Tornado on the farm

I'm a farmer in shock.

We've been desperately waiting for rain; the ground was excessively dry, made worse by the excessive heat.

And the rain finally came. With a tornado. A huge gust of wind filled the yard, violently twisting a cloud of stones and sticks between the shed and barn.

I leaped into the van. And as the van rocked back and forth with extreme winds, threatening to flip, I watched trees and half-trees tipping over one by one: black walnuts, maples, apples, spruces. Snapped off 10 - 15 feet above the ground. Big, healthy trees. Snapped in two, as effortlessly as if they were paper.

Sheets of water streamed from the sky. Old corn stalks and leaves from the next field swept through the yard like a carpet for half a minute.

And both greenhouses in the field were flattened into mangled, tangled messes of pipes, plastic, wood and plants.

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The back fence was wrapped in a sheet of landscape fabric that flew 1,000 feet. The hydro poles were wound with tarps.

Crops were flattened to the ground by the extreme wind. Lots of stems snapped in two. So many plants were sheared off by flying debris. Large branches and trees fell on some of the crops.

Many trays of seedlings - ready to plant - were flipped and dumped, and a whole group of seedlings flattened by dislodged tarps.

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We're all wandering around in shock. We can hardly believe the devastation. And to think that it all happened within about 20 seconds!!

Once the road was cleared of trees, neighbours and friends drove very slowly by, stopping to stare at the unbelievable mess. Asking if we're ok. Wondering if there's anything they can do to help right now. Telling about damage at neighbouring farms.

Fortunately, everyone is safe. (Fortunately, I was the only one home at the time.) The livestock are all safe. Damage to the buildings is relatively minor - barn roofs can be repaired.

I can hardly take in the almost complete destruction of everything I've worked on for the last several months.

It's immense.

Tomorrow: it will be time to start the cleanup. The repairs. And to think about a path forward. The replanting. The rebuilding.

Where to start?