Along the Tracks

Sunday, March 10, 2002

Full Chain!

A few years ago, I read about a Dakota wind gauge: Sink an eight-foot post four feet in the ground, then connect a log chain to the top. You judge the wind speed by the angle of the chain blowing in the wind. Well, when we bought our little farm out here southeast of town, I decided it might be fun to put a Dakota wind gauge up.

On Saturday, it was useful. That was a 90-degree chain lifter that blew through here.

Just kidding, but in all seriousness, that was the strongest wind I can remember outside of a thunderstorm in many a moon. And as luck would have it, I had just gotten into the van to buckle Clair and The Boy into their car seats when the first real big blast hit. Branches flew everywhere, the trash can blew over, and for a minute there, I thought I'd better buckle myself down too, as the van rocked to and fro hard enough to make me think it might be on its side in another minute.

We survived the big blow pretty well here (minus a couple good-sized branches that had been weakened by the ice storm a few weeks ago), but I know some other folks weren't so lucky. Damage was pretty widespread, but fortunately no serious injuries were reported.

I did hear a report of a barn fire over in Henry County on the Ridge. In those winds, I doubt it stood for long. Like I said, thank goodness most people escaped the wind with life and limb intact. Things could have been a lot worse - as demonstrated by the poor soul who lost his life in Columbus when a tree fell into his house.

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