Michael Comes to Hart’s Mill

by Margret Mueller

Hurricane Michael, that is!
Compared with the indescribable suffering farther south, of course, we have absolutely nothing to complain about. Still, many of us were affected by this storm—too much water (on the heels of Hurricane Florence’s six inches!), too much wind (yards covered with nature’s debris), and power outages. Several of us went to the land the morning after with some trepidation. I was prepared to see damage to our Grandmother Oak, as predicted by Jake Presley two years ago. Remarkably, not a branch was lost!  
Hope and Paul walked the trails and did some minor clearing. They reported that a large dead pine came down between the tractor shed and the pump house, thankfully missing both structures as well as the trailer holding our two precious solar panels. I was also pleased to see that this was not the dead pine the Pileated woodpeckers had chosen for a home!
The positive side of a hurricane blowing through is that it tends to suck the humidity out of the air, so Saturday’s planned workday dawned clear, bright, and cool. The major workday plan was for trail maintenance.  Hope and Maria tackled our newest wetland trail while Jeffry, Margret, Lisa, George, Vanessa and Lizel worked on the McGowan Creek trail. We met Paul and visitor Jamie coming from the opposite direction, and we all converged on the cob house to admire Joe and Randy lime-coating the nearly-completed structure. Randy was called upon to give an impromptu explanation of this project. 
It was not until Jeffry backed the tractor out of the shed so I could mow, that we noticed Michael’s more extensive effect. A large pine tree had fallen onto the roof of the tractor shed from behind, crushing a portion of the metal roof and cracking three rafters! With Vanessa’s “seize the moment” attitude, a team was assembled to tackle the repair on the spot. With George acting as foreman, he, Vanessa, Jeffry, Paul and Lizel utilized our hydraulic jack and existing scrap lumber and nails, and Voila! The shed was repaired. Spontaneous cooperation in action!
Since building things is not my field of expertise, I went off to address a different “field”–one with way-too-tall grass and saplings, and made a good start on mowing. At 5:30 those of us who could stay gathered at the pavilion to enjoy refreshments and a fine campfire. 
See what you’re missing? Come join us on our next scheduled workday, Saturday November 10th. Details to be sent out soon.
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