Wild and Windy Night

With power outages around Essex County, and kids home from school, I headed over to Good Harbor Beach after the storm to photograph the surging waves. One of my favorite-homes-to-admire, located along the backshore drive, suffered tremendous damage to their property. Prior to renovations, it was a charming, albeit tiny, pink clapboard home nestled amongst a grove of pine trees and sited atop a granite outcropping along the shoreline. With renovations completed, it is presently a lovely New England shingle-style home. I call it the yin yang house for several reasons– with the whispering pines juxtaposed against the constant roar of the crashing Atlantic surf, and because the shingles are stained seashell pink, which contrasts handsomely against the weathered granite boulders that form the foundation and walls of the first floor. They lost many of their beautiful pines that comprised the grove, which also afforded them privacy along Atlantic Road. There were at least half a dozen thirty- to forty-foot trees, upturned by their roots, and laying on the ground and across the road. At this time of year, with snow melting and torrential downpours, the ground is heavily saturated with moisture and trees are particularly vulnerable to being pulled out of the ground by powerful wind gusts. Fortunately, it appears as though the house suffered very little damage–all the trees fell towards the roadway and not towards the house

I find fascinating homes that are situated in close proximity to the ocean, surviving savage storms year in and year out. Case in point–the house at the tip of Sherman’s Point in the old postcard is the same house in the photo that follows. While our house shuddered and shook, I lay cozy under a stack of comforters and quilts, and found reassuring the fact that our home was built in 1851 and that we are tucked half a block up from the inner harbor. We sustained only very minor damage compared to what many suffered. Part of the granite retaining wall that supports our fence fell and now the fence is tilting, and one of the pair of the Dragon Lady holly trees is partially uprooted, but that was easily remedied with large stakes and twine. We gently, but firmly, guided the rootball back into the hole and pressed the soil around the roots. The tree is along a narrow path close to the house, so we were unable to wire stakes around the perimeter. Instead, we used two six-foot lengths of hardwood stakes and twine. Some were without power for days, roofs were blown off buildings, and the streets littered with downed trees and branches. I know I will be looking at the trees on our property and that of my clients with a sharper eye for pruning for safety’s sake.

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