Re: [gardeners] The Freezing Rain Warning Has Ended

Marianne Lepa (
Mon, 12 Jan 1998 18:05:14 -0500

Things are slowly normalizing a bit around here now. The schools are still
closed for another couple of days anyway. My friends in Kingston had their
power back on today, long enough to warm their houses back up. It's off
again now, but it should only be for a few hours while something is being
fixed. My ex-husband lives out in the country north of Kingston where the
power is still out and may be so for quite some time yet. I was up there on
Sunday to check in on him and my former neighbours. They're all just fine
with their woodstoves. In most places I was offered coffee and a grilled
cheese sandwich. One couple with an old Findlay cooking stove had been
keeping busy baking pies and cookies! Other people are keeping their
spirits up in different ways. The newspapers are already discussing the
mini-baby boom to be expected in early September. :-)

None of my acquaintances took me up on my offer of sleeping quarters here.
They all felt they were having the adventure of their lives, to the point
where I was feeling a teeny bit jealous that my power never went out. :-) I
guess that speaks to the kind of people I hang out with, but I was, at
least, gratified to be told that my daily phone calls were deeply
appreciated sanity breaks. 

One little ironic twist: My sister lives in downtown Ottawa. Throughout the
entire storm she never lost her hydro, even though she lives in a heavily
treed part of town. She was relieved over that because she's alone with a
baby to care for. Yesterday afternoon the all clear was given in Ottawa,
meaning that 95% of the power had been restored and the streets were
relatively safe to travel. My sister put away all her candles, blankets
etc. Just as she came up from the basement storage area, her power went out
and stayed out for 4 hours. :-)

A couple of things I noted while out and about the last few days: City
trees took a far worse hit than trees outside the urban areas. But even
trees in rural areas that were next to roadways or on small front lawns
were severely damaged while forests seemed to only sustain minor damage
along the edges. Even trees unsupported by other trees, but growing in low
stress areas (open fields away from roadways) were less damaged than those
in high stress areas. 

Although I know from book learning and observation that urban environments
are more stressful on plants than rural areas, it was a real eye-opener to
see hard evidence of what that really means. It's also interesting to note
that the human population is showing similar kinds of reactions. In
Montreal, a large and crowded city (for Canada), with a population of @ 3
million, there have been all sorts of incidents of looting, assaults, and
profiteering. In Kingston, a small city of about 100,000 people, there have
been no reports of looting or other thefts. People have been taking the
time to check on neighbours, help anyone who fell on the ice, and to clear
away branches from the streets. Merchants have been donating food to the
emergency shelters, and stores were selling candles and batteries at the
wholesale price.

I've always said that gardens are a metaphor for human society and yet
again I see it being demonstated. :-)

Marianne, who's only inconvenience was flakey internet access and have her
server space comandeered for email storage.
Southwestern Ontario AgCan zone 5b