Growing up in the Ozarks, Josh and I have each seen and survived dozens of tornado warnings. Our houses didn’t blow down and we fought the urge of our parents for us to take shelter in the basement / closet / bathroom. However, all of that changed today. I awoke to my grandfather's call warning us of a tornado headed towards Sparta. Of course I didn’t answer the phone because who calls before eight in the morning? Then my mom called, and then Josh’s parents called, so we decided we should probably take heed and at least get out of bed.
The storm was severe, but not exceptional at first. We sat cautiously in the living room watching the wind blow and the sky turn a bright evil shade of green. Then things seemed to die down and we thought it was mostly over. The tornado warning was through and we let our guard down. All of a sudden the winds picked up at an unbelievable rate and the whole house shook. I heard a huge crash against the house and grabbed the baby and ran to the basement. I had no idea what happened, but I have never felt that level of protective instinct and fear.
Josh joined us and told me a tree hit the roof and part of the chimney blew off. We could see the insulation in the basement contracting and expanding with the changing air pressure in the house. My heart was racing and I didn’t even notice the odor of the forty chickens joining me downstairs. Josh cleared a place on an old dresser for Ben and me to sit and then he went upstairs to assess the damage.
We have a large tulip tree on the side of our house and the top third of the tree flew across our roof and into the front yard. Luckily, it didn’t puncture the roof and it all landed in the front yard. Our chimney cap is still bent and lying in the backyard. Branches are down everywhere and pieces of leaves are stuck to our windows but the house held well.
After I calmed myself down and was convinced Ben and I were safe, we returned upstairs. Soon after, the sun came out and I went outside to assess the damage. We have been without power since eight am, and it is almost midnight as I write this and we’re staying at my parents. I will load the pictures tomorrow.
When we have power again, one of my first priorities is to better organize and prepare our basement. The chickens should be ready to go outside in the next week or two hopefully. We have old banquet chairs in the barn that need to go down. After today I realize even more that seating is incredibly important. We’ve already got several gallons of water in the basement. I looked at Target today for a crank powered radio to no avail. We also desperately need new flashlights. I’m sure I’ll come up with several other things that should go downstairs too.
This afternoon I showered at my parents and Ben and I went to the Mother’s Day Tea at The Summit (where I teach). The fathers volunteered and served tea and dessert, the students sang several songs, and the parents gave each teacher a nice gift. It was a relaxing afternoon after such a stressful morning. I am very concerned about our power situation. Our chicks are used to having heat lights on still, and I don’t expect them all to survive the night. I am also worried about my fifty bags of breastmilk in the deep freeze and refrigerator freezer. Above all, I am so grateful we are all safe and our house is fine.
I labeled today's blog as family and firsts, because this was Ben's first tornado warning and this will be his first night to spend away from home. Family because today changed how I view my own.
Ben and daddy relaxing: