neighbors went back on line. Then about 10:00 pm Sat night, our backup generator ran out of diesel. Boy, was it ever dark around the ranch and HOT in our bedroom which did no delight my lovely bride. So here we were, the people who everyone else had envied because we had generator power for the prior two days; now we could see lights at neighboring ranches. Everyone else had power except us! I thought about trying to find a gas can, trying to fill it from our diesel tank and trying to dump the fuel into the generator tank, but I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to do that in the daylight, so I waited until morning. (By the time I completed the task Sun. morning, I had diesel full on my hands, all over my shoes and in my golf cart. I’d send you a photo, but my iphone, you’ll recall, was wrecked in the deluge.) We were so hot Saturday night that I decided to take a shower, but no water came out since there was now no electricity whatsoever. All night long, I was hot and sweaty. Plus my neck and chin were swelling from the wasp sting. Finally dawn arrived Sunday morning . Tex packed up and left for town. After she left, I was feeding the horses and sheep when another wasp stung me on the neck. This was my third sting at this particular gate. I took a can of bug spray, drove across the driveway in the truck, left the door open for a quick retreat, found the hole in the PVC post where they had made their home and zapped the shit out of those little fuckers! I’m writing this Sunday night as the swelling is moving down the left side of my neck and my right arm (which are hot to the touch). I just called So. Cal. Edison for the 3rd time in 24 hours, and it turns out that they marked my first call yesterday as “fulfilled” since they thought I was just one of the residents from the area complaining about a power outage. So the generator is still running, and I’m trying to decide whether I need to go out in the dark and put more diesel in it. Oh, and did I mention that my Grand Cherokee is in the shop because two weeks ago I backed it into the garage w/o putting down the hatch? How was your weekend?