Friday, April 27, 2012

A Year Ago Today...

Right during the middle of catching chickens our power went out. Then our freezer shed blew away. Later in the day we watched a tornado go by. Oh, and I was pregnant. It was a horrible day for the state of Alabama. At least 250 people died. The scars on the land are still there. Communities will never be the same. This was the blog I posted a few days after that day...
Whew! What a week! And not in a good way either!
Tuesday night at 7PM, they started catching our chickens. That meant that we would be up all night and nowhere near a tv to watch the weather. Wednesday morning about 6:30AM, we left the chicken houses and went over to Lance's Uncle Jim (we farm with him) and Aunt Nell's house to eat breakfast. They live across the road from us. While we were eating breakfast, we were listening to the weather in the other room. We live in one of those stupid areas where we are in the Birmingham tv market, but can only pick up Huntsville stations on antenna. They did mention that Blount County (our county) was under a tornado warning, but didn't cover it.
As we were eating breakfast, the power went off. Lance decided he had better go back up to the chicken houses to warn the chicken catchers. Right after he left, it hit. We believe it was probably straight line winds, but aren't for sure. We saw trees blow down and all kinds of stuff flying by the windows. When Lance got up to the chicken houses, the rain was being sucked off the roofs, it was never touching the ground. He ran in house #3 and the catchers and him walked to the front door just in time to see tin flying by. The tin ended up being from the freezer shed out front. The before picture can be found here.
Here is the after. Since we were in the middle of catching chickens and had live chickens sitting in trailers waiting to be picked up, Lance had to go out into the storm to try to find a path for the trucks to come in to pick the chickens up because there were trees blocking roads everywhere. After the storm was over, we went out to survey the damaged and see where we could help.
There were huge trees down everywhere.
This is our next door neighbor's barn.
This tree fell across our road and hit some power lines.
This huge tree went through the roof of Jim and Nell's church.
This is a neighbor's shed.
This used to be a dairy barn, turned restaurant, turned line dance place, now turned into a pile of rubble.
A guy we go to church with had tons of damage on many of his barns and sheds.
This used to be a shed at a small used car lot in Snead.
This barn is in one of our cotton fields. You can see the before picture at the top right of my page.

Since we had no power, we had no idea of the devastation across the state. We did know that round #2 of storms was supposed to come through that afternoon. We were talking to some folks cleaning up on the side of the road when a police car drove by and said a tornado was headed this way. We drove home and got in the in laws basement.
This is what we saw outside the window.
Here is a picture one of our neighbors took from farther away.
This is a picture from our church looking across Snead toward our house.
Here's what I believe is some of the damage left behind from that tornado.
Of course it hasn't been "officially labeled" as a tornado, but those pictures don't lie!
When Snead finally got power on Thursday, (we got power Friday night), I had to wait 30 minutes in line to get gas. I think they had the only open station for miles.
This afternoon, our church started taking donations.
We are going to deliver it to damaged areas around our county. Since those places aren't big cities, they really aren't getting much media attention or donations.

Here is a map of the tornado tracks across the South. Sorry so small, click to enlarge! If you look just north of Birmingham, you can see the town of Cullman, to the southeast of Cullman, you can see the city of Gadsden. We are located almost exactly in the middle of those two cities. We're very near a purple line.

Lance found this paper in our backyard today. We looked it up, and Peterson is about 8 miles north of Tuscaloosa. If you look on the map above, Tuscaloosa is just west of Birmingham. I would love to know what happened to her.

If you would like to see more pictures of the tornadoes around Alabama, please go here.

This is an amazing video of the tornado that hit Tuscaloosa, it could be rated an EF5. There is some language in it, so you can turn down your volume.


  1. I am so glad we don't have to deal with tornados, even though we have had them up here. I'm glad you're all safe and sound. Scary.

  2. I'm not sure how I even got to your blog, but I've enjoyed reading it. I must confess I have farm envy, but I'm sure I'm only seeing the picturesque side of it.

    I travelled through your area frequently when I was a child (on the way to my grandparents) and vividly remember when that old dairy barn was a restaurant. I was always fascinated by the building for some reason. It is so sad to see the devastation from these tornadoes, but we can rejoice that there is sunshine after the storm and we can grow in our faith through trials like this. These disasters offer great opportunities to put others first and reach out with helping hands.

  3. Thanks for visiting my blog, Missy! :)

  4. Steph, I've said it before, and I'll say it again, you've got a real gift with words. You have a way of saying things that allows your readers to feel and experience what you're seeing and doing as if they were with you. I'm glad your computer is back up and running, as I always look forward to your new blog posts.

    Thanks for repeating your post from last year. I was actually feeling a bit down today, and seeing this reminded me of all the good I have here, and how insanely lucky I am. Thanks for keeping up with your blog. We're ALL the better for it!