Sunday, September 18, 2005

3 Weeks of Misery

The Electricity was restored today. Tears came into my eyes when I saw those big orange trucks come to our house. We have been surviving on MRE's and the water and ice that we get from the relief station. There has been no rain since Katrina and it's extremely hot. With the help of our family and a church group, we've been able to clear the trees from around the house and have gotten them out of the pond, but not before there was a fish kill. We also cut a walking trail to the river where there was a massive fish kill. At least we can put food out to help the animals down in the woods. It's going to take years to get our habitat to normal, but it will never be like it was before.

During the storm, the migrating ruby-throated hummingbirds fed from the feeders that we had wired down. Cardinals, doves, chickadees and tufted titmice fed from the seed feeders. None of the feeders were damaged, but many of the nest boxes on our trail were torn apart or knocked down. Luckily, most of the cavity dwellers had finished nesting before the storm hit. Many of the dead pines that were used by woodpeckers were blown down. While we'll have plenty of trees to replace them in a few years, a nesting cavity shortage will occur next spring, because many need partially decayed wood to hollow out their cavities.

Another repercussion of the downed trees is a shortage of food for wildlife. Black cherries are one of the most widely used berries and are eaten by over 30 species of birds and many mammals. Oaks also provide food in the form of acorns for all kinds of animals. Many of the smaller food bearing trees like sassafras, black gum and yaupon were also destroyed. It will take years for the small trees that are left to grow enough to provide the same amount of food that the downed ones did.

Our pets have suffered a lot, especially our 14 year old cat. The generator would only run a small window a/c unit for part of the house where our 2 dogs are. She doesn't like the dogs, but finally couldn't take the heat anymore and came in with the rest of us.

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