Monday, July 27, 2015

How can I help?

When disaster strikes human compassion kicks in, closets and cupboards are emptied. We all want to do our part to help those in desperate need. Most organizations who offer disaster relief will publish guidelines on what to donate. The Red Cross wants money, and your blood. Local charities will have varying guidelines for what to donate. I personally believe donating on a small community level is often better than donating to a big charity. While the Red Cross is helping with the local flood, the bulk of the charity work is being done by local organizations. A local homemaker society is feeding hundreds of people a day, local fire departments have set up shower stations, and our local Johnson County Long-Term Recovery Group has been working hard to ensure the needs of everyone has been met. Check with your local charities to see what the need is, and how you can help meet that need. Here is a list of some of the items, outside of the commonly donated clothes, water, and food, that local charities have found themselves in need of during this most recent disaster.

Laundry detergent
Large adult diapers
Child size Diapers
Feminine hygiene products (probably bone of the least donated items)
Plastic totes
Bug spray (especially important during water disasters)
Garbage cans
Heavy duty Garbage bags
Extension cords
Paper plates/cups/utensils

East Kentucky is blessed with an over abundance of talented musicians. The local boys who make up country music duo Sundy Best hosted a free concert that drew thousands of people and raised $50,000 to help flood victims. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A lesson in starting over

I live in a magical place where neighbors help neighbors. A place where when disaster strikes whole communities pull together. A land where communities and cities dig out from the rubble and rebuild bigger and better.

The weekend of July 11th I took my oldest niece on a whirlwind road trip, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. It was raining when we left. Flood warnings followed us across the state of West Virginia. When we crossed the line into Maryland we hit prefect weather that would stay with us throughout the weekend. Sometime after Midnight Monday morning we crossed back into West Virginia and ran headlong into another awful storm.

I pulled into my driveway sometime after 6am and went straight to sleep. I slept through a monster storm.

When I awoke we were getting the first few reports of people and homes being washed away in my county, near the where my mother lives.  Slowly my facebook newsfeed filled up with pictures, and stories of devastation. Twenty mobile homes were swept down stream from a trailer court. 150 homes in all where flooded or washed away in the storm. It took the flash flood 3 minutes to wash over the bank and fill homes to the roof line with murky, muddy water. My the paternal aunt and grandfather of my nieces lost everything as their homes were located near the creek. They made it out alive, but four others would not be so lucky. One was a wheelchair bound boy with cerebral palsy, whose mother watch helpless has the water pulled him from her grasp. Another was an grandmother and grandson. The grandson had already pulled several other family members to safety, he was fighting the flood water with his grandmother on his back and a young boy under his arm. The boy was found alive in a tree.

International news outlets have picked up this story. A German foreign exchanged student shared with us a news clipped from his local papers report on this flood.

Everyone is doing their part to restore order, dig out and rebuild. Neighbors helping neighbors, communities rebuilding. One local Sheriff's Deputy has even started carrying pet food in his car so he can find pets displaced by the flood and reunite them with their owners. No one carries the burden alone.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Chicken Explosion

At the start of spring we had somewhere around 14 chickens. I counted our flock today and we have 50 birds. Most will go into the freezer. We have added 3 PVC mobile runs to our set up. These are super easy to make, and very easy to move. A single person can easily move one of these runs around the yard. We still have 2 brooders full of baby chicks in the kitchen. Very exciting times here on the homestead.

 We have added some Ameraucanas and Cochin's to our flock. Some of the new chicks came from an egg swap with a neighbor who also raises chickens. The white and black spotted chicken is one of our mutts, a Australorp/Tetra mix.

This is the garden. We got a late start on the garden this year. We had to run an electric fence around the perimeter to keep the neighbors HUGE St. Barnard out. This is not as big as the garden we grew last year. Part of this was because we were a month late getting the garden planted, and partly because we were overwhelmed last year trying to can and freeze everything.

This cute little bunny likes to hang out in our backyard near were we have planted our asparagus bed, and a few Hillbilly Tomatoes.