Not your average night in the field

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

It's been hot in the field lately and yes Even as I write that I cringe because I know well that we are no where near the plus forties with humidity that is punishing parts of the USA these days, not to mention Southern Manitoba where its a hothouse, but you get my intent. I hope.

So yeah, it's hot here and people are not sleeping well or eating well or communicating well.

Last night after an evenings meeting, I ate a little "supper" after eleven pm, and was off to bed by about midnight, and the temperature was a balmy 28C. Oh yes I tried to sleep, but that wasn't going to happen anytime soon, so I read till I was tired enough to sleep. As I rolled over and shut off the light at 2:30 am I could feel sleep finally taking ownership of my eyelids.

Then in the distance I heard some rumbling. Thunder Storms moving by. That's ok I thought, there was no rain in the forecast so we should be ok. Then more rumbling, and flashes and finally that was enough to banish sleep. I got up and staggered outside in my coolest night attire and black loafers, (another perk of field living), and headed to my antenna lines to disconnect them. I was only frightened once by an orange and black feral cat that's been living around the yard and scaring the whats-it out of me on a weekly basis.

Then back in and to bed where I crashed hard, for an hour.

About then I woke up because of the incredible crashing of the thunder. We were into the most violent electrical storm in the field this year yet. So I got up again, about twenty to four, to check the windows for water. Then I stood at the windows and watched the incredible light show. Wow. Some serious lightning.

Lauralea got up and Micah showed up and I scared him around a dark corner, and we watched the show for some time. Close hits again and again and with the power mostly off, the yard and house and whole field would light up.

In a brief moment of darkness Micah and I heard and saw a very bright flash and bang, pretty much well timed together, and then we saw across the yard, bright sparks up on a power line, and that grew into a fire burning up in the air. Shortly after that, the power was gone completely.

The storm moved on, Micah and Lauralea went back to bed, and the power remained off here.

I tried to get back to sleep, but the heat without the fan in the bedroom was unbearable by that time. The storm had done little to cool things off, but at least it had moved on.

I tried to sleep, then remembered that without electricity here in the field, there was no water. Nor was there any sewage removal system. Oh, right. Better warn people. Then I remembered the sump pump which would be working hard by now to get the rain water away from the basement, except that needed electricity too.

That's a lot of things to keep a guy awake even if it had been cool enough to sleep.

So by now it was five am, and so I got up to check out the damage outside. I would also have to find out who our power company was so that I could call them and tell them our power was out.

Found some house siding had come off the house and blocked the garage door. The fire had been caused by a falling tree branch, and there were bits of tree scattered all over the front yard. I saw that our power pole had a blown fuse on top of it and that was the reason for the power outage. It seemed to be the same problem as the next pole down the road, so I figured others would be powerless too.

I dragged myself back inside and flopped on the couch and passed out for an hour, till about 6:30. I was listening for a possible power truck coming by to fix the pole fuse and I didn't want my yard overlooked.

And at 6:30 sure enough a power company truck came by to reset the pole on the road, so of I went to ask if he could reset ours as well. "Sure, no problem," he said with a far too friendly tone for 6:30 in the morning.

But I was grateful and with ten minutes work he had it fixed and the power was back on immediately. Fans started, a light went on, the whir of the sump pump kicked in, clocks beeped, Lauralea got up, Micah got up and was off to work, and I, fell asleep.

Sometimes I feel very vulnerable out here in the field, when things that need to be running, don't. I'm still learning how this house behaves and what keeps it happy. How long things can be alright without power is one of those things I'm learning.

But what a night to add to the fond memories that make up life here in the field.


  1. I don't like thunder storms. Why didn't the search committee tell me about the volatility of the area? Disconcerting.

    (Joking. But I don't like thunder storms.)

  2. We had a doosey last night, too. A few weeks ago the backup battery powered sump pump was installed. That makes holidays much more enjoyable and the sleep between storms last night much more sound even if our power didn't go out.

    Each house has it's rhythms and quirks, no?

  3. Maybe it's time you met a nice girl who answers to the name of 'Jenny'?

    We used to have terrible reliability for power, though in our case it was almost always the snows and winter storms that brought it down, which wasn't ideal when your heating was electric. (And you've just reminded me to order some wood, thanks).

    Sorry you're all suffering. As I understand it, cold water from the greater than normal arctic thaw is disrupting the gulf stream, giving you guys your blistering summer and us a summer that feels like autumn. There are mushroom springing up everywhere round here with the October style weather, and the ground is so saturated that our water companies have called off the drought warnings (I hope they're catching it all!).

    So I wish you all peace and good nights asleep from now on.

  4. Marc, you live in Southern Manitoba and in my experience of life in various places I don't think I've ever known the storms like we had in southern Manitoba. Hail, tornados, electrical, thunder, lightning, rain, humidity, and on and on. this place is considerably temperate in temperature and storms. You'll like it here. :)

    Jay, I heard it was a nasty one there. And yes you are exactly right, it does take time to learn the tricks of a house. How to cool it, how the air moves in it, where water pools, etc. it just takes time.

    Toni, yep it does seem like it takes extra energy to move along in the heat. Sounds very much like you are having the perfect summer there. A year of Autumn would be a sweet sweet thing to me, but then I love the Fall.

  5. You know, we've not had many bad storms since moving here. There have been a couple of times where the sky worried me (they suggested the possibility of tornadoes). But we haven't had many major storms since moving here, as I recall. In fact, we've had 35+ degree weather for several weeks and have not had a major storm. Strange, now that I think about it.

    Or maybe as an adult with children the "big" storms don't sound so big any more. I can still remember some of the storms we had in Caronport when I was a child. They were scary. But maybe that was just a child's perspective.

  6. Randall - all the white Africans I know here would give almost anything to swap the 15'C grey, damp days for 45'C days, even without air con.


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