We’ve officially made it through our first Florida hurricane!
Well ok we got very lucky last week with Ian… all those last minute bumps to the east made all the difference for us up here in Ocala. We went from being directly in the middle of the storm’s path to just barely getting the edge of it.
Naturally though, we had prepped for it just the same. The biggest concern was the wind, since high wind means downed trees, and downed trees mean downed power lines, and no power means the well isn’t pumping water. There have been times in the past where it’s taken a week or two to get power back after particularly strong storms, so I was crossing my fingers and hoping that wouldn’t be the case, but also preparing for the worst just in case it came to fruition.
I moved all the jumps, took everything out of the barn aisle, started hoarding water, moved vehicles and trailers away from trees, got extra feed, prepped the stalls with extra bedding, covered things that shouldn’t get wet in case it was raining sideways, etc. Some of the prep I had already done over the weekend, other stuff I did Tuesday after our regularly scheduled farrier appointment.
On Wednesday morning the first little edge of the rain reached us, so I brought everyone in. The horses really aren’t inside much unless the weather is bad, so usually they just come in and see it as a nice opportunity to stuff their faces with hay and take a good nap. And then there’s Presto.
Always a delight. I was not too enthusiastic about the idea of him being stuck inside for a long period of time, mostly because he is walking Damage. I did toss Presto and Henry out in a paddock in the afternoon while I cleaned their stalls, just to let them chill for a minute, and that did seem to decompress his brain a little bit. Everyone stuffed their faces with hay pretty much the entire time (although to literally no one’s surprise, Presto broke his hay net within the first 2 hours).
It rained pretty much all day Wednesday, but never particularly hard. The wind started to pick up in the afternoon as the meat of the storm approached, and it was forecasted to be at it’s worst overnight. Still though, with all those little shifts to the east, we went from projected gusts of 80mph to gusts of no more than 40mph. You could hear the wind howling all night, and every now and then something would ping off the house (little sticks blown out of trees, I discovered) but really… it was less violent than most of the summer afternoon thunderstorms we get here.
The rain had stopped by Thursday morning around breakfast time, but the wind was still gusty. I made a lap of the property to check on things and it was really just a lot of blown spanish moss and sticks all over the place, with a couple small branches down here and there. Definitely nothing major. I ended up turning the horses back out by noon, since all of us were tired of them being cooped up inside by that point.
Of course, the temperature had also dropped about 25 degrees, so they were all super full of beans when they got turned back out.
The wind died down gradually throughout the day, and by bedtime on Thursday it was basically all past us. By the time all was said and done we got less than an inch of rain – far better than the original forecast of up to 12″! I feel really bad for the areas to the south that got hammered by the storm, but I will admit that at the same time I’m selfishly glad we were spared from it.
Well, mostly anyway. Friday morning we woke up to this.
Can you believe that? We made it through that entire storm and then hours later a bigass tree fell in the front pasture, taking down the power line. I guess maybe the wind was holding it up lol. Luckily since the power companies had so many crews on hand in the area and there had been so little damage, they got it fixed within a few hours. We ALMOST made it through with no damage.
All total the horses were only inside for about 28 hours, and we only missed two days of riding. Granted, now I’m having to move everything back out that I had originally moved inside, empty all the hoarded water containers, etc. Still, I much prefer a wasted effort like that to some kind of massive cleanup! I’ll take that any day…. not everyone was so lucky.