Two Wicked Storms and Other Events

Sometimes life comes at you so fast, you can’t keep up, let alone write about it.

I’m hoping I can get this to you before something else happens. We’ll see.

On the morning of the 14th, I saw on the radar a storm coming our way. As you may know, because I am STILL in the middle of remodeling our bathroom, we shower in the bathroom in the barn. It just so happens to be our storm shelter also. When we built the barn, we also decided to make our bathroom set in concrete. The walls and ceiling are all concrete, plumbed and wired. We never set a door so that is a weakness in the system, but it has provided a relatively safe place to be if needed.

I woke Tom up early so that he could get a shower before the storm hit. I was expecting the normal wind, thunder and lightning but I was not expecting the straight line winds that arrived with intense furor. I texted Tom and told him to stay in the barn as he was obviously in the safest place. I later heard that the wind speeds were estimated at about 80 miles an hour.

When the storm passed, we assessed the damage. The chicken tractor with the Bresse birds in it was turn over, the tarp that was their side walls and roof was completely shredded off. The Bresse birds were scattered but all were accounted for. I tried to put them in with my adult layers but that didn’t work. That evening, they were out of the pen and wandering around near the chicken tractor they called home.

The “roof” we had built over the camper was shredded and tossed about. Even the landscape pavers that helped weigh down the metal in our high winds had been tossed from the roof and had landed about forty feet away. Portions of the skirting of our house had been ripped away, the many screws we had used to secure it in place had been ripped from the house. The doors to my brooder shed were ripped off the hinges. I was not surprised at that because the isn’t an unusual occurrence. I was, however, surprised to see that my back walls had been loosened and dislodged.

The carport to my mother in law’s house had been completely lifted off it’s concrete pad and thrown into the pasture behind the house. My neighbor, who has trees on his property sustained lots of tree damage as well as others around us. A building downtown had significant roof damage and even the north wall was caved in some.

As usual, I am behind on editing and posting videos, but I do have footage of the storm damage and will post soon.

The fifteenth was much less dramatic. Since I could not put my new ducklings in the brooder shed. I put them in a bottomless playpen-type area. It works out better to do this anyway because any mess they make is on the ground. I can move the pen as often as needed. I like this setup. I also posted a farm update video. You can watch it here:

I did manage to get a podcast discussing the storm posted that you can see here:

The first storm was Wednesday morning. The second storm rolled in very early Sunday morning. This made for a very eventful day.

Soon after midnight, my husband, who had fallen asleep in front of the television, woke up to see that we were in a tornado warning. He got me up and we set about getting to the storm shelter in the barn along with other preparations. We had about twenty minutes before the storm hit. It was a good thing. While Tom went to secure some of the animals, I attempted to wake up the girls. Teen girls are difficult to wake up. Kinzie was particularly surly. I did manage to get them into the barn and settled in chairs with blankets and pillows while Tom and I waited for the storm’s arrival. Flashes of lightning gave glimpses of the funnel cloud that would pass to our north.

Kinzie is actually a very sweet kid and she guiltily apologized the next morning for her crabby behavior the night before.

While doing morning chores, I videoed the damage from the second storm. My brooder shed had blown completely apart, the roof thrown several yards. Even with Tom securing the chicken tractor that held my ducks that were a couple of months old, it was scooted several feet. A bottom board was busted as it passed over the waterer; it, too was busted and no longer held water. The ducklings were missing. I believe this storm affected me more than the first, probably because of the missing ducklings.

As I was wrapping up my storm assessment video, I heard a strange bleating noise and my dogs were in hot pursuit. They had rustled up a doe and her young fawn. I chased the dogs and the fawn all the way to my sister in law’s pond. I saw the doe calling her baby then run away. By the time I got to the fawn, she was injured and my dogs were more than excited to finish her off. I carried the fawn all the way back up to the house and stashed her in the back of my car so my dogs could not get to her. I then woke Tom up so he could accompany me to Wild Heart Ranch, an animal rescue center, literally a mile due west of us.

We tried to take one route, but the road was blocked with a tree and downed power line. A neighbor’s barn roof was severely damaged and tree damage was everywhere. We finally did get the fawn to Wild Heart ranch and they stitched her up and put her with the other fawns already rehabbing. I was not allowed to video any of that, so there will be no footage. Church was cancelled that morning because electricity was off in many places and trees blocked several roads. We were out of electricity for only a couple of hours but many around us, especially in the Tulsa area were out for several days.

That evening, Tom and I captured and disposed of two large black snakes in the mobile egg unit and the Bresse chicken tractor. I think we were all happy when that day was finally over.

The next day, I was able to post a video about the Okie Homesteading Expo Kinzie and I had attended.

Later that day, Kinzie and I were both upset to find that my spotted boarling had gotten out. He had knocked over and gotten tangled in Kinzie’s pitch-back net. He had struggled to get free and died in the sun. My discouragement deepened. So much loss in just a few days. He hadn’t been dead long, so Tom processed him. We smoked him for dinner last Saturday. This little boarling was what I had wanted to save for my own breeding stock. I was beginning to wonder if I really was in the right line of work as a homesteader trying to provide food for my family.

It was not all bad though. That evening, by ducklings returned! I was very relieved…and grateful.

One last story: on Wednesday the 21st, I learned that we didn’t have water. None. After contacting the water district, we soon learned that we had a water leak, on our side of the meter. Tom stayed home from work and worked almost all day trying to dig up the water line to repair it. Water and mud covered everything and Tom made little progress. He then suffered heat exhaustion and was sick. I decided that I would work on it the next day knowing that the water will have diminished and maybe I could make better progress.

The next day came and I got up early to do chores, then work on the water line. I already had a problem. Wattles and the piglets had knocked over their 55 gallon barrel waterer. I was now racing the sun and rising temperatures to get water to my animals. Even though the water had receded, the mud covered everything and I had trouble even finding the meter. I knew I was in over my head. I decided to text my pastor. I asked that he put the word out to the congregation that I needed help.

Soon, I had one man bringing me water for the pigs, another arrived with a track hoe, and another to repair the leak. Within a couple hours, we had water again. I am so very grateful to all who came to help and also grateful for those who offered but were not needed. It was a great relief to know that my animals had water as temperatures reached the nineties.

This almost turned into a book but I believe I covered the highlights of the events over the past week or two. I pray that all of you are staying safe and cool. See you next week!

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