I'm writing this Christmas morning, trying to stay quiet while my husband sleeps. We are warm and safe but the winds we've experienced for the last several days have made these past days ones to remember.
In town there has been a lot of damage to businesses with some losing their roofs. Power has been out for a large part of the county for up to 21 hours. Winds have been clocked at 74 mph. Many trees have been blown down all over.
Until last night, other than the one tree blocking our driveway a couple of days ago, we've not had any problems that couldn't be fixed with snowplow or shovel and lots of really warm clothing.
Last night before Papa Pea stoked the wood stove in the kitchen for the overnight fire, we started experiencing large puffs of gray smoke billowing out of the stove. Ugh, it quickly got really smoky in the house. At first we thought it was the incessant wind creating a bad down draft. It continued to get worse before it occurred to us that, uh-oh, the chimney must have blown down.
Upstairs to Papa Pea's office we went to shine lights out the window where we could see the whole 4' length of heavy insulated chimney pipe lying off to the side in a drift of snow on the roof. Nothing to do but try to get it back up or continue to let the house fill with more smoke from the two pieces of wood and bed of red-hot coals in the stove.
We changed from our pajamas into outdoor duds. Papa Pea thought he could get the chimney back in place temporarily at least for the night. Then we heard a loud "thunk." The whole section of chimney had blown off the roof and landed on the deck.
Now he'd have to climb the ladder carrying the insulated chimney section back up to the roof. He insisted he could do it himself so I stayed inside shining a light through the window onto the chimney area. The wind was still howling while blowing snow. And my stomach did not feel so good.
Long story short, he got the chimney (and tool box) up the ladder (two trips), crawled between two huge snow drifts on the roof (which was possibly a good thing) to the artificially created snow valley where the chimney was. Or used to be.
Turns out when the chimney took the header off the roof it was dented and damaged enough that he couldn't reattach it properly, but it did hold for the rest of the night as I checked first thing this morning.
Bedtime came well after midnight. We looked but never spotted Santa and his sleigh sailing overhead. With the winds, he most likely had to make his rounds on the ground. As we crawled into bed, we may have heard a deep voice off in the distance calling, "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night."