What I Learned From Irma

Oh my gosh!  The Hurricane won’t kill you but the prep before the storm will.  If that doesn’t get you the cleanup after is sure to finish you off.

Well the whole “Wolf” thing came into play.  You don’t want to do too much too soon just in case it doesn’t come your way, but you’re afraid not to.  I was going with the thought we were going to get nailed and Bob said no it will turn away.  It was so impossible to predict until the last moment and then it’s path changed in mid stream.  So for four days I carried things I could never move, lifted things like Superman and worked at a speed that I haven’t done in years.

I was exhausted, and hurting all over.  I thought back to 2004 when Charlie was supposed to get us.  I didn’t remember hurting this bad and falling into bed passing out on my way down.  Of course not, I was 13 years younger.  Wow does 13 years make that much of a difference?  You bet it does.  I only realize that now that it’s over and I can think clearly again.  Four days to prepare and so far a week to cleanup, and we still have to undo and put things back where they belong.  The jump poles feel heavier this year for some reason.

A woman stopped me in Publix on Saturday and told me I looked tired.  Seriously!!!!  I just smiled and told her it was a tough week.  Hello?  Where have you been?

We only lost electric for seven and a half hours, but the phone and internet was down for four days, and it’s still questionable.  Verizon, for as much as everyone complains, worked perfect through the whole mess.  AT&T and Sprint lost towers.  It’s one day over a week and almost everyone has power.  We were not hit like South Florida or the Keys were.  We were Blessed.  Everyone I know just had a lot of  branch cleanup except for one couple who had a big Grandfather Oak land right on their brand new house.  They’ve only been in it for a couple of months.  They went up to stay with family in North Carolina and won’t even come back to look at what’s left.  I feel so bad for them.  They are still in shock and their insurance will only cover half.

So how did my plan go and what did I learn.  First of all I learned that I’m too old for this stuff.  Secondly I learned that my plan works.  The meteorologists said it was going right, then straight, then left of us.  Surprise!!  The eye came right over us.  By the time it got to us it was a Cat 1 or 2.  We had about 100 mile per hour winds.  But the noise that wind made was unbelievable.  I heard this horrible noise at 2:00 a.m., thought yes it’s here.  I thought that the one oak tree could come down right on my bedroom, gave the whole situation to the Lord, turned over and went back to sleep.  Bob however, got up with the flashlight and looked outside.  The next morning he said he’s getting out before the next storm comes.  He saw the big oaks bending over in the wind.  I told him we made it through with no damage, why would you leave?  He just gave me that look.

We figured our barn was good to 120 mph.  It wasn’t even fazed by the storm.  I kept the horses in because with my neighbors, I felt that UFO’s would be more of a problem than the barn caving in.  I was right.  I thought we’d lose some shingles on the house, but no, it was fine too.  God did a lot of tree pruning, so the property was a mess, and since it’s still mowing season that had to be cleaned up before we could cut.

I had extra horses because people were afraid and moved them to a safer place.  So I figured I’d go for extra grain, hay and bedding before any one else panicked.  I went on Tuesday before the storm was going to hit us on Sunday night.  Everyone else had the same idea.  I wasn’t so much worried that they would run out of grain as much as I was afraid their warehouse would get damaged and they would be closed after the storm.

Secured all the jumps in the corner of the pasture.  Tied them together to the fence.  Filled all the troughs, not so much to have extra water because we have a generator and extra gas, but to keep them from blowing around the pastures.  Secured all the gates, and removed hoses, and buckets.  Picked up anything that would become a missile.  Put break-a-way halters on the horses even though they would be in the barn.  The only thing that I had a problem with is the fact that I had name tags to braid in their tails and attach to the halters, but I didn’t have new ones for the new horses.  So I used tags from the horses that have crossed the Rainbow Bridge and just put the new horses names on with a Sharpie.

So the bottom line is don’t only prepare for the storm, think of what you are going to run into after the storm.  There was no gas after the storm, because there was no electric to run the pumps.  We had plenty of gas shipped in prior to the storm because of President Trump’ careful planning.  Fuel trucks had police escorts to get them to the stations.  People were going crazy trying to buy water.  Take old gallon jugs from juice or whatever and fill them.  Store extra gas for the generator or your vehicle because you don’t know how long everyone is going to be without it.  Get a generator.  Get name tags or spray paint to put your number on your horses.  Don’t do hoofs, it will wear off.  Put your cell phone number on, your house phone may not be working, but then your cell phone might not either.  Perhaps give a number of a friend or relative in another state for them to contact.  Same thing with your dogs and cats.  The shelters are filled with strays that have been picked up.

Make sure your shots are up to date.  Especially tetanus.  Mosquito control came by last night spraying.  The little monsters have been very active so shots for mosquito borne diseases are also a necessity.  Dump all standing water from the storm to keep breeding to a minimum.  Have your Coggins and any other important papers in a water tight bag or container.  Keep enough grain for a week to two weeks after the storm, but make sure that it’s protected from water.  Don’t forget to have meds for all people and animals to get you through a couple of weeks.  All stores and restaurants were closed for days because of no electric.  All food, dairy, and produce had to be thrown away so stores did not have anything even after they opened.

My Farrier was here yesterday and told me that he had been moving horses north for other people the whole week prior to the storm.  I asked him about the traffic on I 75, because it was crawling bumper to bumper for days before the storm, and to have horses stuck in a hot trailer when traffic is not moving will cause great harm.  He said they moved them at night.  The top speed was still only 40 mph but it was moving and cool.

It’s nice to know that all your plans and prep work are right on target.  It’s nicer not to have to try it out in real-time.  Thanks to all the people who sent up prayers for us.  We appreciated it and God was good.  Please keep praying for the people in the Islands, Keys, and South Florida.  They have a tough road ahead of them.  And especially pray for the Utility Workers, Police, National Guard, Fire Fighters, First Responders, and Volunteers who gave up their lives to come and save ours.  Also keep in mind the Animal Shelters who are taking in all the animals that have lost their homes and families.  Not to mention the wild animals who are without fresh water in the Keys.  The salt water mixed with the fresh.  They showed this morning on the news some Firemen who stopped and gave a bottle of their water to a dehydrated deer who drank two bottles of water and then went on his way.  How many won’t be that lucky?

There is so much out there that we are not even aware of.  The devastation that Irma has caused and now Maria is causing is going to last a while.  Be Thankful for what you have, so many no longer even have housing, or fresh water.

This has been a little long, but it makes up for last week.

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