Everything Else

Country Living Update, Windstorm Edition

In the fall I wrote about having moved from the heart of Montreal, where I’d lived for 20 or so years, back to the Eastern Townships region of Quebec, which is closer to where I grew up. Specifically, my partner and I traded the city for the sticks, and now live surrounded by trees, ponds, and mountains—and snow, and wind, especially this past week.

We had our first encounter with the ferocity that winter storms in this area can dish out when a full night and day of snow, then rain, then sustained gusts of nearly 100 km/h pounded our area. There were times that the winds outside our home were so loud I was convinced that there had to be a widebody jet on final approach just outside our window. In fact, the cacaphone woke me up at 2:30 in the morning, just before the power was cut, and I could see lightning flashing in the January sky (which is not a typical set of weather conditions for this part of the world, at this time of the year).

It took 18 hours for the juice to come back on, due in large part to the many fallen trees that had severed the tenuous electrical wires that tether this part of the world to greater civilization. In that period we were lucky to have tempertures well above freezing, which allowed us to keep Studio Alpaca HQ relatively toasty with just a gas fireplace running.

Lesss fortunate were the trees on our property, which were alternately stripped of many of their branches (deposited across the grounds), or cracked completely in half. In fact, I came across what I thought was a leaning tree on the front lawn only to discover that it had been snapped by the wind, lifted up, and then deposited directly beside its 8-foot “stump,” supported in large part by a second tree sitting beside it.

All this to say it’s been an adventurous start to 2024, and one that’s got us realizing either a generator or a whole-house battery system is likely in the cards for us before the next winter comes calling. Still, standing out there in the snow, hearing the power of the wind, and enjoying the darkness pierced only by the stars above, I can’t say I regret anything about our decision to be here.

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