Monday, August 29, 2011

Irene's Wrath

This was the morning that neighbors checked on neighbors, long distance friends devotedly contacted their pals in Vermont and adult daughters called their mothers.      People from surrounding communities came to help clean up the damage, console home owners,  rent chainsaws, drain water filled cellars and help farmers salvage crops from their fields.

What a horrible couple of days it has been.   Although we stayed upbeat about the impending impact of Irene, none of us fully understood what was going to happen til she got here.   Although I can personally attest to 3 solid days of anxiety about water levels and livestock, even I could not have predicted the true outcome.

Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm by the time she hit the quaint and quiet little state of Vermont.

By the time she left she had rearranged the landscape, destroyed 200 year old historical covered bridges and eliminated many major roads.    Many residents barely escaped the flash floods with their lives.

Sirens could be heard in distant communities all night.

Eleven towns were made into islands in an instant, surrounded by flood waters from multiple brooks and streams that had turned into oceans of turbulent water, with no way out.  They are still cut off from the rest of the state.

263 roads are closed or destroyed.   A large percentage of bridges are closed, damaged or missing.

Many residents are still without power.  Some no longer have a house to return to.

The complete assessment of damage, commercially, agriculturally and personally will take weeks.

Last night Irene went right over this old 200 year old farm house.  Water poured into the cellar.

This morning the sun woke me up immediately as it streamed into my window.   I quickly drove to the herd and saw that they had finally ventured all the way out to the field to graze.  Life was back to normal, even though the fields are soggy and the air is filled with the sounds of rushing streams.

The bull, exhausted from trying to breed cows in extreme weather, was laying down recovering from a weekend of bad dates...

The deer and turkeys have all returned to the fields to graze. 
The hummingbirds and goldfinches never left the bird feeders the entire time. Not for a second.
 Mavis slept for 2 solid days and would not go outside in the rain.      

Even though I fulfilled my list of preparedness things I had to get done, the only thing I wish I could of done before the strom hit was get another big jar of Miracle Whip.
Tomatoe sandwiches really gotta have it and that was what we had planned to eat if the electricity didn't come back on.

Now for some of the worst Vermont videos:

If you haven't seen this video of the river sucking the huge 141 year old Rockingham covered bridge into the river, here it is:

Just found out that this bridge was insured for 1 million dollars and will eventually be rebuilt, but not in time for leaf peepers this year.
A horse and rider carried medical necessities to the other side of the washed out area in Rockingham:
And the Quechee covered bridge:
Northfield Falls covered bridge barely survived:
Bridges floating under bridges:
Here is what the covered bridges all looked like before Irene came:
I appreciate all the calls checking on our welbeing up here in rural Vermont.

Also I am grateful for many National and Regional Disaster Animal Response Teams for contacting me for assessments and information. 

Noahs Wish ( and the Animal Control Officers Association of Massachusetts ( were very concerned for the people and animals of Vermont and were waiting to assist in any way necessary.

Today is the 6th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  (Hurricanes Rita and Wilma too)

Thank you to everyone who came to assist the people and the animals of the Gulf Coast.

Please light a candle tonight for those who lost their lives during all these storms and for those whose lives have been changed forever.


  1. Sounds like your area really took a beating! Thinking of all the losses up there in Vermont. Glad you and your herd are okay. It's always amazing to me how beautiful it can look the day after a horrible storm...the sun always comes out again!

  2. Animal Instinct-my mother (ann) has shared your blog and stories with me. I am visiting for the first time. I am so sorry for the damage and destruction Irene caused for all of you on the eastern seaboard. I pray for you all and wish you the best from Denver. I did see the video of the historic bridge. Be rebuilt will be nice, but not the same. Mother Nature has her own ways of dealing with things and they often are not our way. I am happy that you have such wonderful neighbors to help. We are very fortunate to not have hurricanes here. We have terrible tornadoes every now and then. It has almost wiped small towns off the map in eastern colorado where I am from. Wishing you all the best in your rebuilding and recovery efforts!

  3. Janis, we prayed for the people of Vermont last week and are STILL praying for those whose lives have forever been changed by TS Irene. I'm glad you and your herd are okay.

  4. Please let us know how you are!