June storm brings lots of work


“In early June the world of leaf and blade and flowers explodes, and every sunset is different.” 

— John Steinbeck, The Winter of our Discontent

The memory is a fickle thing. My memories of the month of June hold it in high regard throughout my life. School’s out, cousins come to play, the whole outdoors beckons, freedom blooms as if it will go on forever. This begins a season of beauty and perfection, the sun shining, the perfect breeze cooling sweat on the brow. Until it’s not so perfect. 

Early last week, I ran the mower over the lawn and thought for the umpteenth time how lucky we are to live here. It was a sunny day, so I spent a great deal of time pushing and pulling the sweeper across the swimming pool, preparing for visitors to swim that evening and in the days to come. 


I had worked hard since our return from vacation in early June and finally had things looking ship-shape. Late that night we heard battering winds, but I went on to bed while Doug stayed up to keep an eye on the skies. 

The next morning I awoke to shattered, splintered trees with large limbs lying all over the place. Entire trees had been uprooted and pummeled to the ground, with several large limbs over our long driveway in various places. Power was out and we were told it would be for quite some time. 

I usually draw buckets of water ahead of a storm, but had not been prepared for this one. A working faucet is a luxury we don’t appreciate nearly enough. 

Clean up

A utility truck, stuck in our battered driveway, ended up crashing at full acceleration into our tractor just as Doug pulled him free. So, a heavily bent tractor tire rim and damaged bead caused a flat tire on the day and week we needed that tractor the very most. It’s proving to be a costly repair in more ways than the obvious. 

Our lawns and our lane remain an enormous mess, and it’s going to require patience and a whole lot of muscle to put it all back to good. I paid a great-niece and grandson to help pull enormous amounts of leaf-heavy twigs from the bottom of the pool after realizing it was a job for the young (in both body and spirit) as they pretended they were diving for dollars. 

Dangerous work

One day we might look back on this and forget the frustration while remembering the way everyone pulled together to get entire communities in this region back in operation. We might forget the sweltering heat with not a single fan (or a shower) to cool things down, entire roads closed for days on end because of enormous downed trees with live power lines wrapped up in it all.

The dangerous work this has created for so many is immeasurable. Right now, a powerful chainsaw run by a strong body is a hot commodity. 

We have been part of the project of generators being shuttled from one home to another in order to save refrigerated and frozen food from ruin. Just two days before the storm hit, we had stored a whole beef in our own freezer, and were grateful for a new generator still unboxed in our garage. 

“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy” really hasn’t applied much in the stormy week that has felt like a month. Mother Nature is going to keep us on our toes, and it never fits the pretty little wishes we have on any given day.


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.



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