A Tornado Hit the Farm

This week we weathered a tornado.  What a way to get all hands on deck!  Everyone pulled together and we’ve managed to begin patching things up.

On Wednesday afternoon without much warning the skies went dark, hail pounded down, and the house began to quiver.  AJ and Harry were outside and I could see them pelting down the road to get into the house just ahead of the precipitation.

The storm ended after a few minutes, and I was puzzled as I looked out the rain-smeared windows because nothing seemed right.  The visual reference points were changed.  First I noticed the missing trees, then I realized one of the chicken coops wasn’t where I left it, and looking farther out back I was shocked that the turkey shelter and dog house were nowhere to be seen.

The turkey shelter is a 40 foot trailer, but the wind easily cartwheeled it over the fence and into the hedgerow.  The dog house is smashed up a few yards down the line.

Everyone scrambled out, changing into rain gear about as expeditiously as firefighters suiting up.  We found one of the chicken coops had been scooted across the ground, turned in a right angle from where it had been.  This is impressive, because a pickup truck strains to move this coop.  As with many tornados, there are often strange variations across short distances, with the chicken coop being pushed across the field while an empty cardboard box nearby remained unmoved.  We quickly worked to stabilize the chicken coop, and then moved on.

The hoops are crushed and the tarp is trashed, but the turkeys aren’t aesthetes, so they seemed equally happy with a ruined trailer so long as they had a place to roost.

We found the turkey shelter flattened and the dog house next to it, smashed to bits.  Both were thrown clear of their pasture and into the hedgerow.  Despite the deep gouges in the field indicating where the wreckage had cartwheeled past them, none of the turkeys were killed.  We brought the tractor and dragged the turkey shelter out, flipped it over, picked up the loose parts, and towed it back in with the birds to give them at least some shelter.  It looks frightful, but it does provide some protection from the rain.

Ash and cherry trees down along the edge of a field.

As we rushed to sort out the mess, I was pleased to see in one of the trees that had split in half a woodpecker busily eating ants from a newly-exposed rotten part of the trunk.  I suppose if I were writing this as a short story, this would be the place to use the woodpecker as a symbolic counterpoint against all of us busy humans working so hard to control damage, while the woodpecker just saw new opportunities to eat ants.  But I’m not writing a work of fiction, so I’ll refrain…

I cranked up the zoom to the maximum, so the woodpecker shows up fuzzier than I’d like.  Note that the sky had already transitioned to clear blue within a few minutes of the storm’s passage.

6 thoughts on “A Tornado Hit the Farm”

  1. Laurence Justice.

    Welcome to the tornado club! Ours was April 12 of this year. We stiill don’t have everything back in place.

    1. Well I guess if I join the the Tornado Club, I’ll be admitted as a Junior Member. The National Weather service only rated our storm at EF0, so compared to some of the big midwestern storms it was just a baby.

  2. Wow. So thankful you are all ok, even the turkeys! Tornadoes are so selective in their tremendous force. They always remind me of the plagues of Egypt affecting all Egyptians but none of the Israelites next door.

  3. The Lord was merciful to protect your family and livestock in spite of the devastation of the coops, trees, and all. I was also thrilled to read your account of how your family pitched in and went to work in an effort to restore normalcy as much as possible. Hat an unusual event this was to be so short lived!

  4. Dave
    I’m so sorry! You work so hard and in a few minutes it’s wrecked. The unmoved cardboard box is mind blowing to me. I’ve only ever witnessed the damage of a micro storm which was like a tornado in the same respect, in a few minutes huge old trees were ripped in half.
    Please don’t be offend for me asking , but I’d like to contribute something to the cost of repairs. I live mostly in Florida now so I can’t buy your birds.
    Please let me know if that would be possible.
    * love the woodpecker, but most of all love that you noticed it while seeing the costly and labor intensive damage to your farm !

    1. Hi Diane, thanks for the offer. But I think we’ll be fine. I was planning on making some changes to the turkey coop anyway, so this just kinda pushed things along a little sooner than I anticipated… Dave

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