The wonderful news following Hurricane Sandy is that all of Howell Farm's animals passed the storm no worse for the weather. The horses, I'm told, were ecstatic to leave their stalls after several days stuck inside. They practically galloped in circles once they hit the open pasture.
Many of the trees on and around the farm weren't so lucky. Up near what we call "the green barn" -- the large storage barn closest to Wooden's Lane -- a stand of white pines is destroyed. Farmers have been throwing around the phrase "war zone" to describe the carnage. No official count has been taken, but it appears that at least 100 pines litter the ground here. The farm's hay elevator (which was outside the barn) took a direct hit from a number of falling trees, and so did some other equipment.
Elsewhere on the farm, signs of the storm are easy to find. Most numerous are the pine needles which have blown into every corner. A gutter hangs off the visitor center barn. A large pine, split in two, blocks the farm lane. Two shutters are detached from the windows of the farmhouse.
And then there's what happened to the historic outhouse. Flattened would be an understatement. It was torn to pieces by the wind. When I first arrived at the farm to start surveying the damage, Farmer Gary told me to take a look at what the kids on mischief night had done to the outhouse. He was joking.
Some good news is that by the time you read this, the Howell Farm cleanup will be well underway. When I left Howell Farm on the Wednesday after the storm, the farmers were already out with the chainsaws. As for all those white pines, Farmer Gary was looking on the bright side: Next year's saw mill program will be well stocked.