Most of the time I am grateful for the acres of trees that surround our farm and keep the winds at bay.

One exception to that is when the mosquitoes are fierce, and I’m longing for a brisk wind to blow them off of me. The other is when the wind is so brisk it breaks limbs and tree trunks, scattering them about like toothpicks.

The latter happened a week ago during one of the fierce summer storms that roared through western Grand Forks County. We were listening to storm warnings on the weather radio while eating supper when there was a roar of wind, and then a second later, a thunderous bang on the side of our house. We didn’t know the source of the noise and we weren’t about to stick around to find out because a quick look out the window showed that wind gusts were bending big cottonwood trees nearly in half.

Our family, with the three dogs in tow, headed for the basement where we waited out the storm. It blew out as quickly as it blew in and, within 10 minutes, the wind had died down enough for us to deem it safe to head to the main floor and view the damage.

We were glad to discover that it was not a tree, but a large limb that hit the side of the house. The limb was big enough to make a dent in the siding and break a window, but it could have been much worse if one of the cottonwoods had fallen on the house.

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Several of the trees that surround our house did fall, but only one ended up where it needed to be moved. It was almost dark and raining buckets by the time we discovered a cottonwood had fallen across the road that runs by our house, so a township board member put up red flags on both sides of the tree to warn drivers. The next morning my husband, Brian, took the chainsaw and cut the tree into logs that he could push into the grove with the tractor bucket.

During the rest of the week, we picked up a few branches in the yard, but made the big push last Saturday and Sunday. Fortunately, we didn’t have plans for the weekend so we could work several hours at a time without being interrupted. Unfortunately, those were two of the hottest, most humid days of the summer, and I don’t tolerate heat well. I tried to compensate for the water that was pouring down my face and soaking my clothes in the form of sweat with frequent sips from a water bottle. I consoled myself with the thought that I was losing calories along with sweat, so my work not only would have benefit of making the yard look better, but also help me lose a little poundage in the process.

By the time we finished, we had removed two truck loads and several loader buckets full of branches from the three yards by the house. We left small sticks and branches that could be chopped up along with the grass when I mowed.

We still have a few downed trees on the fringes of the yards, but will tackle them a little at a time -- unless I can’t stop myself from working, come blazing temperatures or high water. In that case, I’ll grab a water bottle, ask Brian to get the chainsaw and get ready to chuck some logs.