Our thoughts are scattered as we live the aftermath of this tornado. We feel so much gratitude and so much strain all at the same time! I think I can say that we all have peace amongst the chaos though!
Pictures of our free stall barns:
We again want to thank all those who have helped us. Whether it’s been helping share in the physical labor, lifting us up in prayer, feeding us…whatever your part…THANK YOU! This disaster is too much for us to carry by ourselves. Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus!
We are EXTREMELY thankful that we are not attending any funerals due to this tornado! Manuel and Luis, two of our employees, were in the tornado. They were eating supper in their trailer when the door blew open. Manuel went to shut the door. He was sucked out of the trailer. Shortly after, Luis was also sucked out. They believe that the trailer rolled over the top of them just after they were sucked out. Both men ended up tucked under a large propane tank. What’s left of the trailer is about half way across the farm. Manuel walked away with scrapes and bruises, and Luis was out of the hospital the next night. The broken ribs and collapsed lung have slowed Luis down some, but he’s recovering. We are so grateful that they are okay!
Now we are trying to figure out the logistics of how we move on from here. Before the tornado, we had a decent system of how things ran and who was responsible for certain tasks. It was far from perfect, but things ran pretty smoothly for the most part. With the tornado, that system of order was blown to pieces (pun intended). In many ways, we are getting a new system back in place, but now with an unknown future.
This facility only housed our dairy cows. We had approximately 900 animals here. Due to injuries and trauma from the tornado we have lost around 275 cows. That number is still rising. Six different dairy facilities are now housing our remaining cows. We appreciate them helping us out! Now we need to figure out if they buy the cows or what we do with them. It might look a little different for each dairy we are dealing with, depending on their wishes.
The rest of our animals are housed in other locations which were not affected by the tornado. Sparkle (meet Sparkle here and here) is safe and sound in another facility. As of now, we will carry on raising our heifers and calves.
Right after the tornado, while we were transporting the cows to other locations, we had a baby calf born. So, we named her “Tornado” (bet you didn’t see that one coming 😉 ). She was “roughing it” for quite a while after her birth, due to the fact that she was born in the middle of chaos. Word is that she is doing well! However, with any traumatic birth, that’s not a guarantee that she’ll stay fine. We’re sure rooting for her though!
Considering the damage that was caused by the tornado, it’s amazing what was left to help us get by. About all, if not all of our equipment useful for clean-up was workable (skid loaders, telehandlers). Part of our shop is left and many tools were untouched. We were able to get some water and electric back to the shop. These factors have been a HUGE help in the clean-up process. We are still cleaning up. Meanwhile, trying to determine what equipment is worth repairing or not, what equipment do we rent…and now we are starting to cut rye too.
Our offices were damaged, but we’ve been able to get most of our records and electronic equipment out safely. We now have a temporary office set-up in Dad and Mom’s living room.
The tornado came in and rocked our world, but God’s grace has been sufficient for each day. We are still walking through many unknowns and still covet your prayers! But hey, what doesn’t kill you makes you tougher, right!?
Whatever, the tornado is in your life, keep persevering! It may not be very pretty right now, but about everything that’s worthwhile in this life takes a lot of sweat and tears! Keep on keeping on, friend!