Quill Gordon’s Obligatory One-Year-After-Irene Post

It was one year ago this week that Hurricane Irene was downgraded to a “mere” Tropical Storm and kicked Vermont’s ass anyway. Cowardly wench that she was, Irene didn’t stick around for what she had coming to her, and made it clear across the Atlantic before finally fizzling out somewhere over Europe, leaving us with nothing to do but try to pick up the pieces of our tiny, flood-ravaged state.

Photo by Victor Salvo

Repair and replacement of roads and bridges continues, though not nearly on the scale of the first few months, and here at Fish in a Barrel Pond we patched up what we hope is the last of Irene’s wrath just a few weeks ago.

The aftermath of Irene in this neck of the woods was covered in these pages for over a month and there is a tab at the top of this page that leads to a post with links to those stories, all neat and orderly, for a good look back at what she did to us. Most of the photos in those stories were taken by Victor Salvo, who in some circles is quite notorious. He is also an accomplished photographer and a good friend. He came to Vermont after Irene to help and to document what he saw as recovery efforts got underway. Take a look at the stories in A Project: In Vermont, After Irene. I think you’ll enjoy Vic’s work very much. You can also view some of his other work on his web site victorsalvo.com.

One year later it is obvious that, while amazing effort and incredible expense have been put forth, thanks to Tropical Storm Irene, some things will never be the same.


Shortly after the rain of Irene let up, a band of beavers took it upon themselves to seal a pair of culverts nearby. Victor also documented a good portion of the ensuing dispute as one man worked against the determined rodents to keep the water flowing and save a road. For some reason, Victor finds these kinds of things funny. Other beaver conflicts have been addressed previously in these pages but last year’s battle became dangerous, bordering on destructive, and it is (partially) recounted in the post “Quill Gordon Can Take His Job and …

The aftermath of Irene and the exciting, behind the scenes story of culvert maintenance inspired Victor to edit many of the photos he took, along with the stories told on this blog, into a book. That book, “Beaver Damage, a Vermont Story” is available HERE.

Vic’s photos are always stunning, and that Ken Hall guy is not a bad writer (even if his To Do lists are not exactly subtle). Order your copy now, or drop me a line using the “Contact” tab above and we’ll see what we can do about getting you your very own edition, personally signed by Victor and Ken.


It is late August and that means the beavers are active again, damming streams and blocking culverts in preparation for the winter to come, and I find myself, once again, mitigating the damage as best I can.

Thanks to Irene, some things will never be the same but it is clear that, in spite of Irene, some things will never change.

Categories: Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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16 thoughts on “Quill Gordon’s Obligatory One-Year-After-Irene Post

  1. It’s that time again isn’t it. Here we are one year later talking about whathisname…the next Irene. Thankfully Vermont will be spared this time around and I hope New Orleans will as well. I think it’s in the contract that you guys get a break this year. I think it’s S. Dakota’s turn, but who would notice? I’ll be ordering a book as soon as I find where I put my wallet.

    • When I lived in South Dakota I experienced just about every kind of weather, other than a hurricane or tropical storm. There is an awful lot of empty space up there …

  2. Goodness, Quill, that sure is a big beaver packing the culvert. Too bad you didn’t have the flintlock handy.

  3. Nancy Spivey

    It’s easy to forget, but important to remember.

  4. I’m going to start setting aside the cash to get one of the hard cover image wraps. It’s a shame that last photo on here isn’t on the cover. Classic. I’m glad to see all that effort in photos and writing made it into a book.

    We just had a little rain that put a few inches of rain on a few roads and closed them down, brought a couple of little rivers to just above normal and they’re calling them flash floods… and there’s a lot of whining going on about these little inconveniences. From now on, I’ll send them a link to your Irene stories.

  5. With this post you’ve assured me that 1. you’re still kickin’ and 2. you’ve been very busy the last couple of months. It’s good to see a new article from the hardest working trout bum I know. 🙂

    • I do still kick, and I have been kind of busy. Getting on the water for more than an hour or so at a time has been a challenge. When it comes down to blog vs. fish, blog lose always. Of course, sometimes blog also lose to recliner and beer.

  6. I haven’t been up to Vermont since the spring though I’ll be through before long. I’m not excited about seeing all the streams they’ve straightened. A neighbor asked me what the best way to take care of beavers was. My answer: .22 Long. Though a short might do in a pinch. Good luck with your culvert diving.

    • There are some places where folks went nuts after the flood and messed up some pretty good water but I’ve seen a lot of spots (in southern VT) where what happened happened and things are just churned up. I am looking forward to hearing what the final “rehab” plans are and seeing if some people are really as smart as they think they are.

      .22 long works better than short. Some day I’ll tell you about the 12-guage. For some, culverts are metaphors; for others they are a way of life.

      Holler when you’re coming through.

  7. This is so very…um, very…damn – what’s the word I’m looking for?

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