My apologies to those who read this as well as my weekly newsletter; I decided to copy and paste, to save time. We’ve had quite the shaky day. Last night when we were about to go to bed, the cat was acting very strange. He was grabbing us and biting for no apparent reason, and being extremely playful. In fact, Gayle yelled at him from his bed to stop what he was doing! Mr. Inventor had given him a golf ball to distract him from biting, and Leif was playing with the ball in the hallway outside our door. Gayle thought it was one of the boys and got quite irritated when he wouldn’t quit! Another strange thing last night was that I got a terrible stress headache right after going to bed. It got so bad that at midnight I got up and took aspirin, then used the toilet, got a drink and went back to bed.
Immediately after I went to bed, I heard a roaring outside. I thought, “That’s an awfully strong wind. Strange that it’s coming up so fast.” Then, the house started rocking–ah, an earthquake. Then it got stronger, and stronger, and stronger, and then added an up-and-down motion to the rocking and rolling motions. Things started crashing in the house, and it seemed to take forever to quiet down. After about two minutes it finally settled down, although for two hours there was nearly constant shaking at some level.
I found my headlamp in my purse and we started through the house to assess the damage. The jars of jam in the hallway had fallen off the shelves, although only a couple had broken. The kitchen was a shambles; a stack of my nicest, biggest crockery serving bowls fell off the shelf and shattered, and most of the teacups fell off their hooks. The fridge in the laundry room came open and a 5-liter jar of milk broke. Then, we went out to the garage where we keep the jars of fruit, etc. What a mess! Gayle got a shovel and started scooping out the broken jars. He filled a wheelbarrow. We took all the good jars off the shelves and set them on the floor.
We spent about an hour cleaning up, then went back to bed. About that time, the neighbors came over to tell us there was a tsunami warning. Thankfully, that didn’t end up being a problem! The shaking was still nearly constant, with occasionally a big shock. We could hear a lot of them coming, with a dull roar. Gayle got up around 3:30 as usual; sometime after that I was finally able to sleep a little. All the children who usually sleep outside had moved into the house. When something like that happens, they like to be close to the family!
The power came on soon after I got up, about 6:30. We were able to get online after a little while, and learned that it had been a 7.5 quake, which started about 20-30 miles from us and triggered one in Kaikoura. Kaikoura was taking a real pounding; they had had about 3 aftershocks already of magnitude 6 or so, and were cut off from everyone else. The power went off again at 7:00, and didn’t come back till 11:30. Around 10:30, we went to Cheviot to get chicken feed. The feed store was, I believe, the only business open in town. They couldn’t ring up the sale, since the power was out, so they wrote it up in their book and I’ll go in and pay another time. We saw a digger heading north, to start cleaning up the road, but there was a road block preventing anyone else from going north. The road to Kaikoura has been wiped out so badly it will be weeks, if not months, till we go there again.
Mr. Inventor’s baby turkeys and ducks fared pretty well. We were worried about them in the night, as they’re so little they need their heat light still. Gayle and Mr. Inventor rigged up a battery-powered light in the night, but one turkey had already died. When the power came back on, Mr. Inventor turned on the electric lights; only one duckling had died in the meantime. Later, he gave the turkeys a couple of buckets of hot water to cuddle up to. They all did well, including two new ones that hatched during the night!
Mr. Inventor had to work on the water tank this morning. After the quake, we had water in the hot water taps in the house, but not the cold water taps. This morning he looked into the problem and figured out that there was too much debris in the tap coming out of the tank. He hooked up a hose to it and used the foot pump to blow it out.
We learned, sometime today, what likely caused that headache I had last night. There was a light seen over Wellington during the quake; it was also seen during the Christchurch quakes a few years ago. Apparently, electricity builds up in the earth before a quake, and then releases into the air. I’m guessing I felt the effects of that, and so did the cat.
We’ve felt aftershocks off and on all day. Most were minor, but two were strong enough that we went outside. The worst was at 1:30. We were all in the kitchen, and headed out to the lawn. I was losing my balance, so sat down, and everyone else followed suit. We could feel the ground rolling under us, and hear the water splashing from end to end of the underground cistern. It had done that during the night, too, and a river came out a crack in one end and flowed across the yard. Also, during the night, the septic tank had sloshed enough that the smell came out of the cracks in the top and it smelled pretty bad for awhile.
Little Miss slept through all the excitement last night (she was the only one who did). When she got up this morning, she saw the jam jars on the floor in the hallway. She turned to me, and pointing to the jars, said, “Boys. Mess.” She’s loved seeing the helicopters who have been refueling across the road from us all day while they help with rescue and relief in Kaikoura. She gets all excited about the “coppers!” The boys have spent most of the day over there watching the choppers land and take off. They have counted about 40 that landed, although a lot of them were repeats. Some came five or six times.