Kristy Rammel
April 29, 2014

Tornadoes and Storms: Offer Your Neighborly Support - Photo courtesy Bo Insogna/Flickr (
Courtesy Bo Insogna/Flickr

As I sat down to my computer, coffee in hand, to add the finishing touches to this week’s post, the television in the next room caught my attention. The stories of total destruction, flooding and so many lives lost are a somber reminder that we are constantly at the mercy of Mother Nature. Suddenly, the weekly antics of kids and farming seem trivial. So, saving the blurb for another day, I started over completely.

Like many others, I spent the afternoon trying to prepare my animals and homestead for the potential severe weather. Strapping down, putting up, locking, covering, sheltering, moving—the list goes on and on. Content I had done all I could do, I came inside to start dinner and finish my thoughts and ramblings for the week. But those stories, the terrible, terrible stories literally shook me to my core. Even now, during the late-night hours of what the meteorologists are calling “day 1,” the death tolls are climbing, and there are seven confirmed tornadoes on the ground.

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Many homesteaders, like my own family, are simply striving for self-sufficiency. We put in the long, hard hours in hopes that one day we can live off the fruits of our labor, literally. We rarely allow ourselves to think about the possibility of losing it all in one fail swoop. Would we start over? Do we have the energy to do it again? What about the resources? We all know how expensive the first several years are. Money is constantly going out the door, and all we have to show for it are a few eggs we value at around $1,500 a dozen.

What if you are one of the fortunate ones that come through this wrath unscathed, but your neighbor loses it all? Taking human life out of the equation for the moment, what extent, if any, are we willing to go to help our neighbor start all over? While government agencies scramble to find temporary housing for the displaced families, do we have an extra stable in the barn for their horse? Or maybe just an extra bale of hay and half a roll of fencing?

Homesteaders are a community. While we may have varying strategies for planting or raising livestock, we ultimately have very similar goals. We understand the hard work, we empathize with the ups and downs, and we are able to laugh and learn from one another’s mistakes. So we should be the first ones to want to assist our fellow cultivator, even if it’s just something as simple as a few words of encouragement or a few manual-labor hours spent helping piece together the remnants of our neighbors’ lives.

The rolling thunder and flashing bolts of lightning outside my window are not-so-subtle warnings that I too am facing nature’s fury. So I leave you with a few parting thoughts:

  • May you and your family be safe.
  • A few seedlings, a couple of chicks or a few hours of back-breaking work can go a long way to helping someone find the strength to once again start toward the homesteading lifestyle we all work so hard to protect.
  • We are fortunate to live in a time when we have some warning of an impending hissy fit. The end result may not change, but at least we have a window of opportunity to prepare.
  • Finally, there are no words I can say that may ease the suffering of those that have lost a loved one. Please know, you are in my thoughts and prayers. I sincerely hope you find the comfort I know you so desperately need.

Until next week, be safe, be well, be kind.

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