Shakedown In The Woodlands

I had really been looking forward to Labor Day weekend this year, mostly because FD’s sister, Jo, would be arriving to spend a few days with us. Raising orphaned fawns, Emma and Ronnie, had kept us at home and not allowed us to take any overnight trips this spring or summer. If we did venture out, it was only for a few hours, as we had to juggle our plans with Emma and Ronnie’s feeding schedule. Because of this, we had not managed to take a weekend trip to Dallas to visit Sissy Jo in a very long time. I missed her, even though we manage to text each other daily.

Jo arrived early Friday evening, and we stayed up late visiting, sipping wine on the back porch as the sun set behind the trees. As darkness set in, we listened to night sounds in the woodlands, while a few lightning bugs lingered about in the warm evening breeze. We considered getting an air mattress out to sleep under the stars, but quickly discarded that idea when we thought about mosquitoes attacking us at some point in the night. Still, it was nearly midnight by the time we went to bed. I should have been tired, but I could not seem to sleep. Every hour or so I awoke, checked the clock, and realized it still wasn’t time to get up. I must have finally dozed off around 4:00 in the morning, because at 6:50 I arose with a start thinking I needed to get the dogs out to do their bathroom business and get the formula heated for Emma and Ronnie. I wanted to get chores done and have breakfast going early, as Sissy Jo and I had plans to go shopping in a nearby city that day.

I was just petting Bear and Mr. T and asking them if they were ready to go outside, when a loud banging noise got my attention. It sounded like boulders were hitting the roof. My first crazy thought was that aircraft flew over and dropped something, but then I looked out the back door and saw unusual movement of the water in the pool. Earthquake.

Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Standing_wave_2.gif#mediaviewer/File:Standing_wave_2.gif
A seiche (SAYSH) is a standing wave oscillating in a body of water. This is the type of movement I witnessed in our pool the morning of the earthquake. This animation shows a standing wave (black) depicted as a sum of two propagating waves traveling in opposite directions (blue and red). Similar in motion to a seesaw, a seiche is a standing wave in which the largest vertical oscillations are at each end of a body of water with very small oscillations at the “node,” or center point, of the wave. Standing waves can form in any enclosed or semi-enclosed body of water, from a massive lake to a small coffee cup. (http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/seiche.html)

Most of what I experienced those few seconds, were audible noises. Along with the pounding on the roof I heard clinking dishes in cabinets and items rattling in both refrigerators. Oddly, I felt no movement in my standing position. For many seconds these noises continued, and I watched in utter amazement at the water blopping up and down in the pool. When the earthquake ceased, the only indication that an event had occurred was the single pendant light over the dining table swinging gently from side to side. Well, that and bedroom doors swung open with exclamations from Sissy Jo and FD. “What the crap was THAT?” and “Did you feel the EARTHQUAKE??!!!”. And of course, Sissy Jo and I did not get a very early start shopping at all, what with all of the excitement and the live television interviews with folks who were at the epicenter, nearly three hours northeast of here. I felt empathy for those people whose houses were in shambles, and the business owners with structural damage and interior cleanup. News reporters exclaimed that September 3, 2016 would be a day not soon forgotten. At 7:02 a.m. a 5.8 magnitude earthquake shook Oklahoma and several surrounding Midwestern states. It was certainly an exciting and unexpected start to the weekend!

Image result for midwestern states affected by earthquake

As Sissy Jo and I sipped coffee on the back porch that morning, we noted that the bird activity and chatter was more than usual. Later, a newscast on television showed a radar loop indicating an explosion of birds taking flight at the time of the earthquake. No wonder there had been such a cacophony of noise in the woodlands!

I wish I had seen the reactions of our orphaned deer, Emma and Ronnie at the time of the earthquake. I wonder what our squirrels, Buddy and Punkin, were doing when the tremor began? Where was Daisy and her buck, Rooben, when the earth moved? What of the other mammals, reptiles and insects of the woodlands – what was their reaction? I was fairly certain that, true to their nature, their experience was simply one of being in the moment. The critters of the woodlands might have been startled for several seconds, but I imagine life proceeded quite normally when it ended. Not a thought was given about possible aftershocks or damage in the woodlands. I know Emma and Ronnie were just as hungry as ever when we fed them a short time after the earthquake.

But we humans do need to give some thought about what we have created and allowed for decades to take place with the earth. Oil and gas production has always been a major source of income and employment for Oklahoma. But there is growing concern that disposal wells, used by oil and gas producers to get rid of wastewater from the drilling process, could be a reason for the increased seismic activity that has occurred in our state over the last five years. The wells push the wastewater (a substance called brine – which is a mix of water and chemicals that comes to the surface with oil and gas when they are pumped from the Earth) deep underground, deeper than where oil and gas are found. And, water pumped underground in a modern hydraulic fracturing process, a drilling technique often referred to as “fracking”, has also been scrutinized as a cause for concern with recent earthquakes.

Little is being done in the way of actual research to direct moving towards change. Exploring alternative disposal methods and recycling has been slow to catch on in Oklahoma, and regulators have been criticized for not taking more aggressive action against disposal wells. I wonder what kind of devastation and loss will need to take place to prompt change and implement earth-conscious measures like recycling? And how long do we have before Mother Earth decides she’s had enough? I think we will all pay the price at that point – and I am quite sure the folks in Pawnee, Oklahoma probably feel like they are paying dearly right now.

© 2016 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…

 

 


44 thoughts on “Shakedown In The Woodlands

    1. Sissy Jo is a hoot! We always enjoy her visits. We have been fortunate here that earthquakes felt are on a smaller scale. There is a fault line just west of us but those tremors have been small. I feel for the folks in the area that is consistently hit hard. Damage is extensive and many folks are having trouble with insurance companies…. Not to mention the insurance rates are skyrocketing.

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        1. Yes. I often wonder when society will do better to help one another instead of allowing so much suffering. Often, help comes from folks in surrounding communities. The insurance industry does its best to skirt payment and the oil and gas companies are trying their best to drag their feet, hoping to avoid responsibility.

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  1. I thought of you after learning of the earthquake. In my humble opinion this is probably the tip of the iceberg since I see no end in sight of fracking for natural resources. No one in government seems to give a wit and for sure the oil companies don’t care about the environment. It is all about greed and how much money the top brass of any given company can stuff into their pockets. I’m glad that you were safe from harm and I pray that your area will continue to be safe.

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    1. Thank you, Yvonne. You have pretty much summarized the truth of the matter. Most everything boils down to money and greed. And the thing is, this disposal method has been going on for decades, and the fracking for many years. We are just now seeing the long-term effects and they say it cannot be just stopped because that too could cause catastrophic events. And yet, nothing changes.

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      1. What kind of excuse is that? Can’t stop fracking because it would cause additional catastrophes? That has to be the lamest excuse so that gas and oil companies can continue to consume the earth and dupe people.

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        1. Yes, what you say is pure common sense, and you’d be surprised at how many people have no clue about what is going on. They put trust in the wrong people. I am really hoping for a shakedown in government in a lot of ways.

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  2. I thought of you when I saw the earthquake in the news–yes, even here in Australia! Glad to know you are okay. Up North when I first came to Australia, there was an earthquake out in the Timor Sea. It was over 7 on the scale and even the shock waves we experienced were considerable, so I could relate to exactly what you described. It’s pretty unnerving. Very interesting graphics you found for this piece, Lori. Thanks for letting us know the inside story! Keep well.

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    1. Thank you, Ardys. I was never very interested in science as a young girl, but at this age, I love researching all about nature and Earth. I learned a lot putting this post together. I was especially excited about the bird activity that morning.

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  3. So glad you are okay. I hate earthquakes, but have only been a couple a bit smaller than that one. The radar of the birds taking flight is amazing, but as you said, the animals move on. Hunger takes over, and there you have it. The feeding deer are so sweet. The dancing legs are too funny. Curious: obviously the earthquake was the root cause, but do you have any other more specific reasons about the bang on the roof? Did something fall? Or was it structural stressing?

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    1. Hello Charlotte. I have wondered about that banging noise, but FD assures me everything is fine with the house. I think it must be as you say, “structural stressing”. Normally, the Oklahoma earthquakes are on a much smaller scale so we don’t think too much about them.

      Emma is a real delight to watch dance during feeding time. She often does what I call a “circle dance” where she puts a leg out in a circle motion twice, then steps forward on that leg and does a double circle motion with the other leg. She also gets a dreamy look in her eyes. I don’t believe I’ve seen anyone enjoy their milk as much as she does! 😀

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  4. Fascinating account of the earthquake. I didn’t know about the unique wave action in confined water bodies or the widespread avian reaction that you described. Thanks. learned a lot!

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    1. Trying to Google about the water to determine just what the movement was called was interesting. When I do a post I often research what I have witnessed in nature. I learned a lot too, doing this post! We’re always learning, aren’t we?

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  5. Wow! So good that you are all OK! We live in Illinois and (so far) no earthquakes here. I don’t know how an earthquake would affect the river and the bridge that we live by? Hopefully, we’ll never find out!

    We are way behind what constitues reasonable action, regarding going beyond fossil fuels. The greedy oil companies (and the government, catering to them) are mindless. Greed trumps the environment.

    The deer look precious! 🙂

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  6. Lori, I’m glad you were safe and suffered no damage. I’m loving the imagery of the birds on radar. What an amazing capture!

    We had earthquakes in California all the time and I got used to them. Most were just jolts that came and ended in an instant, but those rolling ones were something else altogether. They can last a very long time.

    The strangest thing I ever noticed about earthquakes was the “P wave”. It is the precursor to the earthquakes full energy… and you never would feel it or hear it unless you slept in a waterbed. The water in the mattress captured the energy and turned it into a hum. I was awakened more than once by P waves and knew what was coming next!

    I have lots to talk about, but will restrain myself and go to bed. Loved this post!

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    1. Thank you, Lynda. You must be doing great with your hand as your typing skills have improved!! ha ha! I’m glad you seem to be on the mend. We don’t get more than a little shake or tremor here – we’re not in a major well disposal area and fracking isn’t utilized as much here either. We do have a fault line just west near the Wichita Mountains, and occasionally it gives us a bit of excitement.

      Water beds are nearly extinct now. I had one back in the 80’s. 😀

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      1. It is much better. Thank you! And it’s the silliest little things give me a thrill… things like flushing the toilet, buttoning my own trousers, and giving my insulin shots independently. For the longest time Bob would pinch and I would stick. (Weirdly, I was afraid to let him do it, but was perfectly fine to do it to myself!) LOL!

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  7. Why did I not hear a thing about this earthquake until reading your post? Did I not watch or read the news that day? Was it not reported up here in Minnesota?

    I would find an earthquake quite unsettling. Thankful all is OK at your property.

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    1. Well that is strange that you didn’t hear about it. It wasn’t on the news long though so you may have missed the window of opportunity. I’m sure the reason it wasn’t BIG news was that there was no catastrophic/devastating damage. No one died. You know how the news crews are… If there isn’t drama and chaos, it’s not much worth reporting. What I saw mostly on the news was the number of surrounding states that felt the tremors. Even Wichita Kansas had structural damage on some of the downtown buildings.

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      1. I mentioned this to my husband last evening and he had heard about the earthquake on the 10 pm news out of the Twin Cities. I missed it, for whatever reason.

        Having worked as a print journalist for MN weeklies and dailies, I disagree on news not being worth reporting unless there’s drama and chaos. The reporters are simply doing their job and too often viewers/readers/listeners blame the media when they are only the messengers. However, I would agree that some media outlets over-dramatize, which is perhaps what you are referencing in your comment.

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        1. My point was more that this earthquake was probably not very newsworthy (in areas outside of Oklahoma) because there was no catastrophic damage or death. The only tremendously interesting thing about it would be the 5.8 magnitude felt in many Midwestern states. I should not have said “news crews”, I meant media in general. And I don’t mean that as a fault or blame. It isn’t worth sending news crews here when there isn’t extensive damage or even fatalities. That’s just how it is. People love the “Dirty Laundry” as Don Henley put it. I have no judgement on it.

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  8. I agree it is pretty bad when we are creating these “natural” disasters. Hope this will serve as a wake-up call. My friend lives in a St. Louis suburb and they felt the earthquake there. Glad you are okay. Karen

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  9. Omgosh! What an ordeal! I hope you all can rest easily?
    I love how you include information but especially the questions about your farm friends. I’ve been through hurricanes, tornadoes and hailstorms but never an earthquake. Unfortunately I do agree that this is only the beginning of nature’s appeal to us for understanding and balance concerning how we mine “our” resources.
    Advance apologies if I stepped on anyone’s toes while on my soapbox.

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    1. Hi, Roxie! Oklahoma has several small earthquakes a day. Most of them happen in about the same area. At this time, they are closing down many disposal wells in that vicinity, in hopes that will keep the earthquake numbers down. I hope it does. I will say it was quite exciting from our distance and we didn’t suffer any damages. I do feel for those people who had damage and loss. I think people need to be much more cognizant about the stress we are putting on Mother Earth.

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        1. I always find it interesting how regionally the news can be so different. I am originally from Nebraska. During the bombing of the Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, the terrorist attack was covered here for months by the media. On April 24, 1995, Ted Kaczynski, the long sought after domestic terrorist came back into the news, and my family in Nebraska said they heard next to nothing about the Oklahoma bombing situation but that the Unabomber was in their news daily. I never know just what dictates importance regionally, but it would be fascinating to know!

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          1. Wow, it’s that weird here, too. Today all our local media are camped out at a prison waiting for a former convicted mayor to be released – he’s out due to good behavior – but I digress…
            Interesting times we’re living

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  10. The birds in flight are fascinating. Relieved you and yours were at a distance.
    I’ve tried to keep up on the geo. news, but am unclear if they have discovered a “new fault” as in previously unknown old existing fault line or a newly created fault line. So hard to get accurate info these days and find reliable sources.
    So much political and social noise/confusion we really could do without the ground under us shaking, too!

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      1. I liked the perspective of the article in that link. Did you read the comments? Very interesting and some quite comical! Since we are an “energy” state, I do not see them shutting anything down for very long and I see them dragging their feet to keep from having to do very much. Oddly, they still attempt to keep these daily earthquakes low-key, but the population in the area where most of these quakes are happening are raising hell, as they should be.

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    1. Oh I know!! I’m such a sensitive person, and truly all of this political noise has me running for the woods! I do not watch TV much at all. FD tells me the highlights at the end of the day. I appreciate that – it saves my sanity!

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  11. Oh, Lori, I’m sorry that I did not know about the earthquake until I read your post. I tend to avoid a lot of news these days as I get a bit frustrated and saddened and most of what we get from the US at the moment is to do with the presidential elections… 😉
    Anyway, getting back to the earthquake, we’ve actually had a few in Queensland and New South Wales in recent years. Mainly small ones, but one in Newcastle 1989 killed 13 and injured more than 160 people. I’m so glad you didn’t suffer any damage. What a weird experience to see the water moving like that. I’ve heard that creatures will act strangely leading up to and during an earthquake but as you say, unlike us, life just carries on for them afterwards as though nothing has happened! We’ll be talking about it and pondering it for a long time. They really do live much more in the moment than us, don’t they?
    I absolutely loved that video of Emma and Ronnie. What a laugh! Reminds me of our goat kids and calves from years ago. They can jump up and push you over when they get big and strong and really excited. And the damage they can do to teats! Haha. Sissie Jo is sweet and funny and I love your accent! I just wish I’d been able to join you on the back porch in the evening too. What a lot of things we could talk about.
    Fracking has caused some terrible issues here in Queensland too. The contamination of ground water and streams being one. Landholders have had to fight for their day in court to get recognition and some sort of compensation. And fracking continues to be allowed in some places. We’ve done so much damage to this poor planet through greed!
    Thank you for another beautiful post. Now I’ve just got to watch that video again. Love, love your accent, Lori! 🙂

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    1. It’s funny about the accent, Jane. When I travel to my family up north in Nebraska, they tease me about the “southern” accent. But, down here in Oklahoma, the locals say I have a northern accent, and sort of a nasal tone. Of course to that, I think most of us agree that the voice we hear on video does not sound like what we hear in our head, and we say we do not like our voice. My voice on audio seems much higher pitched and softer spoken than what I hear in my head. I really wish it was as it is in my head. I like that voice!!

      The presidential election has caused me to turn off the TV as well. I do not listen to the media hype because I do not need to – I have known from the start who I am voting for. To me, it’s not about what anyone can say or do to “market” their vote. It’s a common sense vote for me. So much of my life has been about being practical and using common sense. I am not sure that things will cool down much after we have chosen a new president.

      We ate a pretty darned good deep dish pizza (Paleo of course) baked on the pellet grill that night. What with pizza, wine, beer and good conversation I can say we were living as kings! 😀

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  12. The thought of all those birds being seen on radar is incredible! I’m so glad that all is well now.
    Question: how long will you be feeding Emma and Ronnie?

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    1. This is the last week of formula feeding. Emma could have been weaned by now, but Ronnie is younger and I couldn’t feed him and not her. She’s all about the milk!! I should be done with bottle feeding by Friday. What a relief that will be!

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    1. I didn’t realize that earthquakes really occur all over the world. Here, they haven’t been catastrophic. I find them rather exciting, but then we haven’t sustained any damage either.

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