"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves." - Bill Mollison

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Lightning Strikes Twice

The skies were dark, but not ominously so. Lightning flashes could be seen far off in the distance but overhead all appeared to be calm. I had just locked the chickens up for the night and was sitting down at the computer, preparing to dig up some information on eggplants...and boom! A huge explosion shook our whole house. The day, having almost turned to night, was simultaneously lit up with a blinding red-orange flash, and then all was silent. A few minutes later, having realized that it was not our lovely neighbor firing off his cannon in our front yard, we looked for smoke and fire as it became obvious that a freak lightning strike had hit within a few yards of the house. We found nothing in the dark.

It was not until early the next morning that we noticed wood shrapnel all over our driveway and the neighboring bushes. Close by was a tree with a large splinter of wood that had been unceremoniously stripped from tip to tail. The same thing happened two years ago in August to a tree not thirty feet away. That tree was much larger and managed to live, this one will not. I will remove it for firewood next spring.


deborah said...

Oh my gosh! I'm so glad all is well and no one was injured!

Mrs. Mac said...

How scary .. especially happening twice. Now the neighbor with a cannon .. well we're getting one for our front yard .. promise not to aim it your direction ;)

Anonymous said...

I'm really glad all is okay. A close lightening strike is really something -- seeing red is something I've not heard before. About 5 years ago, I was at an outdoor event under an open pavillion. A thunderstorm was kicking up and we were about 60 feet from the Potomac River. I heard a very loud "boom" and quite a bit of white flashed. Then I saw our friend act real spastic and he jumped about 8 feet over towards someone. I thought he was crazier than I'd ever seen HIM act. Turned out, he was struck by lightening. He was holding a metal microphone on a stand and base and he attracted the lightening. He was pretty stunned at first, but he was okay. It was the most peculiar thing....we urged him to get to a doctor which he did (he was fine). That was the second time he had been struck by lightening. I keep reading about the phenomenon of repeat strikes -- you might want to look into it. Maybe another project is some lightening rods atop your roof!
Love your new firewood....but you can keep your neighbor's cannon! We get the re-enactment at the Battle of Cedar Creek in October. Multiply your cannon sound by about, oh, 100....We're about 10 miles away and we hear lots of booming for 2 days!

Anonymous Is LynnS said...

I am 'Anonymous'....Blogspot has hexed your comment area I think.


Stefaneener said...

Maybe the hexed comments are from lightning activity?

Sounds like quite an event. One of my grandmother's favorite trees was pretty much exploded by lightning.

We get it so seldom it's hard to remember how serious it can be. Nothing to fool around with.

Michelle said...

That... is really... amazing! We don't get much lightning here, but it is always a scary thrill when it does happen. So glad it was a tree and not you that got zapped.

Mr. H. said...


Thanks, we get quite a few lightning storms in these parts. The biggest problem with them is fire. So far we have been pretty lucky this year and have had no major storms.

Mr. H. said...

Mrs. Mac,

Yes it is rather unnerving when it strikes so close to the house. I'm surprised the power stayed on.

I'm all for the cannon in your yard as long as it does not shake my house and scare our animals at 9:00 PM every weekend.:)

Mr. H. said...


To tell you the truth, after seeing the power of lightning over the years, I can't imagine how anyone survives a direct strike. Your friend was sure lucky.

The weird part was that there was almost no sign of thunder or lightning in our immediate area, it came out of nowhere. We are on a bit of a hill and lightning strikes are pretty common in this area. It's just that we are usually expecting them. I'm still not sure what the red/orange flash was all about.

Sorry about the comment problems, it seems to be an incompatibility issue between wordpress and blogspot. I can't quite figure it out...I hope they do.

Google has been making lots of changes, I'm sure that has something to do with it. The other day I could not even access my blog. Perhaps I need to look into switching to wordpress.

Mr. H. said...


We do have an extremely old house with a very deep, abandoned well in the basement. Perhaps there is some paranormal activity effecting the blog. If you see any mysterious images in the pictures I post please let me know.:)

As long as none of my fruit trees get struck, I can live with the lightning. It's the wind storms that I could do without.

Mr. H. said...


Scary thrill about sum's it up. I'm glad our jeep survived the ordeal, It was parked pretty close to the tree that got hit. It's really amazing how powerful the forces of weather can be.

Jennifer Jo said...

Well now, that's freaky.

I just came to your blog via Mavis's---saw you signed your name "Mr. H" which is the same blog name I gave my husband.

I like this blog. Lots of though-provoking quotes and interesting ideas. Keep on writing!

LynnS said...

Now, Mr. H.....

You live in a very old house with a deep, abandoned well and you haven't shared this dark and ominous feature of Subsistence Pattern yet?

Surely you know that all of your readers are waiting at the edges of their respective keyboards and seats, hoping to hear more of the Eerie Tales and Paranormal Activities of Northern Idaho.

Anyone who can make roots bubble-up must have a cauldron somewhere. Maybe a jar containing eye of newt, toe of frog? Perhaps next to that deep abandoned well?

Bwah ha ha ha...

(I'll never get to sleep tonight!)

Frustrated Farmer Rick said...

Whoa! Glad everyone is OK.

Mr. H. said...

Mama JJ,

Thanks for stopping by, you can call me Mike instead of Mr. H. I am looking forward to checking out some of your recipes.

Mr. H. said...


I have to keep the ominous abandoned well a secret. I'm supposed to "register" it, so that the county can bilk me out of more money. I think I will keep my back up water supply hush, hush for now. Besides I need to maintain good relations with the spirits and such so that my concoctions will continue to work.:)

Mr. H. said...


Thanks, it really is a normal summer occurrence around here. The difference is that we can usually see it coming from miles away...this time it caught us off guard.

Anonymous said...

Mr H, glad you are safe. Here I am typing in the middle of a thunderstorm with lighting in South Eastern Australia, hmmmmmm should I take note?? I was in my parents house once when the light pole out the front was struck with lightning and my husbands car was parked under the pole, the house lit up like daylight and the fences turned blue. I guess we are a bit complacent here as thunderstorms are a very normal part of our lives, just not in winter which we are at the moment, mainly in summer. Love the blog and keep writing.

Mr. H. said...


We tend to be a bit complacent with lightning storms as well. Once in a while it reminds us that we should be a little more respectful of it's power.

Nice to make your acquaintance,


Silke Powers said...

Oh, my goodness, how dis I miss this post. That was an impressive lightning strike - thank goodness for trees around our houses... We had a similar thing happen the other day with a tree being hit in our neighbors yard - it's an impressive explosion! Made the whole house shake.

Back in NM , Daniel was going on a run with our old dog, Moe, when lightning struck right by them into a utility pole - there was one little cloud some ways off. They both ran really fast back to the car and came home. NM was one of the best places to watch lightning shows because you can see so far!

Glad nobody was injured!! :) Silke

Mr. H. said...

Thanks Silke,

It sounds like Daniel was really lucky that day. Lightning can be beautiful and frightening at the same time.

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