Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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Thursday, August 09, 2018

In which we survive a lightening strike

Taken the early evening, right before the storm hit
I thought it was odd that yesterday morning when I went to the front barn to start feedings, the stall where Earnest and the White Dogs sleep was...sort of in disarray. I couldn't put my finger on it, but Marcella was also muddy and wet which was suspect. But I went about my chores, and then returned to the studio to work.

The night before, we had one heck of a lightening storm about 7 PM. I was really scared. The strikes were very close, it felt like it was right in the back yard. We have 30 acres of woods behind us, and there are many properties with the same. We are near the coast, not on the water ourselves but the properties across the front road are, and we see the cove. The humidity and heat coupled with our setting by the sea made for a perfect lightening storm.

Martyn was cooking dinner and I was on couch [as it should be] with Muddy when it all began. Now I love a good storm, but ever since I lived through a straight line wind storm in Minneapolis in my then little house, and went outside to see the devastation after 20 minutes, I have been very anxious in storms. And I grew up with tornadoes. So when the strikes started hitting all around the area, and they were close, I was really...well, squealing. Poor Muddy knew something was a foul and he started shaking since his fearless leader, me, was not so fearless.

The strikes just kept hitting nearby, and then, POPPOPOPOP! and it sounded like it was in the house, and we saw a flash. I lifted my feet off the ground [like that would have helped] and was terrified. Nothing turned off, no circuits had popped, we could not figure out where it had hit, but it hit somewhere on the house or close.

Within about 15 minutes the storm passed after torrential down pours and we heard the thunder leaving. But the mystery of what happened had us perplexed.

Now let's make it clear that we have grounding rods. We also have one out by the new barn. We thought maybe it struck at the copper top chimney. But we couldn't figure it out, which was unsettling.

So, back to yesterday, the day after the storm. When I did night feedings, I noticed it–The electric fence box is attached to the barn wall and it feeds the electric wire that sits atop the pasture fence on the property. We use a top wire to prevent the equines from reaching over the fence for grass on the other side-without it, they destroy the fences, and worse, can get themselves in trouble quickly by getting ensnared in fence. And yes, I've witnessed it many a time, including two weeks ago when Boone got his shoe caught this way because the wire had been turned off while we worked on the new barn. While getting him out of the fence, something happened, I still don't know what, but he reared back -even though he had been standing calmly for me for many minutes while I retrieved a wire clipper–and started cutting the fence around his shoe. I went backwards on my butt but first hit the back of my head very hard, not good after having had a serious concussion a year ago. We both were ok, but not having a hot wire really creates dangerous situations, and it protects your fence.

That electric box was right outside the stall where the dogs and Earnest were taking cover from the storm. The sound must have been really loud, judging by how loud it was in the house. I'm sure now that Marcella was super worried and probably went out in the storm at some point to figure out what was happening. Fortunately, the wire there is wrapped, so there was no fire danger per se, but it did make me very upset, and relieved that nothing worse took place.

We are going to look at getting lightening rods for the barns, but it still could have happened. The lightening came down -we surmise-close to where the box was, hit the top electric wire, went zooming back to the box, and bam, blew it to bits. Electricity is so strong, it is hard to fathom it. I'm so grateful nobody was outside in that paddock.

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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~