March Came Like a Lion


Erin C


This past week we had some pretty rough storms. Since we don’t have a storm shelter, my husband and I hunkered down in the innermost closet we have in the house and listened as Mother Nature hurled hail, rain, and tree branches at our little home. Through the roar of what sounded like a train overhead, all I could think was “my poor chickens.” At the same time that it sounded like the whole house might come down around us, I heard what had to be a bomb being dropped, there’s just no other explanation.

My parents texted after they emerged from their storm shelter — three relatively unhappy cats in carriers, mom covered in mud from a tumble down the hill to the shelter — “We’re safe and the house is fine. You guys OK?” Exhausted from a night of absolutely no sleep and the 5 A.M. adrenaline from the worst storm we have had in this house, we slept for a couple of hours.

When we went to let the chickens out of the coop and look around, we noticed limbs strewn all around the yard, siding missing from the chicken coop, and the source of the boom — we had a pine tree down across the yard. It had thankfully only landed on our garden, which is just a patch of grass and clover at the moment. There are a few shingles missing from the roof, and we are missing a couple of small pots that didn’t get wedged in tight enough, but we were extremely lucky.

As we took pictures and discussed what to do next, we realized two things: we are missing an essential homestead tool, a good chainsaw; and we don’t have a good emergency plan. We have prepared some for emergencies, but there are a few key things missing. It was different when it was just us and the housecats. We have a couple of gallons of water in our freezers and there are three freezers and multiple shelves full of frozen and canned goods. We have a grill, and we can turn scrap limbs into firewood if need be. We won’t starve. But now we have chickens and ducks, and in a few months we are getting pigs. How would we water them? We don’t have a good system for making sure that, if the power was out for a couple weeks and the water piped in wasn’t potable, we can water our livestock. That’s a problem. So on the list of things that we have to find creative ways to take care of quickly, that’s right up there at the top.

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