Sunday, July 06, 2014

Answers to Comment Questions

During Hurricane Arthur I got these two questions that I didn't have time or energy to answer. I am replying now.

1. "Could you explain to this Dingbatter how the island generator works - for example, what is meant by '1/3 of the island will be powered' or what is the 'rotation schedule?' Also if folks have a private generator, which I assume is gasoline powered, do you plug things into it to run, say, your tv or icebox?"

The Ocracoke generator is not powerful enough to supply electricity to the entire village at the same time...even when there are only year-round residents on the island. Three "trunk lines" service the village. Tideland Electric can supply power to only one of these lines when we are on generator. So they rotate service, usually in 3 hour blocks of time. Private, gasoline powered generators can provide electricity for refrigerators, lights, or even air conditioning, depending on the size of the generator. For example, the Variety Store has a generator that allows them to stay open during power outages.
2. "When a large tree is blown over, with the root bed exposed, is it possible to use a truck or equipment and set it back up? Would the tree have a chance of living after such an event? Just curious. I figure it is NOT possible, but just wondered."

I have seen (and helped) neighbors prop up trees that have blown over in hurricanes. But it doesn't always work. Below are two photos. The first is a tree in my back yard that I have propped up. The second photo is of a tree in my Uncle Marvin & Aunt Leevella's yard that survived a hurricane many years ago, and continues to grow at a noticeable angle.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Ocracoke's Agnes Scott, direct descendant of Agnes Scott for whom the women's college in Decatur, Georgia is named. You can read the Newsletter here:


  1. Anonymous9:42 AM

    Would not attempting to cultivate a cutting (s) of the tree be better? Also would this windfall provide lumber for wood floors or furniture?? I guess the island would need a saw mill, but then the Waltons on Walton Mnt were isolated and they operated a sawmill. Also, has a tree expert
    weighed in on the matter of propping up a tree?

    I hope.your post office delivers many a post card from tourists visiting your island sending news of their travels. An entire generation is about to be raised not knowing what a pencil or a pen can do for a letter. It is a sad commentary on this generation failing to at least embrace the USPS in writing letters to say their congress person. Do you think Congress will read an easily ignored e-mail? Put stamps on your Capitol letters to be HEARD. Happy Summer.

    1. For several reasons, cultivating a cutting can be ineffective. Oaks are particularly difficult to root from cuttings. And, of course, you would then have a sapling, not a full grown tree. But if it is impossible to save the tree, I guess a sapling would suffice.

      There are no immediate plans to build a saw mill on Ocracoke.

  2. Anonymous1:26 PM

    when my father and mother moved to Kill Devil Hills they had a generator installed and operating before the moving van arrived. according to my father this was the best thing he did there. he has always had power no matter what the conditions. I always told myself if I moved there I would do the same. Go POP!

  3. Anonymous1:53 PM

    Philip, your narrative and pictures of the spontaneous July "4th on the 5th" parade yesterday and the photos today of the shored up trees are indicative of the resilience of O'cockers. Knocked down but not out!

  4. Anonymous5:33 PM

    you have to admit it wasn't much of a storm compared to Midwest twisters where the whole town is GONE.
    you guys did spit the sand out of your mouths though and are carrying on...there is not much else you can do do.

  5. Anonymous7:39 AM

    Philip, NC Mainlander has really appreciated your updates before, during and after Arthur. Sorry to see the large trees uprooted. So love talking a leisurely stroll under a canopy of old trees on your charming Howard Street. Good memories for me when my late husband, Scott, got his motorized scooter stuck in a hole near V. C. No worries, though, as a nice person came to our rescue, pushed Scott & his scooter out of the sandy hole & we were on our way.
    Any word on how the trees on Springer's Point fared? Those twisted trees have withstood many hurricanes. Hope Arthur wasn't a menace.

    1. Once we get the broken limbs hauled away you will hardly notice any change to Howard Street. I haven't been to Springer's Point yet.