It wasn’t until I was just about done writing this post last week that I realized that the forecast track for Hurricane Michael was more or less directly atop Calamint Farms. Even when I found that out, however, I figured we’d get minimal damage because we’ve historically been far enough inland that tropical systems lose their oomph before making it to us.
This Michael character was a fast and sneaky actor. Not only did we get basically only two days’ notice to prepare for his arrival, but the intensification prior to landfall was unreal. About 12 hours before landfall was when we realized this dude was coming over us as an unprecedented (given our inland distance of more than 100 miles away from where Michael ultimately made landfall) category 2 hurricane. Gulp.
We prepared as best we could with the short notice, and really, there’s very little more we would have done if given more time. Besides getting our households ready with food, water, and batteries, we also tried to remove anything from the farm field that we thought might blow away. What we didn’t consider was that our landscape fabric would be pulled out of the ground, or that our trellis system would be ripped apart.
Michael stuck to the script, with the remnant of an eye passing just about 2 miles to our west at about 7:30 pm, 30 minutes after sunset. In the dark, but in the relative calm of the eye, we did what you’re told not to do, and we went out and looked for damage. It was too long until sunrise to wait and see if the chickens, the greenhouse, or the barn were damaged. Despite an increase in wind later as the backside of the storm swept over us, that initial assessment held. Everything was safe and sound! Trees and limbs were strewn about, so we knew we’d have to jump into cleanup mode at first light, but that foray into the storm allowed us to sleep a little easier.
So, although our homes and other structures were largely spared (shingles and siding missing in places, and a fence that’s a goner), the fall farm season is looking like a complete do-over. It certainly will be a different assortment of veggies than our carefully crafted planting plan had laid out, based on what survives and what we still have time to replant. The remaining summer veggies (peppers, eggplant, and basil) were toppled, and the leaves of nearly all the fall veggies were masticated in the strong wind gusts.
And yet, we count ourselves among the lucky ones. We’ve been helped by a countless number of family, friends, neighbors, and strangers these past 4 days. We’ve attempted to spread that kindness and caretaking toward others, whether by helping to make the state highway passable again, helping clean yards, jumping off a dead car battery, or simply thanking as many lineman as we can, who are working tirelessly to restore power. Against the backdrop of the many lives and homes that were lost or destroyed in the storm, some solace has been found in seeing how people are coming together to take care of one another in whatever way they can.