The Black Bread Lodge – 2017 Ice Storm

I’ll remember 2017 for a long time. In January we were hit by the worst ice storm I’ve ever experienced. At night during the storm we could see flashes of light in the sky. It was the power distribution facility down the road that was blowing up. I love storms, but that one was something else.

A taste of what’s to come, back at the apartment 

More than 120 000 homes lost power that night. We were out for 3 days, some were in the dark for more than two weeks. January is very cold in New Brunswick. People ran out of warmth very fast. Next thing to run out was water. Fortunately my father heats his home with wood and we used the generator for water.

The day after the storm was so calm, not a cloud in the sky. And the view was breathtaking! The morning light was reflected into thousands of icicles. We could hear explosions as branches and even whole trees broke under the weight of the ice.

The morning after

Walking back to Civilisation 

Out of the woods 

Looking back 

In the evening a strong wind rose and the sound coming out of the woods was like the of rattling bones. With all the rattling and the breaking I could imagine myself being in the movie “The Road”. I felt small and weak that night.

A surprising amount of people lost the food in their freezers… in the middle of winter! We feasted on the stuff that would spoil and put the rest outside.

For some people this was hell. As for us, we cooked on the wood stove, worked on clearing the road during the day and played cards all night. We had plenty of oil lamps. At night when the power is out you get this level of silence and darkness that really helps you sleep. No refrigerator humming. No lights from the microwave clock. In a way this storm did us plenty of good, it pulled us together.

The damage to trees was appalling, especially for quaking aspens. They tend to break rather than bend. We didn’t notch maples this year so no syrup for us. It just felt wrong to tap crippled trees for sap.

Then we had this cold, damp Spring and now as I write this we are in the middle of the worst drought the region has seen in the last 25 years. Lawns are dry and ugly but the plants in the woods are doing just fine. People are ungrateful to trees, seeing them only as fuel or timber.

Next: March
Previous: The Second Year Part 2

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