Longleaf Stories

full circle in the hundred acre wood

Here’s an update from our friends Denny Coates and Kathleen Scott, who are working, writing and planning a new garden.

In Denny’s own words. . .

“Well, our electricity is restored, and I’ve reconnected my computer,
so I can give you an update on how we’re doing after Hurricane Jeanne.
As you may remember, this was our second direct hit in a couple weeks.
The first was Frances, a slow-moving Cat II that softened up the
ground and blew a lot of trees down. Jeanne was a stronger and faster
Cat III. It caused a lot more wind and flood damage. We didn’t see the
images on TV because our power was out, but it’s plain to see that it
was a destructive storm. The ocean-front residences and businesses
took a heavy hit. A number of hotels, homes, and roads were destroyed,
the direct hit with 120 mph winds and the surge were just too much. It
will take quite a while for those exposed structures to recover.

This time we rode out the storm in a home on the other side of the
Intracoastal Waterway, having promised to take care of a friend’s
children in her absence. When Jeanne hit at midnight, it took six
hours for it to pass through. That was some experience. All of us,
including six cats, went to the safest room in the house. But the
house held up well, and we stayed there until we got power back here.

The bottom line is that our home is still OK. Our remaining oak tree
didn’t fall, and water didn’t get into the house, though it crested 2
inches from our doorstep. Nasty. We will need to reshingle the roof
and replace the gutters after this one. Amazingly, for the second
hurricane in a row, the DirecTV dish remained exactly on azimuth and
we had perfect reception when we finally turned on the set.

The work to remove blown-down limbs was much less this time. So for
several days we worked outside, righting and shoring up bushes. Once
again, I went through a lot of Gatorade. Only 20 bags of debris this
time, while Frances had 75. The property is not pretty anymore, with
all the bushes blasted, blown down and broken. Very few leaves remain
on any plant. But already new leaves are pushing up on several of the
bushes…the life force in them is strong.

Each day the restoration moves forward. Each day, something improves.
We will soon feel rested and energetic again. And I trust that in a
few months our property won’t look quite so scarred by the storm. We
were a lot luckier than many of our friends and neighbors.”

In Kathleen’s own words. . .
“Denny and I are tired but power came back on a day ago so today we
feel like millionaires.

The authorities didn’t let us back on the island for 3 days after the
storm. We were happy to finally find our home intact. The roof lost
a lot of surface but you can’t see through it and it didn’t let water
in. Flooding came up into the garage & sunroom, again, but damage was
not much worse than Frances. We’ll get a new roof, rebuild where
needed & replace some things.

More trees lost and our gardens are skeletal; we’d just finished
shoring up & pruning from Frances. I felt sad to see everything
knocked down again but Denny reminded me of all the people who’ve lost
their homes…we’re fortunate and feel grateful.

Frances & Jeanne gave me some new life-skills. I know how to tarp a
roof and pull up carpet. I can kick-roll large palm trunks a city
block and build refuse piles taller than I am. I can shore up
storm-ravaged plants. Life is short, live now.”

07:10 AM in Longleaf Preserve, Pensacola Scene | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

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