1. No one was hurt.
2. Other than a few shingles the house wasn't damaged
3. Everything lost was replaceable or fixable
4. The livestock and barn kitties were all OK
5. We have wonderful family and friends that came to help and/or offered support
6. We had electricity
7. We didn't lose anything that contributes to our family's livelihood
8. Just a foot or two change in the direction of the windmill fall we could have lost the cars, part of the house and the electrical power pole
9. God watches over us and provides for us
2:00 am -- woke up to strobe like lightning off to the north. I got up and checked the radar and nothing showed up as severe or worrisome so I went back to bed.
About 45 minutes later Alan and I both woke up to sound of terrible winds and heavy rain with possibly some hail mixed in. Alan went to turn on the TV to check the radar. I went into the living room and quickly called to Alan to come help. The storm had sucked our living room window open and the curtains were blowing out the window and rain was coming in. Alan ran outside to push it shut while I tried to hold it closed and stop the rain pouring in. Managed to completely smash and skin my finger in the process so someday when the kids ask where I received that scar I'll be able to tell them a great story. After that we were too awake to go back to bed. We watched the radar but it still just said heavy rain. We stayed up and watched out the windows as the wind battered the rain everywhere and the trees bent over in protest. We knew we had some branches down since we could see them in the front yard but the rain was so heavy and wind so strong we couldn't see far even during lightning strikes. Finally it settled down enough that we didn't feel we would need to take the boys to the basement. We read for awhile before finally succumbing to sleep once again.
A little before six, Alan comes in the bedroom and tells me I need to get up and come look outside. So we go out with the camera and documented all the destruction. Our old windmill fell down along with the tree that was wrapped in it. It took out the well house too. The male and female cherry trees were missing huge limbs. It looked like they would have to be completely torn down but we did manage to selvage a portion of each. Talk about my poor fruit trees just being pummeled this year! The big old maple tree in the front yard had many of the top branches torn out and thrown all over the yard.
Two of the evergreen trees that we transplanted last fall were uprooted.
The garden was laid flat and my summer squash is just missing - ripped completely out of the ground and blown away. (That's where my zucchini used to be).
The glads flattened; however, luckily enough we had considered putting their support fence up last night but we were just too tired. Had we done that I truly would have lost them all because I'm afraid that wind would have just snapped them in half over the support wires. I would rather have them laying flat - better chance of straightening them up. There were some shingles off the roof of the house and some damage done to the chicken barn's roof.
Finally, we are sure our big, old barn is probably skinnier than it was yesterday. The metal support in the door is bent up in a V and the North side looks like a large hand pushed it inward.
All in all though we were lucky. Our neighbors lost a huge chunk of a very large cottonwood tree and their barn (which also threw wood into the side of their nice, new metal shed). As we took stock; even though it was very early, I called my dad. Since he hauls machines during detasseling season I figured I better call early in case he was out on a machine run. One great thing about where he works is that they understand and told him to come help us.
After the boys woke up and ate breakfast we sat a blanket out in the front yard with a bunch of toys and I helped Alan clean up the front yard. Clark helped too by picking up sticks and raking. Such a good helper. As we began work the sound of chainsaws could be heard in town and that was when we knew it must be much more widespread than just our area.
As we were working our friends who live in Ames called to see if we were OK. This is when we realized Ames had gotten hit hard too. Their house was OK but there were a lot of trees and limbs down. Some areas were without electricity. Unfortunately they lost a large chunk of their exhibition flowers and flowers they use to sell to local florists. I haven't heard back so I hope they were able to selvage some of their plants.
Dad and mom both came down mid-morning which was a huge help. Mom helped with the kids and lunch and dad helped with clean-up. Alan called his dad and he came up to help too bringing along the torch we needed to chop up the old windmill structure. And my brother and sister-in-law and their family came out to help. Everyone was such great help - we cannot thank them all enough. Plus, the cousins got to play together and have some time with grandma and grandpa so that was good too.
Later when we ran to get sweet corn for all the help we had coming around lunch time I saw so much destruction everywhere. The DeMoss farm where I pick up my sweet corn had lost so many crops. They figured this morning that most of their popcorn and Indian corn crop is gone (80,000 some ears).
By the end of the afternoon the yard was looking pretty good. The boys were all snacking on chocolate ice cream cones and we had hauled most of the fallen limbs from the front yard away. The windmill was all cut into manageable chunks. We saw our neighbors and their large crew of help had gotten a lot done too. We were all tired, dirty and hot - but the acreage looked a lot better than it did this morning. Even some of the plants that had been flattened this morning were starting to look a little perkier. There is still a lot for Alan and I to clean up but it is a manageable amount. Tomorrow we need to call the insurance agency regarding some of the damage and try to straighten the pushed over evergreens.
What does this mean for my Iowa State Fair goals. Well, not that it was important at all on a day like today but, my horticulture and floriculture entries took a huge hit. Of course this is why I never count on them - it's like counting chickens before the eggs hatch - you never know what will happen in the course of a summer. I'll just have to try and make up the difference with food entries.
At the end of the long day all I have to say is: Thank the Lord and sing His praise! What was bad could have been so much worse and what this day shows is how blessed we truly are; material things can always be replaced or lived without but nothing is as important as the health, love and camaraderie of loved ones.