While studying for my undergraduate degree at one of the top universities in the nation, Purdue, I was required to take two Science classes for my “well rounded education”. I took Oceanography, (even though I grew up in the Midwest,) and Dinosaurs.
One thing that I remember the most about the class was that hurricanes are unpredictable, that even with the world’s best equipment tracking them and saying where they will go, they can literally turn on a dime anytime they opt to.
While Florida braces for Hurricane Dorian and the rest of the nation watches with concern because the news maximize ratings of their coverage of it by literally trying to scare everyone in it’s potential path, and I look at the predictions myself, I remember that it can change directions in an instant, turn on a dime (literally), and dissolve for no reason.
If you struggle with anxiety, please shut off the news, especially the weather broadcasts. The news media loves this stuff because their ultimate goal is to get you glued to their broadcast. Watching it, I’ll admit, temps me to become anxious as well. That’s why I don’t watch, but I do prepare for the worst.
Prepping a 5 acre farm, 6 horses, including 3 minis plus a miniature donkey + chickens, cows, bunnies and of course our house pets is an undertaking. Key is being prepped for this type of weather ahead of time so that it’s not so strenuous. My dream is to build onto our home a large open art studio that will serve also as a hurricane shelter for our horses and livestock. Until that happens, we’ll do the best we can to be ready for a worst case situation.
Yesterday, we burnt the brush pile that was supposed to be a bonfire one night and the fire pit wood in it + any other sticks or branches we had that could become projectile injury creators for our horses and cows. Steve already started buying water last night and will pick up more cases as the next 2 days go by on his way home from working in Tampa. Additionally, he’s taking gas cans to fill them each day as well, on his way home from work. That way the generator will have fuel in case we need to fire it up due to a power outage, which is more than likely to occur.
We’re good on food and we know from surviving hurricanes over the past 17 years, including a direct hit from a category 4 and 5, that within 24 hours or less there will be multiple locations where water will be made available for free immediately following the passing of the storm. Essentially, I’m not too concerned about the water situation either. Worse case, we have water purifying system we acquired for such a situation or when the grid goes out and the apocalypse happens, whichever comes first.
Depending on where the storm hits the opposite coast we are closest to, we may or may not pull the horse trailers up in front of our home to protect the front windows. It worked wonderfully the Cat 5 hurricane a few years ago. BTW, we only had one board come off for that one and bunch of small tree branches all over the yard. God’s hand upon us was obvious, especially when He dissolved it while we were in the center of it. BTW, the back side is more damaging than the front of it, and that’s what He literally dispersed as it approached us.
Hurricanes are the most destructive natural disaster there is due to the variety of wind, rain, flooding, lightning, storm surge, thunderstorms, and tornadoes that often accompany the storm. We’ve taken on enormous amounts of rain, so I’m not concerned about that and with horses in Florida, I’ve learned to trust God to protect them from the lightning.
We’ll tie open their stalls and put hay in them, but they more than likely won’t want to be in the barn because of all the noise it makes with the winds. That is except Spirit, who went from stall to stall, eating the hay during the Cat 5, while Candy Man and Handsome Boy stood in the barnyard, butts towards the storm with heads down.
Horses prefer to be in open areas, at least ours do, except for Spirit until the hay is all eaten. They will point their behinds towards the wind and rain, drop their heads and wait it out. That way, too, if anything comes flying at them they will see it and have plenty of room to get out of the way from it striking them.
As for the minis, well, we’ll have the garage ready if need be to put them in. That will depend on the storm’s winds. If by Saturday late afternoon, it’s predicted to be strong enough to lift them up and away, we’ll put them into a make shift stall in the garage, to be safe.
We can’t do much for the chickens, but their coop is in a horse stall inside the barn, so I figure they will hunker down in there. And as for the cows, well, at least Flicka was out in an open field for the Cat 5 and she survived just fine. It will be Ness’s first hurricane, but I doubt he’ll fly away or be hurt out in an open pasture.
As for the rest of the prep, depending on the course and category of it by Saturday, we’ll likely put all the potted plants and patio furniture into one of the horse trailers. They will help to weigh it down, too. We’ll tie the picnic table down in one of the horse stalls, along with the two huge fans we use for the horses and secure all the bird feeders, swings, etc. away in the trailer. The bunny cages will either go in the other horse trailer or possibly in the garage, we’ll have to see how that works out when we get to that decision making time.
Tomorrow, we’ll get extra hay and feed for the entire farm and Saturday we’ll do the majority of what was mentioned above. Like I said, it all depends on what the forecast is saying, although I’m one to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.
On Saturday, we’ll use a permanent marker and write my phone number on the inside of one of each of the horses’ back legs and braid a waterproof tag with it on it into their mane or tail, maybe both. We’ll set the thermostat real low Saturday night to get the house super cool and I’ll likely sleep in my big walk in closet while Steve stays awake and alert throughout the night.
When the Cat 5 hit us head on I woke up as we were in the center and it was peaceful, but nearly lost it when I realized the worst was yet to happen, typically. However, God executed a miracle and the storm dissolved literally over the top of us. As soon as I could, I grabbed the flash light, rain boots, and coat and headed to the pasture to assess the horses, who were all just fine. Not a mark on any of them, although they all looked at me like, “what the heck just happened, mom?”
Waiting is the worst part, although I like it when they hit at night as I find it pretty easy to sleep through it. Steve read the Bible to me the first hurricane we experienced as newlyweds while living Fort Myers. It was Cat 4 direct hit that was unpredicted, but we were ready.
The worst is not having power, as the heat and humidity is horrendous this time of year. We’ll run our generator moderately, but do have battery operated fans that work wonderfully in such cases.
Bottom line, also, is that all we have to do is look back at how God has protected us in the past from not only raging hurricanes, but so many other things and been our Provider. That assures us that His hand is still on us and as we trust in Him, the anxiety really doesn’t have much to stick to.
So, thanks for all the messages and prayers to us. We appreciate everyone’s concern about us and most definitely your prayers! I hadn’t blogged since last week and since this is likely what is on most people’s minds, I figured it would be quite the relevant topic. Some might not know what it’s like to do hurricane prep, so it’s a peek inside our system.
Oh, one of the most important preparations is deciding whether or not you’re going or staying. We stay due to the fact that we can’t trailer all our horses out in one trailer, so we make sure we’re ready with batteries, lights, food, etc., all the little things throughout the year. That way when the panic starts to set in for everyone else, we’re not in that chaos.
By being prepared, it also helps to reduce anxiety for me. We’ll be intentionally feeding my spirit lots of life giving, trust building, God’s in control, reassuring spiritual food from the Word of God, praying, and worshipping as we wait to see where the hurricane goes. Although hurricanes are unpredictable in reality, our God, Creator of everything is not. We will be trying to keep our focus on Him, not the storm coming towards us if it hits us. He has the ability to calm it, like He did for the Cat 5, and/or us in the middle of it. He is predictable, trustworthy, and a good, good, Father who protects and provides for us.
What do you do to prepare for big storms in your life?
Battening down the hatches in central Florida at the Shematz Sanctuary Farm,
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