Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What Have We Been Doing, Part 2

(If you've been following this story from Part 1, here is an answer to 'What is an Aaargh?'   Castle Aaargh is our futile attempt at building a round stone building with leftover rocks from our Quarry Garden project.  We've been at it since 2005, and the name comes from Monty Python's movie, 'Search for The Holy Grail' fame.  There is a photo of our Aaargh at the very end of this post.  Information on what exactly a 'booyah' is will be in Part 3.  I can only sit for so long, ha!)

Ok, on with the story:

The first wrinkle in my flawless plan was the fact I had the dates wrong for the hamburger celebration.   I admit I have a thing for parades which rivals the fanaticism football fans have for their favorite team.   Yes, it is essentially the same from year to year; it is a Hamburger Parade after all, with the same tractors and farm equipment and candy tossing silliness, but I love it.  We haven't missed the parade in the 25 years the town has been having it on the first Saturday of August.

Except this year, when they changed the date to the second Saturday in August, which I found out about a month before.  I read the headline in our local newspaper about the Hamburger Festival on August 10, and had to read it twice before it sank in.  Oh no, this must be a misprint, I thought, August 3 is the first Saturday of the month.  It just can't be on the same day as the garden walks/booyah party, can it?! 

 Well, apparently I wasn't paying attention, because there it was in black and white, along with the schedule of events.  There was to be kite flying in the morning, which was something Carl and I both were looking forward to, along with the hot air balloon ascensions and of course, the parade at 11AM. I decided we'd have to skip this year since there was no way to get everything done here.  Carl firmly declared we would figure out a way to fit it all in, somehow.

I wasn't so sure.

But back to the story.

 Carl took his first vacation time this year all last week so we could get ready for the garden walks.  We weeded and mulched and weeded some more.  The fountains needed cleaning and the waterfall in the Quarry needed repairs and there were pallets of rocks everywhere.  We worked from early in the morning to late at night every day, rarely getting in the house before 10PM.  We were making progress on the weeding; it was looking like we might actually get through all the beds one more time before Saturday.  We put down more mulch, which this year was hay/straw mix leftover from the county fair cow barns.  No, it's not a particularly attractive mulch, but it does build the garden soil like no other and retains moisture.  And cuts down on weed germination.  If more weeds pop up, smother 'em with more mulch. 

Last Tuesday night. August 6,  we were working in the Quarry and after taking the tractors home to Mom's shed for the day, I noticed lightning on the horizon.  It was 11PM by the time we got in that night and the local weather station posted an alert of a severe thunderstorm approaching.  They said there had been no reports of rotation on radar, so everyone should keep their eyes open and exercise caution.

The caution we exercised was to haul all the petunia planters into the garage because I didn't want them ruined before the garden walks/party.  Carl helped me, but he thought I was being overprotective since the storm didn't seem like it was too bad.

 We had to roll Carl's car outside to fit the ten big pots in there, but I was happy they would be sheltered.  We went in and watched the late night talk shows for a bit before bed and when the storm finally did hit, it was really, really windy.  There wasn't much lightning with it, though there was something hitting the house occasionally that could have been small hail.

The one thing we both noticed was the very loud, roaring sound in the distance, though we both dismissed the sound as high winds in the woods across the road.  No sirens went off, no warnings on TV about tornado sightings, so we didn't run for cover.  After it was all over, I let the dogs out for the night and noted that we'd received about an inch of rain.  It was still thundering to our south, but was calm here.  Willie the Willow had lost one small branch.

The next morning we were stunned when we saw on the news that the storm had contained six confirmed tornadoes and had done millions of dollars in damage in many, many counties in Northeastern Wisconsin as it swept through.  The roaring sound we had heard the night before was from the storm tearing through the small town of Freedom which is about six miles away from us.  The roads into town were blocked, it was awful.  Many communities were without power for up to six days.

Here is a link to the storm damage reports.  We were very lucky to have escaped with only a dead branch falling out of Willie. Though we didn't mean to, we found ourselves in the midst of the storm damage the next morning when we went to the gas station.  The damage is very widespread and random.   On Monday afternoon, almost a week after the storm, Carl and I took a ride to survey the damage.   I took only a few photos of the destruction because I didn't want to make people feel I was enjoying rubbernecking at all of the heartache they have to deal with.  We had a storm like this in 1981 that destroyed many of our neighbor's properties and my parent's barn, so I know what a circus it can be to have people driving by staring at your misfortune. 

Trees torn apart and homes damaged

Barns with heavy damage or destroyed entirely

Tree limbs and debris lining the streets one week after the storm

If this storm had decided to come just six miles north, we wouldn't be having this conversation/blog post right now.  And I definitely wouldn't have had to get the garden ready for any garden walks/booyah parties, either.  We'd be running around (if we were lucky) with all of the chainsaws until the end of the summer and then some.  We saw one home which had been built in a woods that was now completely covered by trees tossed in every which direction.  Not a tree was left standing.  The forces of Nature are incredible. 

I've been walking around since this storm, looking at all of the trees we have planted here in the last 35 years and thinking how bleak the place would look if we had to go back to square one in 1978.
1978, Little Hut in an Alfalfa Field.  No trees.
2013, Little Hut in the Alfalfa Field.  Trees do make a big difference, don't they?

We take them for granted sometimes, just like all of our blessings.  

One thing we were sorry to hear of was the additional damage to the Maribel Caves Hotel which has been a ruin since the 1980's.  This old stone building has stood since 1900, even after a fire gutted the interior.  Here is a link about haunted places in Wisconsin which shows a photo of the way the building looked before and after the storm: 

Carl and I drove to Maribel to get a first hand look at the destruction last night.  I don't know what the future will be for what is left of the building, but I hope they let it stand.  The entire left side of the building is now gone.

  Doesn't it look reminiscent of the old castle ruins in Europe?  I know it's just a matter of time before it all falls in now, but at least we had the chance to capture it in photos.  We've visited the surrounding park for many years and it will be a shame to see it go.  The ruin itself is on private property.

Maybe we should just leave our Castle Aaargh stand the way it is, too, and call it a Ruin. 

Stay tuned for Part 3...the font size is getting goofy (anyone else have this issue at times with Blogger?)  and I must retire to the kitchen to create a magical meal for our dining enjoyment this evening.  

Hmmm.....leftover booyah?  



Casa Mariposa said...

What is the castle going to look like when it's done? Will it have a roof? I like it the way it is now. :o)

Toni said...

Hi Karen,
We were in Vesper and Wis Rapids last week and drove to Waupaca one day and saw lots of damage from the storm. I'm glad your place was spared! Wow, the before and after pictures of your place are just amazing. Can't wait to see more progress on Aaargh! We absolutely loved all the beautiful weather we had while we were in WI; it was such a relief from the sweltering temps we've had in TX. Also took a trip down to Madison to visit Olbrich Botanical Gardens - very pretty! Take care. Can't wait to hear the rest of the story....

Alison said...

I love Castle Aaaarrgghh! I really think you should never finish it. Not that you WILL never finish it, which is what I know you think, but that you shouldn't.

I'm so sorry to hear about all the devastation so close to you. You were indeed lucky.

Zoey said...

How lucky you were to escape all that destruction! Your petunias are lovely as always...good thing you took them all in the garage for protection.

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Oh Karen I am so glad you and Carl did not suffer the destruction your neighboring town around you did. My heart goes out to all of those who lost so much.

I love your castle, it has it's own beauty no matter if it's finished or not. You guys have done beautiful work. Maybe you just needed a break from that work this year.

So, as I type to you, the hamburger festival, walking tours and booyah party have all happened. I hope all went well.

Love and hugs to the both of you,


Carol said...

The planters look great. Of course everything does. so glad you got no storm damage. Looking forward to part 3!

Karen said...

Casa Mariposa, yes, the original plan for Aaargh was to have a roof. We started back to work on the construction last night now that all the tours are over for the year.

Toni, glad you had a nice trip, we've had a very cool summer lately which I'm loving, too.

Alison, we hauled a bunch of stone pallets up again last night and the mortaring madness is indeed beginning for one more year. I think you're right, though, we can always just let it be a ruin if nothing else. We'll see how far we get before winter sets in.

Zoey, the storm was a doozy all right, we just didn't realize what happened til the next morning.

Rainey, yes, we were indeed blessed to miss all the damage. We're going to see how far we can get on the stone work from now until the frost makes mortaring impossible. We may have about two months if we're lucky.

Carol, thank you, too, and I'm working on Part 3, lol!

El Gaucho said...

We're very glad to hear that you were spared damage from the storm, reading your account and the storm damage, it sounds very bad.

I'm trying to resist the urge to Google "booyah" and am going to patiently wait for you to tell us rather than spoil the surprise by looking it up on the Interwebs.

Carolyn ♥ said...

So glad you were blessed during the storm. Your Aaargh looks like a grand project for the two of you. And I'm looking forward to the "booyah".

Shirley said...

I'm so glad you didn't receive any damage Karen!

Yes, I too have experienced problems with font sizes changing on me and not being able to change them back.

How did your garden walk go and did you get to see the parade after all?

Rosemary said...

So glad the storm worst missed you