Aftermath, Day 4

15 horses is a lot to care for. A lot of horses is right! I’ve currently got them split up, my 8 in one pasture (poor pasture), Scottie’s 4 in another (and I need to pull 2 of them out seperately as the alpha mare won’t let them eat, heck won’t let them sneeze without her blessing!), the pony mare in one paddock, and the two quarter horses in another small paddock. The pony mare & the two qh haven’t been wormed and I want to keep them seperated from either Scotties or my horses. some of these horses are young, some have never been fully trained and are older (the perch mares), some are elderly and have special needs… All are still coming down from the adrenaline of the tornado, the changes in their farms, and then being moved where there are killer pigs and horse eating turkeys… At least the two qh’s aren’t jumping out of their skins anymore when either a pig grunts or the turkey gobbles.

Today feels like I didn’t get much accomplished- but in reality, everyone got tons accomplished. Feeding took longer than expected, but that was because I had “help”. Corbin, one of the twin’s classmates and a tornado victim, came home with the twins on their school bus and spent the night. He talked a lot about the tornado, said it was actually 3 tornadoes -he saw them as they smashed into his house- another adult friend confirmed there were at least 2 tornadoes that hit this area simoultaneously and very close to each other. From the way the damage is, even on our property, it looks like there was one large/wide tornado and a narrow one. That would explain why we heard freight trains, silence and freight trains.

Corbin talked about his Granny and Pawpaw and that their house was demolished (he was in their basement). He talked about how his barn was destroyed, how his Aunt Kelsey lost all her tack and her horse was impaled. I wrote to the Horse Group:

Turns out Kelsey’s Rodeo Queen Horse, Quest, WASN’T
buried under her barn, like I thought. Instead, the tornado destroyed
the barn around him and CARRIED him about 200yds, depositing him on a
bunch of debris- I don’t know if he got impaled by projectiles in the
tornado itself, or if he landed on broken barn wood and got impaled,
but when they found him he was almost frozen in place with all 4 feet
spread out, nostrils wide, eyes wider and shaking like a leaf. But
not moving an inch. Because the vet couldn’t get out htere and they’d
lost everything & it was night time, they patched him the best they
could with duct tape. It must have worked because they think he’s
going to come out fine… Unbelievable!

The psychological damage from this tornado, on both humans and animals, is going to take a long long time to get over. I know my kids, who came out of this unscathed and in a solid house, are emotional wrecks. There’s been LOTS of tears, lots of incredible sadness, a lot of possessiveness (as if they’re afraid something’s going to be ripped away from them), a lot of wanting Mama… a LOT of wanting Mama. Balancing helping those who need physical hands on help, and my kids’ emotional and psychological needs has been a challenge. It will be really interesting on Monday night/Tuesday night, as we’re expecting storms again (although at this point we’re not expecting bad storms).

I was able to take 2 big boxes of clothes to the collection center, and I also stopped by the High School and registered as a volunteer “with special talents.” That meant that I had a stock trailer and was capable of moving livestock, especially horses. I also signed up for vet help. I know my vet has been traveling around without his vet tech (she’s gone in a different direction trying to help as many people as possible), so I’m assuming I signed up to help him should he need an extra set of hands.

I really think I need to take an Animal First Responder course. I think there’s one offered every once in a while at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington…
Scottie and her sister showed up right as I was getting ready to hitch up the trailer and head to her house. Like everyone else, she’s had an over abundance of volunteers (nameless ones) today, and she finally had to run them off as they were starting to dismantle stuff her insurance agent still needed to look at. Scottie and her sister, Emma, finally had to leave and get some fresh scenery (and use a bathroom with real running water, not a portajohn). So they came to my place. After a welcome potty break and some serious hand scrubbing, we had some tea and sat on the sofa, and Scottie just started talking… getting everything off her chest. I just let her talk.
She eventually decided she’d talked enough, and wanted to go see her girls. So we all took a walk. We saw her horses, who were really glad to see her. We walked over to the barn and Emma met Scottie’s turkey, Alfred E. Newman. And Opie, our obnoxiously friendly goat, introduced himself to everyone (while hiding from the Dreadful Goat Eating Turkey). I showed Scottie and Emma the other horses that were tornado victims. Then I introduced Emma to my horses, the pigs, the other goat, the carriage barn (Emma is a horse lady as well)… we went up to the top pasture and she saw the 4 cargo containers with hay (THANK GOD I got extra hay!), we walked toward the back of the property and I showed them the swath the tornado cut out of our woods… and that we’ll turn it into another pasture eventually. Scottie had not seen all the additional fencing I had done to the west pasture, and that I’d actually turned it into two pastures, so we walked that way and half way down to the livestock pond. As it was getting late, we turned around and came back home. Scottie and Emma had to go.
That pretty much shot my work day, so I got Corbin, we went over to the barn and convinced Alfred E. Newman to go into a stall for the night (there’s a fox wandering around, who’d just LOVE his very own Thanksgiving Dinner!). Then we headed over to Corbin’s house-
It was amazing! The mass of twisted metal, downed trees, siding, and building material was mostly cleaned up everywhere. There were brush fires all over the place- an eerie sight against the dusky sky. Big tarps on houses, the Hughes house was tarped so well it looked like someone had wrapped it in blue paper as a present! Just needed a bow!
So I guess my contribution to the clean up today was to hug a young tornado victim, to keep him safe and sound so his Mom and Grandparents could clean up their disaster area, to listen to an older lady work out her emotions over losing everything, and to care for these animals who went through the worst storm of their lives.
I was also able to start working on tracking down hay for the farmers who lost all their hay- all the horse owners who’s hay was blown to smithereens. The Wonderful People at SOS Rescue have started sending items- everything from clothing to halters, wormer, vet tape, equine medicines. A few have started a hay fund, so we can afford hay for those without, and another group is working to get materials and supplies for fencing and building together.
What a great bunch of people there are in this world!

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