Sunday, July 22, 2012

Storm Stories - Lessons Learned

Throughout the 12, hot, trying days after our recent storm it was easy to get frustrated. Words were said and tears were shed. However, we gained some lessons from the ordeal. 

1- Be prepared 
We are accustomed to losing power around here. We keep plenty of batteries, flashlights, and kerosene lamps on hand. After the lengthy outage, we know what should be on hand at all times. Obtaining water was the major challenge, so we’ll stock up on drinking water. (Farmer John has been working on a big water project all week – stay tuned!) Of course, we store food for the winter, but it would be nice to have some food around that is ready-to-eat. 

We ran into several health issues with our livestock and pets throughout the outage. We couldn’t reach our large-animal vet, and our main cattle resource (the internet) wasn’t available to us. So, I acquired a couple animal health books that will hopefully be a good resource for future animal emergencies. 

We have some more ideas of how to prepare the farm for a future emergency. We won’t become survivalists or even “preppers”, but the recent events have certainly opened our eyes as to what should be in place. 

2- Take care of each other 
Maybe this is obvious. But, it seems to be a lesson we keep learning over and over again. Family, friends, and neighbors are so critical for the daily success of this farm. During the storm aftermath and cleanup, many people offered their help to us as well as members of our community that were affected. I’ve never lived through a natural disaster, but this storm came pretty close. It’s comforting to know that, for the most part, the best in people comes out and we will care for one another. 

3- Keep a bottle of champagne in the fridge 
This goes right along with being prepared. My mom gave us a bottle to open when the bridge project was over. It sat in our fridge a LONG time, mocking our too-short-bridge, and we’ve just never found the right time to open it. Thanks to the generator, the bottle was cold when the power came back during the afternoon of the twelfth day. We cracked that baby open because when the lights and air conditioning came back, it was truly a reason to celebrate. 

4- Yes, it could happen to you 
Sure, we live on a farm, out in the country, we were bound to lose power in a big storm. Of course since we are out in the country, the work crews didn’t get to us right away. What surprised me the most was that people in town lost power, and theirs stayed off for a long time. People right in the center of our town were without power for over a week. Farmer John’s parents, who live in a neighborhood very close to town, went eleven days before their lights came back. So, no matter where you live take a moment to think about some of the situations that could happen, and then refer back to Lesson #1. 

Thanks for reading about our storm adventure this week. We’ll get back to stories from the farm soon. In the meantime, go check your flashlight batteries and get some jugs of water. Really, go do it!


  1. I think you have written a very thoughtful reflection on what you endured. You and John are smart, strong, and creative. Those are the things upon which we all should stock up!
    In the basement I have amassed things for an emergency. Those are intended for the circumstance in which we might have to flee. A Prius and extra gas is a good thing, too. And dog food!
    Thank you for well-written installments of "Storm Stories"!

  2. Lorraine in WisconsinJuly 22, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    Ok, I will check everything! It never hurts to be reminded and often helps to have this advice from someone who has just lived through a difficult situation. We've had power outages too, though never so long as yours. I appreciate your sharing the experiences through your blog. And hooray for the good people from around the country who were able to travel east to help out with the restoration of power. We have some friends who work for the Eau Claire Electric Cooperative who did so (though I don't know if they went to your area) and so am aware of the sacrifices they and their families made to help others, and did so with no complaints.


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