“Glad You’re Not Here!”

By , February 16, 2011

As much as we miss Michelle while she’s out of town, I have been grateful that she has not been here to experience some of what we’re seeing here on the homestead. We got clobbered with a winter storm Monday and Tuesday, and things happened that she just would not have appreciated. Not that we did, but we took consolation knowing that she was with her parents at the time.

Monday we saw 50 knot north winds; Tuesday, they ramped up to 55 knots, with gusts, according to the weather service, of 80 knots. That’s just a hair above 92 miles per hour. It’s wind enough to have a very unsettling affect on our wind generator.

Alaska State Ferry in Lynn Canal

One of the Alaska State Ferries headed north past the homestead with iced hull (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

We had applied the brake, as we generally do in very high winds. The brake shorts out the three incoming wires, stopping the prop almost completely—it turns, but only under considerable force. Monday, a gust hit it, spinning it at full speed, then furling it! To add suspense to an already tense moment, it took a long time to switch from “regular” operation to furl, because the pivot’s still sticky. In that time, the whole tower bounced back and forth so hard I began to fear for the integrity of the structure.

About 3:00 a.m. on Tuesday, the gusts began again, and the generator started up several times. Aly told me the next morning that she heard it so often she assumed I’d turned the brake off.

Compounding this, the trees closest to the house are whipping in the wind, along with every other tree in the area. Some of their roots have reached under the cabin. During the day, Aly and I start, thinking someone’s on the porch, as the tree out front shifts. At night, the trees behind the master bedroom make small but fairly constant noises. I spent a lot of that night awake. My sleep patterns have been altered significantly since Michelle’s been gone, anyway. She’s not there, Spice the cat has abandoned me for Aly’s bed (thank goodness), so I’m sleeping differently anyway.

The storm brought low temperatures. A high around 15° has pushed the wind chill below -20. I wish Michelle were here, but, then again, I’m glad she’s not!

4 Responses to ““Glad You’re Not Here!””

  1. Michelle says:

    Whew! Me too!

  2. Roger T says:

    This photograph of the Alaska State Ferry that you posted with your February 16 Blog is my favorite of all your photographs. My wife and I visited Haines by ferry in September and loved the whole experience. We hiked several trails including Seduction Point and Battery Point. Everything was smooth and calm during our visit. Quite different from winter.

  3. Mark Zeiger says:

    Thanks, Roger! Our view makes a spectacular backdrop for ferries, cruise ships, and any other vessels on Lynn Canal. We enjoy watching them pass, and try to capture the more spectacular shots when we can.

    I’m glad you enjoyed Haines. Ironically, while I’ve visited both Battery and Seduction Point by water, I’ve not hiked to either yet. As you can imagine, recreational hiking is a bit lower on my family’s list of activities . . . .


  4. Roger Murphy says:


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