Friday, July 20, 2012

Storm Stories - Repairs

On Day 11 of our power outage a big crew showed up. They were here to put up a new electric pole and transformer. I was fascinated with this process, and took a lot of photos. 

First, Farmer John had to convince them that they could drive across the bridge. It was quite a sight to see.  Two of the crew, in addition to helping guide the trucks, were also recording the whole event on their phones. I guess it's not something they see everyday either. 

Next, they got both trucks up the hill, and scoped out the situation. Coco stayed right in the middle of the whole event, just in case they needed her help. 

My favorite piece of equipment from the day was one of their trucks. It was not a bucket-truck that   normally comes to mind with utility work. This truck was specifically for setting poles. It had a big claw for removing and placing poles, a huge auger for drilling holes, hydraulics to run a big tamper, and general crane-like abilities. I'm trying to convince Farmer John that we need one of these around here. 

There wasn't much else going on around here that day - these guys were the show. Farmer John and I camped out on the porch and watched all the action. It was a lot of fun. They really knew what they were doing. The whole thing only took about two hours.

We got to talk to them a bit during and after the whole event. Mike was in charge of the lines in our area. He raises cattle a ways south of here, drives his personal truck - not the company one, and drove back home every night to make sure his cattle had water. He and Farmer John had a lot to talk about. The other foreman is from Sistersville, and he could give us the report about damage to the county just south of us.

The rest of the crew was from all over the place. One from Indiana, one from Iowa, one from Illinois, and one from Washington - he must get the award for coming the farthest for this! The guy from Illinois has an aunt who lives in my hometown, and was eager to pull out his wallet and show off pictures of his kids - both redheads!  

Getting to chat with the crew made me a bit more understanding of the long outage. It was pretty amazing to hear just how bad and just how far the damage spread. They were a long way from home and working very hard so they could go back.We thanked them for their work, sent them on their way with gift certificates to a buffet in town, and admired our new pole and transformer. 

Next, it was time for us to get to work. With the lines off the ground and back where they belong, we could start clearing the downed branches. Farmer John fired up the chainsaws and we both started cutting up the largest branches into firewood, then hauling the smaller ones into brush piles. 

We ended up with one truckload of firewood, and eight truckloads of brush. Not bad. 

Also, we're very safety conscious around here. This is why - even when Farmer John is standing on top of the four-wheeler, using a saw attached to a long pole, and cutting the limb above his head - he wears eye protection. 


  1. This might be my favorite post yet. Awesome to see that bridge in action! Anna

    1. Glad you liked it! Thanks Anna :)

  2. This is my favorite post, too. You were part of history and it is amazing how far away some of the technicians live. Now we can understand why it took so long to get power in remote areas. I am sure they appreciated your hospitality. Your new bridge has passed an important test. Seeing Farmer J on his tractor cutting branches reassures me that you have not lost your sense of humor through all this disruption. Maybe buy a hard hat for him the next time you go to town! Thanks for the update.

  3. Love the descriptions of the guys, the trucks, and the work done. More impressive heavy equipment on the JBBF. Have you kept a list of all those things that have visited you this year? Even though the bridge was tricky to cross, at least it wasn't the footbridge!
    Also a very clever photo with kevlar chaps placed in the forefront to indicate your use of safety equipment! Good job!

    1. Mom, stay tuned for a blog post about heavy equipment. And I thought you might like that photo with the chaps - we always use when the chainsaws come out!

  4. Lorraine in WisconsinJuly 20, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    Your livestock have had quite a summer, especially being home alone during the storm. Wouldn't it be fun if they could talk and tell you all about it? Maybe you could teach them-----

  5. My brother-in-law does that type of line work. Its not easy. He is not around much as he is, like those guys are, needed all over the country. Great pictures. -Erich

    1. Erich, we are so thankful for the hard work they do!


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