Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Big Storm

Last night, the midwest was hit with big storms, thunder and lightening, and ultimately, tornados in February.  Keith was called out on vacation to go to Harveyville, a small town of 275 about 40 miles south of Topeka, which was hit hard by a tornado.  As he said this evening, it was incredible how an F2 tornado could make such a narrow swath of destruction through the little town. 

People automatically think that the federal government steps in and provides low-cost aid and loans to the people who are injured in these disasters, but that is not true at all.  In fact, since there were no municipal buildings hurt in the little town, they are not going to qualify for federal aid at all, and that is part of Keith's (unfortunate) job to tell them.  He did help coordinate disaster aid to them, however, and will be back down there tomorrow doing the same.  Debris removal will start right away, and hopefully, many of those whose houses were destroyed will prove to have insurance.

One man, unfortunately, was injured grievously, and may not make it.  Please pray for his family, who has been so devastated by this natural disaster.  Already in the next town over, though, are 1000 volunteers who are waiting for the word to come in and help, Red Cross, Methodist churchpeople, the Mennonites, and all those other folks who come in behind these terrible events, and try to get people back on an even keel.  They need our prayers, too.

Since Keith left so very early in the morning, I did chores here alone. 

This was how the big henhouse looked this morning... the door had blown open in the terrible winds we had last night.

If you look closely, you can see the dry interior of the coop just beyond the door.  This was slick, shoe sucking mud, about six inches deep, and if you look hard, you'll see my footprints.  This was the accumulation of feed, etc. from the winter on the feed room side, where Butch, Reddy, and Fancy and April live.  UGH.
Pile I dug out so I could get back and forth without falling on my tush.
I had to spread straw to do so, it was so slick.  We've never had this much rain inside the henhouse.  I unplugged the last heater that was plugged in, the llama tank.  It's done for the winter

Unfortunately, this was wating for me on the dry side.  It was Ruby, our oldest hen.  Ruby, Rosy, Helen and Rambo (Big Rambo, father of our Rambo now) were all adopted from the Olathe Animal Control office 8 years ago.  Ruby was still laying an egg every three days or so, and was a smart, smart girl who taught the other hens.  She regularly came over to the feed room side to lay, and hang out with Butch.  My guess is it was her time, and she must have falled off the rafters during the storm last night.  She was a great old girl.

Here is proof of Keith's engineering expertise... the hoop house stood through the 80 mile an hour winds last night, and is none the worse for wear!  And, in case you can't tell... that's a red-winged blackbird on the flat feeder, the first I've seen this year... Spring is really HERE!


  1. So sorry about's always terrible to lose an animal. And I can't believe the hoop house stood through those awful winds last night! Almost seemed like a hurricane outside. I stepped out to save our flag from sailing away and ended up getting soaked from the completely horizontal rain. This doesn't bode well for tornado season this year.

  2. Good to hear you are ok, but 40 miles away was way to close to home. Take care.

  3. I'm sorry about Ruby. I'm glad you made it through the storm ok, and I am sorry to hear about all the others who didn't. This year is weird already. I am worried about what's to come.

  4. Poor old girl.

    We had 80 and 90 miles in central MS when Katrina hit the MS Gulf coast.

    I'm glad ya'll are okay.

  5. oh my.. tornados are certainly something that scares me to death. Here in Maine, I have seen what one can do (yes, we actually had one). I guess the idea that you can't predict them ... at least with our hurricanes and blizzards, those can be tracked almost days ahead, and so we always feel that we are prepared. I certainly am praying for the ones that have lost so much. Sorry about your old hen, we lost a bird this past week as well.. my guess old age.... and so glad that you all have come thru the weather realitivly well....

  6. Hello to all of Mary Ann's blogging friends. Just wanted to leave a couple of comments that hopefully you can pass on to folks that you know. Unfortunately Mr. Slade, the gentleman that was hurt so badly, passed away. His legs were crushed when his house was lifted off it's foundation and landed on him. They amputated both legs but he had lost too much blood and did not make it. He had a fairly well constructed house and the walls did not collapse. But the wooden frame structure was not attached to the foundation and lifted right off of it. Mr. Slade was trying to go the basement and the house ended up crushing his legs. Anyone that is living in an older home that was built before the days of our more stringent building codes should look at how their house is attached to the foundation. A home that isn't attached to the foundation properly is a death trap in very high winds. Also, you need to make sure that your insurance for your home is adequate to build a new home in case of a total loss. If you have an older home that is only insured to the appraised value, you are probably way under insured. Please, please, please don't depend on the government to bail you out, because it often doesn't happen. Good insurance is the answer. The other things that every family should have is an emergency plan and an emergency kit. You can find guidelines on these at or the red cross website. And don't forget your animals. Buildings and cars and stuff can be replaced. But people and pets can't. Hope all of you have a blessed and safe spring and summer.


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