Monday, July 24, 2017

Exploding Trees and Baby Robins

The thunder roared
The lightning flashed
A tree fell down
And a fence got smashed.

I think by now that you have probably figured out that we had a tree hit by lightning last Monday. Thankfully, there were no fires, no trees on houses, and no one was hurt, but it was exciting all the same.

It was 2 o'clock in the afternoon and I was engrossed in a book. Earlier we had had a brief rain storm that didn't amount to much. Soon, the sun was coming back out and it looked like everything was clearing. All that was left were a few rumblings in distance.

Then all at once there was a bright flash--hurt your eyes kind of bright flash--and the loudest crack of thunder I had ever heard--simultaneously. No counting seconds between this thunder and lightning to see how far away the storm was. It was on top of us. I sprung out of my chair to see what had happened with a huge surge of adrenaline and a rapidly beating heart. I knew there had to be a lightning strike somewhere close.

Meanwhile, Theo, who was in the basement, came upstairs and asked what was going on up here. He heard the crack and said then lights went out in his room. At the same time, he also felt a tingle go up his arm. We then looked to see if something were on fire because we smelled an electrical burning smell. Luckily, we found no fire.  While we were searching, the neighbor came over to tell us that one of our trees had been hit by lightning. So now I knew where it hit.

Later, we started to understand more of what had happened. Although the lightning technically didn't strike our house, it certainly affected our house. First it totally fried our telephone, internet, and cable service so we were without those for a couple of days. When that got fixed, we figured out that our TV was fried, too. When we tried to move another TV into the spot, we figured out that there were additional problems that hadn't been fixed. We have to have someone out again to take a look at that.

In the meantime, I thought my hair dryer was broken, but it turns the circuit I had it plugged into, didn't work anymore. Luckily Ward was able to fix that with some rewiring. However, today we found another circuit that is also not working along with the fan on our radon remediation system. I'll start calling tomorrow to find people to come fix the latest problems we found. This lightning strike is the gift that just keeps on giving as our neighbor had his TV system fried also.

The tree is definitely not going to survive this, so we've started to get estimates on taking it down. I hope we're done finding the damage and we can just concentrate on fixing things.

Here's the take away from all of this. The lightning seemed to come out of nowhere. The storm was not close. I had always heard that you need to be careful because lightning can strike as far away as ten miles from a storm but I've not always paid attention to that warning. I've seen that happen now for myself and I'm going to be more careful. I encourage you to, also.

As for the baby robins, since I last talked to you, I've seen the robin eggs hatch, the babies grow and leave the nest. It all seemed to happen so fast. Apparently, it was. Robins leave the nest almost a week sooner than wrens and bluebirds--the birds I'm more familiar with. Watching the baby robins has been exciting, but in an entirely different way than the lightning strike. And that's good because I have had quite my fill of excitement for the week.

Here are a few pictures of the recent happenings.

After the lightning strike, the top of the tree was just gone. Most of the branches landed fairly close, but the bark that blew off was strewn farther afield.

The tree used to be twice this tall.

Some of the branches were charred from the heat.

On other fronts, we watched the progression of some baby robins. When we last saw them, they were still in the egg.

They were born on July 10.

One short week later, they had most of their feathers.

Two days later, they were out of the nest. I actually saw this one leave. It really couldn't fly although it was trying. It awkwardly hopped along flapping it's wings and occasionally got its feet off the ground.

It was really still just a baby.

And its mother was watching close by.

So that's the excitement recently. Also, I've taken on some extra projects at work that are going to have me pretty busy during the next month. But I hope to check in then and again.

Until next time...


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Regine. Nature in all is glory is beautiful.

  2. Wow, scary. Thanks for letting us know about the storm. Glad no one was hurt!

    The birds are so sweet!

  3. Holy Kazoli!! I'm so glad that no one was hurt, and that the damage wasn't more significant. How totally eerie - coming seemingly out of nowhere. Hope you hadn't just thought something blasphemous! ;-) Anyhow, it's a good reminder for all of us that lightning can strike so far away from the actual storm.

    The baby robins are adorable, and a much more pleasant way to experience nature!

    1. That's a funny question about something blasphemous. I'll have to start adding that in when I tell the lightning story even if it isn't true. :)

  4. I guess the tree was the tallest thing around and acted as a lightning rod! We used to have lightning rods mounted on our roofs, in my childhood home and the neighboring houses. I'm glad there was no damage to your house, other than the shorted electric circuits, and such.

    The baby robins are so cute and grew so quickly!

    Hope everything gets restored to normal, soon.

    1. The tree was not the tallest thing around. I'm not sure why it acted like a lightning rod. Oh, the mysteries of nature.

  5. So sorry for the tree and resulting damage. You can't do anything about it but clean up the mess and fix all electrical issues.
    Every house I have ever lived in has been hit by lightning. I guess that is one disadvantage of living in an area with lots of storms.

    1. I'm not sure if we have ever been hit by lightning before or not. We have lost a couple of computers and a TV previously at other houses during a storm. So the lightning was definitely close. However, I've never been around something this dramatic before.

      Hope we get tree people here faster than your mother. :)

  6. Huh. My earlier comment disappeared. Weird. Anyway--amazing pictures. I'm sorry for the work and expense you have to go to--there is something fascinating in looking at the power of nature, isn't there? Including the pics of the baby robins. :)

    1. Sorry about the disappearing comment problem. Unfortunately, I know it all too well. It's especially aggravating when you've written a long one.

      The power of nature reminds us that no matter what we do, ultimately, nature will do what it's going to do. I think that is what originally drove man to become religious.

    2. I found your previous comment in my spam folder. See above. It's very odd because I can't remember the last time one went there. I do check spam, but maybe I should check it more often.

  7. The article I read said that the lightning would seek the path of least resistance and is actually attracted to the wiring and plumbing in houses. Anyhow I'm glad you and your family are OK. It really stinks that your electronics and wiring got damaged (and the tree too) but it's lucky your house didn't catch fire! It's a really good reminder that we should all unplug all expensive electronics that we don't want to lose when a storm is nearby. Now, ask me if I do that myself? No, and I really should, but I do unplug my laptop from its charger when I see lightning nearby and I always tell the kids not to get in the shower during a storm. The scary part, as you said, was that this lightning bolt really came out of nowhere, when you thought the storm had already passed you by. ((HUGS)).

    I can't get over how quickly those baby birds went from newborns to full-fledged birds! That's amazing! You took very good pictures, I love the one of the lone little bird in the mulch, so cute!

    I hope this week is better for you and that you can get all your issues resolved without too much hassle.

    1. When we were kids, at the first sign of thunder we had to go around and unplug everything. I never liked it because we had to turn off the TV. I think today with everything plugged into a surge protector, many of us have forgotten about doing that.

      While all of this is a hassle, it's not too bad. All the basic things work including the luxury of AC.

  8. That is incredible and scary. I"ve always heard to turn everything off, even unplug when there's a thunder storm going through and now I know why. I hope you are back to normal by now.

    1. While we're doing fine in that most everything is running, we still have one circuit that is dead. I think this one is going to need an electrician, but my husband wants to look into it some more before we call anyone. And we haven't replaced the TV, but we can certainly live without it. After we figure out what we want, we're going to watch for sales. Supposedly, this is the time of year that they introduce new models so you can get a good deal as they try to clear last year's.

      Also, we still have tree debris to clean up. We have contracted with someone to take down the tree and were hoping that they will come before we have to get out the chainsaws. But we'll see. Hopefully, he will make it sometime next week.


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