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 To Run or Not to Run?
Tips from A Disaster

 
By Lisa Olsen
(Originally scribed in 2003. Updated in 2008.)
 
  • Click here to skip the story and get to the tips!
  •       We acquired trash from all our neighbors.

        They say everyone has a story to tell at some point during their life. I had always fantasized that mine would involve sharing ways to invest a lottery windfall - the only problem with that is that NC didn't have a state lottery - and that's where I lived back in 2003, along with my husband Bill, Ali and Olaf - our fearless Pyrs, and about 32 alpacas. We call ourselves Alpaca-Atlantic. We were actually located on the north side of the Albermarle Sound, but it connects to the Atlantic if you swim to the east, just past what's left of the Outer Banks.

        I had just dropped Bill off at the hospital and had a few free hours before the insurance adjuster arrived....to jot down my story.

        It all started back on September 11th. There was a hurricane named Isabelle that was reported to be a Category Five – with winds that often exceeded 155 mph. As a woman over 50, I’ve heard enough weathermen in my life to understand their need to sensationalize interesting weather. It’s what keeps them employed. I turned the channel to the Tonight Show.

        On September 14th, I received an E-mail from a dear friend, Jo Overbey of Rock Chimeny Farm Alpacas. Jo wrote, "I have been worrying as I watch Isabel reports....If you need to move animals, I could probably fit you in temporarily...Just let me know. And if you need to evacuate and need assistance hauling, also let me know!" This offer caused me to ponder the situation - but only momentarily. Jo had recently downsized her herd due to wrist problems - the last thing she needed was our bunch sending her to bed every night tossing in pain! And she’s such a dear friend, that I know she would actually do that for me. I dismissed the offer; after all, Bill and I pride ourselves in being independent, tough, resourceful, and self-sufficient. We could manage, right? Between the two of us, Bill and I had spent more than 42 years in the military. We actually met during Desert Storm - but that's another story! The point being that we've never viewed ourselves as sissies that ran from hardship. We toughed out Hurricane Floyd in '99, we could certainly handle Isabelle. But we weren't going into this blindly, we had a plan.

        Years ago, the first building that took form on our property was Bill's shop building. Some might say he had his priorities in line, but it was actually part of the big plan. We build the shop building ourselves - not something I would do again in a million years - but it was built to local specs and was designed to withstand 300 mph winds. It was a solid building - I know personally as we lived in it for the 3 years it took to build our “12 month” house! Anyway, once we moved out, Bill constructed a spray booth in what used to be our "cocoon," but it also doubled as an emergency shelter for the alpacas. We stocked it with bales of hay, bags of feed, buckets upon buckets of water, and portable fence panels to keep the boys from making congical visits with the girls. Our plan was to move the alpacas and dogs to this shelter at the onset of the storm, leaving us free to worry about other things.

        By September 15th, Hurricane Isabelle, aka Izzy, had been downgraded to a Category 4. The weathermen sounded almost depressed.

        On September 16th, Jo Overbey wrote, " I would (like to) come today to help move some up this way. We are expecting some winds, etc., but nothing like what is headed your way! I am sure we could find space...." I assured Jo that we had it under control and told her of our disaster plan. She seemed satisfied that it appeared we knew what we were doing.

        Later that afternoon, Craig Conticchio and Lynn Kite of Trilogy Alpacas, called to ask if they could take our herd during the storm. They also offered to head out with their trailer and help move the herd to Greenville. I assured them we would be fine and told Craig I was concerned about stressing our six pregnant girls, which were due to birth at any time. They had heard my soapbox lecture on reducing stress more than once, and also seemed OK with our shelter plans. They didn't press the issue. I can remember thinking that their place flooded worse than ours during Hurricane Floyd and after hanging up, I felt a bit guilty that I hadn't reciprocated with offering to move their herd to our place. I was sure he would have turned us down, but still – I should have offered.

        On September 17th, I received a call from Maryland. It was Linda Baker of Legacy Acres Alpacas wanting to know if there was anything she could do to help. Heck! She was also in Izzy’s path. I was tempted to take her up on her offer as I was sure I would get one of her fantastic cheesecakes out of the deal - but also said, "No thanks," although my mouth was watering!

        Bill and I spent the day doing pre-hurricane chores. He mowed the pastures, pulled the boats up on shore and did some other manly things. I washed clothes, paid bills, went food shopping and read E-mail one last time. My friends know I have little time (or patience) for “fun” stuff on the computer and do me the favor of not including me on their mass mailings. Every once in a while though, someone just has to send me something. Kaaren Roberts from Wood Ridge Alpacas had included me in a group mailing on the 17th. It read as follows:

    Morning Prayer
    This morning when I wakened
    And saw the sun above,
    I softly said, "Good morning, Lord,
    Bless everyone I love."
    And right away I thought of you
    And said a loving prayer,
    That He would bless you specially,
    And keep you free from care.
    I thought of all the happiness
    A day could hold in store,
    I wished it all for you because
    No one deserves it more.

        When I finished reading the words, I had tears in my eyes. It wasn’t so much the words of the prayer that had touched me so – but at that moment I was overwhelmed with the true friends we had made since becoming ‘pacaholics. We weren’t in danger, or so I thought, yet so many hands had been extended. Like I said, it was overwhelming.

        On September 18th, we fed, cleaned and watered as usual. I kept all the animals close to the barns as it was a bit on the breezy side. One of the reasons we had gotten away with having alpacas in North Carolina, without ever having heat stress issues, is because we kept dozens of huge shade-bearing trees. It’s amazing how much of a difference they make on a hot summer’s day – but we learned to lock the animals in the barns or under the overhangs when the wind began to blow. A well-placed falling limb could have easily broken the back of even an adult alpaca.

        Since retiring from the military, I've stopped wearing a watch - don’t need to, don’t want to. If I need to know the time, I can holler for Bill. I’m glad I was watchless on the 18th because I would have been horrified to learn that time actually can stand still. I swear that day lasted 2 months!

        By early morning, Bill started positioning the vehicles for safety and escape. I can't remember what I was doing, but I’m sure I was working really hard. The generator was in place, fuel was in cans where we thought we would need them, all containers were filled with fresh water, the computer was unplugged, and we were ready. I caught bits and pieces of local news shows. I remember hearing the listing of mandatory evacuation counties. They hadn’t announced Perquimans County yet, but had called counties just north and east of us. Bill and I had already agreed to stay – even if Perquimans was evacuated. I remember laughing when I heard a newsman announce that Virginia Beach police had requested that non-evacuating residents write their name on their forearm with a permanent marker, for post-mortem identification purposes.
    A pine tree about to go through our neighbor's house.
    My view from inside the barn!
        By late morning I had the girls in the barn and Bill had the boys under the overhang. Before we could make plans to move the herd to their shelter, it was too late. Within ten minutes it went from, “The wind’s starting to pick up,” to, “Get in the barn quick!” The wind came in with a roar. It began raining leaves, acorns, bird nests, branches, and huge limbs. Remember all those beautiful shade trees I spoke of? They had become the enemy and were trying to kill us!
        We agreed this was just the beginning and decided to risk it and move the alpacas into the shelter. What choice did we have? Since the boy’s overhang was actually attached to the shop building, we decided to move them first, enclose them with the portable gate panels, then move the girls in. The rain started before we could reach the boys. It wasn’t just rain. With the force of the wind, the harmless water became painful, blinding, pellets that stung like hornets.

        The boy’s overhang was 20’ by 60’ and ran the length of the shop building. It was built purposely on the south side to block the animals from the nor’easters that hit the area from time to time. They were out of the wind and out of the rain. We only have 6 adult males so moving them around the corner from the overhang and through a door shouldn’t be hard……right? Wrong. Not sure exactly when it happened as neither of us had been in the house for hours – but the electric was out. That was the one thing we absolutely never thought of. We knew we would lose it, heck, we lose power during every tiny storm – but we never thought we would lose power so soon! We had flashlights all over the place, but never thought we would need an alternative source of lighting to move our herd into a pitch black building. Being the resourceful engineer that he is, Bill quickly moved his classic ’69 Camaros (I would have just said cars – but Bill helped me edit “my” story!) into position and turned the headlights on. It was a good try, but the effect turned our well-planned shelter into a blinding, frightening cave of death. The boys wanted absolutely no part of it – can’t say I blamed them. So much for our shelter. I was wondering if it was too late to take Jo or Craig up on their offers.

        On to Plan B.

        Bill decided I should stay in the large barn with the girls. Our concern was that if the barn didn’t feel like it was going to hold, we needed to be able to get as many as the girls out as we could – any way we could. The only way to monitor that was to be in the barn. He took charge of the property, the vehicles, the house, the dogs, and the boys. Sounded like a fair split of responsibilities to me! I had pre-positioned a radio with multiple sets of batteries in each of the shelters – but don’t think I ever turned a single one on. I really didn’t care to hear what someone else thought was going on – I needed to be able to hear what was going on. If the hayloft started giving way, if the walls started splitting, if the roof started peeling, or if a tree started falling – I wanted to be able to respond – or at least, wanted to be able to pray!

        I had to keep the windows on three sides of the barn closed at all times but left the windows open on the safe side to keep from going crazy. Our barns and overhangs have metal roofing. You can’t imagine the noise level generated from the constant barrage of things falling on, or being thrown onto a metal roof. I never knew if the sound of a large limb falling would be followed by the remainder of the tree or not. I grew a significant number of gray hairs on the 18th.

        Our girl's barn allowed for three groupings of animals. When I left the stall doors open, the 20 girls and crias tended to kush in a huddle. I thought it best to split the herd. If the barn was going to give, I didn’t want all our eggs in one basket. It was clear that they were content to be inside the barn and never once attempted to even look out a window. For the most part, I would say that the alpacas hid their stress level very well – with the exception of Julia, and especially Lacey. This poor girl just couldn't handle it. I minimized her pacing by reducing her space, but you could see that every falling tree, every limb hitting the roof, every object slamming into the barn just made her tremble in fear. She started to hyperventilate – which is something I had never seen in an alpaca. To say Julia had labored breathing would be an understatement.
    I wasn't the only girl that was stressed out!
        I had used Rescue Remedy in the past – not sure it had ever done any good, but I figured it couldn’t hurt. Big mistake. Within minutes Lacey was drooling uncontrollably. It was so bad I feared dehydration. I washed her mouth out hoping to remove any trace of the five drops I had administered, but couldn’t control her salivation which seemed to last for hours.

        Bill stopped by from time to time to check on his girls. He was careful to walk between trees and somehow remained on his feet for the most part. Thinking I could also be of help outside the barn, I attempted to secure a couple wheel barrows and was knocked off my feet twice within seconds. I retreated to the barn and let them blow.
    A view from the barn of what used to be one of our pastures.
    Cypress trees were snapping like twigs!
        The winds over our area averaged 105 miles per hour with gusts of 115. The Albermarle Sound flooded 7 to 11 feet above normal tide level. If Bill hadn’t of raised the elevation under the girl’s barn prior to constructing it – it would have been under water. The Sound consumed our entire back pasture and threatened to consume the barn we were in. Our pasture was cover not just with water, but with water deep enough to support waves! I was horrified. We had no idea how high the water level was going to rise. The problem with flooding is that it loosens the root structure of trees. Those same trees that provide wonderful cooling shade were now falling all around us. The oaks and hickorys were falling with their roots intact.
        The cypress were snapping like twigs. You can’t imagine the thoughts that go through your mind when you hear the groan of a tree’s roots lifting from the ground as it starts to go over. I got to the point that I just sat and listened in a surreal state. There was nothing I could do. I had never felt so powerless in my life.
        At one point Bill showed up and told me a tree was about to fall onto my barn. I looked beyond him and sure enough, a large oak was coming down right onto the barn. It came out by the roots with a giant slab of earth 12' tall. It fell over so slowly that it punctured, but never came through the roof. Keep in mind now that it wouldn’t have just been a tree through the roof. It would have been a tree onto the hay loft that would have given way and crushed everything below. I could just hear Jo and Craig saying, “What a tragedy, they should have listened to us.” Due to flooding, all 3 of these oaks fell onto, but not through, the girl's barn.
    It rained so hard and fast, the ground was a giant puddle.
        By about 6pm the eye of the storm passed overhead and gave us a brief reprieve. The dogs took advantage of being able to walk upright and made a dash for my barn. When I opened the door to let them in I was horrified to find that a few of our bantam chickens had been locked out of the barn and in the storm. I don’t know how they survived but they were most grateful to be scooped up and brought inside.

        The second half of Izzy was the same as the first, but from a different direction. When you have winds in excess of 100 miles per hour the rain doesn’t come down, it comes across. Within minutes, the boys were soaked as the rain now flew horizontally directly under their overhang. We quickly moved a very willing group of machos into their barn, which by this point had lost much of its roof. The hay loft protected the stall area from much of the water – but that’s because our winter supply of hay was absorbing it like a sponge. Not a good situation. Once again, trees started slamming to the ground. Things really didn’t let up until almost midnight.

    The condition of our pasture the day Bill went airborne.
    Downed trees were so thick it was hard to walk.
        We lost about 26 full trees by the roots, and another dozen tree-tops. We lost roofing from every structure on the property. We lost our entire rear pasture fence with large gaping holes throughout the side, front and interior fencing. We lost our winter forage as the recently planted seed washed away. We lost our pasture as the salt content from the flooding killed most of the grass. We lost our winter supply of hay. We lost water and electricity for a week. But we didn’t lose a single life. Everyone, even poor Lacey and the chickens made it through just fine.
        Bill spent some time in the hospital because he fell off the barn roof while making repairs. His heel bone shattered. Yeah, I know, he deserved some sympathy -- but I'm the one that had to live with him being laid up for 6 months! I made it through Izzy alright, but I wasn't sure about surviving "Hurricane Bill!"

        When our alpaca-friends heard of our situation, the outpouring of emotional support was unbelievable. I’m not going to mention names because I’m now over 50 and sure to leave someone out – but you know who you are and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Several of our customers and dear friends refused to take no-thanks for an answer and insisted on giving me a hand with the clean-up. To Kate, Cara (and hubby), Danette (and family), and Tom – your hauling, heaving, dragging, raking and pitching touched my heart. Part of what Cara, Danette and their families helped me clean up.
    This flood-line included fishing hooks, lines, pieces of crab pots, glass, metal....
    Tom helped clean tons of neighborhood pier sections that washed up.
    There were tons of intact pieces of piers no one wanted to claim.
        The alpaca community as a whole is amazing. I’m proud to be a part of it. I’ll never admit out loud that I’m grateful to Izzy for anything, but as a result of this, there’s much that we’ve gained. We’ve gained the knowledge that no matter how independent, tough, resourceful, and self-sufficient you think you are – there are times you should pack it in and run like the devil! We gained an appreciation for the depth of friendships we’ve developed within the alpaca community. We’ve learned that alpacas don’t turn gray like we do in the face of death (bummer). And we’ve gained a new perspective on our situation – we decided to move!!! In our experience, alpacas and waterfront living just weren't a good mix. We decided our new name would be Alpaca Atlantic of Tennessee!
        I believe the more horrible an experience, the greater potential there is to do something positive, by sharing what you’ve learned. If by sharing our shortfalls and windfalls, we can help any of you – then this experience will have a bright side in our memories.

     
     How to Survive a Storm – by Lisa.....with continuous input from Bill!

    1. If a storm is coming your way, and you know it's coming your way -- move your animals before you need to move them. If you wait until the barn is about to self-destruct, it's too late. You'll never convince alpacas to leave the security of a barn and venture out into high winds, driving rain, and falling limbs. If you need to move animals at that point, dams will probably follow if you carry their crias -- but the rest will probably have to be carried or dragged on tarps.

    2. Get your personal life in order
        a. Call your family and friends, let them know what’s going on and not to worry if they can’t reach you because of a power outage. During an outage, your phone will ring on their end, but will be dead on your end.
        b. Pay your bills – it’s one less thing you’ll have to worry about during the clean-up phase.
        c. Wash your clothes – when you’re without water and power, it’s nice to be able to wear clean grubby clothes after your ice cold bucket shower, so you can go out and get dirty all over again!

    3. Communication
        a. Charge your cell phone and whatever you do, don’t try to recharge your battery using the generator. We fried our cell phone the day after the hurricane – naturally we were also without phone service for 6 days. Not a good situation. By the time we got phone service back, every honest contractor in the area was booked for months. Get yourself a spare cell phone battery and be sure you have a cigarette lighter charger thingy for your car.
        b. Wal-Mart sells really handy walkie-talkies made by Cobra. They have a range of up to 5 miles and are fantastic for staying in touch when you’re out and about the property. And if you’re without power, you don’t need to recharge, you can just pop in some fresh batteries.
        c. Be sure everyone knows your “what if” plans. Come up with plans for all possibilities, especially when there are children involved. Example: In the case of a fire, everyone who gets out should meet on the same side of the building so that unnecessary rescue attempts aren’t made. Or, if a barn should collapse, how are you going to move the injured animals? We have canvas tarps in the hayloft for this purpose.
        d. Send a group E-mail out to your friends telling them what’s going on, then unplug your computer.

    4. You’ll want a camera. If you use a digital, recharge a few sets of batteries and have a couple spare memory sticks or disks or whatever you use. You may want to purchase a couple of disposable cameras. Don’t forget to take some photos for insurance claim purposes! They love before and after photos.

    5. Find out where your insurance rep lives so you can get instructions on how to proceed if there is a significant amount of damage. In our case, their office was closed as they were also without electric and phones. The last thing you’ll ever want to hear is, “I’m sorry we can’t cover that because you should have……” It took three weeks for an adjustor to visit, because we didn’t have a tree through the house like so many of our neighbors. When the visiting Farm Bureau rep from Texas pulled up, we had lots of proof to support our claim because we followed their instructions.

    6. The first thing you'll probably lose is power. Alpacas won't enter an unfamiliar dark area (shelter/trailer). So even if you have a shelter built to withstand 300mph winds that's stocked with water, hay, and feed -- if it looks like a black cave -- they won't go in (we have the bruises to prove this). Home Depot sells great portable battery powered stick lights, or the Alladin Lamp (oil lamp) puts out light comparable to a 60 watt bulb (according to Neil at A Paca Fun Farm). Buy a few. Can you imagine trying to get a couple injured alpacas from the barn into a trailer in the pitch black?

    7. Position a radio, that works without electric, in each building. We’ve got a bunch of has-been battery powered radios that work just fine, as long as you have back-up batteries! If I were into gadgets, like Neil Padgett, I might buy a couple Baygen powerless radios. They play for about 30 minutes with the twist of a crank. Either way, it’s good to be able to get news or weather if you want.

    8. Expect to have trees fall on fencing. Get yourself a chain for each of your dogs in case you can't depend on fencing to keep them in. Also, have some portable fence panels available to do quick fence patching - they work great. Half of the trees we lost seemed to aim for a fence or gate.

    9. Stuff your pockets. One pocket should have a few pieces of bailing twine and the other should have a sharp pocketknife. You’ll be amazed at how many things need to be tied quickly either during or after a storm……like portable fence panels tied to cover holes in fencing.

    Every tree seemed to aim for a building or a fence.
    Check your fencing carefully after each storm.
    10. Preposition a quick repair kit in each barn. Bill has about 500 billion tools in his shop building, but they were useless to me as I couldn’t get to them. In hindsight, each barn should have a little kit with a hammer, pliers, wire cutter, nails (large and small), hook and eyes, utility knife, and a flask of whiskey.

    11. Each barn door and window should have two hooks/clasps/latches or two “thingies” to keep it secured. Every single barn window or hayloft door that was secured by only one hook or latch – blew open. Lucky we had the means to resecure them quickly or they would have snapped off the hinges with the force of the wind.

    12. Even if you think your girls aren’t due for some time, have a birthing kit in the girl’s barn. We had two crias born within two days of the hurricane, and 4 born the week after. Most were early. Although one was a wee thing of 10.4 lbs – all are thriving. It helps to have the sort of relationship with your vet where telephone consults are possible – thanks Dr Karen Baum for your long distance support!!!

    13. Each barn should have an emergency first aid kit. You can buy ready-made kits or have your vet help you put one together.

    14. Fill bathtubs and available containers/buckets with water, then stash the buckets somewhere clean. I had filled about 10, five-gallon buckets with water and left the door open while carrying them into the garage. Our fearless Pyr, Olaf, thought he needed to taste-test every bucket. Olaf doesn’t just drink, he drools I think almost as much as he intakes. I de-slimed the buckets, refilled them, and kept the door shut. If you lose water, you’ll want to ration what you saved. We were without water for 6 days. After four days, what used to be our bathing water from the bathtub, turned into our drinking water. We also learned to wash our hair with one large cup of cold water. We were miserable, but the alpacas never went without.

    15. If you keep your hay in a loft, cover it with a tarp. We lost most of the roofing on one barn and the second barn leaked like a sieve. Our hay bales turned into heavy water-soaked sponges. Within hours, the hay probably quadrupled in weight. It wasn’t a good situation. Although Bill almost killed me while building the first barn by dropping a sheet of plywood on my head from the 2nd deck, and I’ve forgiven him and promised not to tell the tragic story of looking up to the shout of his, “Watch Out!” just in time to get knocked to the ground with my skull ripped open sure I was about to die but giddily happy with the reminder that my life wasn’t insured and knowing Bill would never figure out how to pay bills using my computer because I’ve never let him within 6’ of it……I may be getting off track here. The point being that if Bill had not designed and constructed the barns as well as he had, the water-soaked hay surely would have brought the haylofts down crushing everything below. Something to watch out for.

    16. If you’re going to raise alpacas, you need to be able to defend them. I still think life is sacred and don’t kill for fun or sport – but I’ll defend our alpacas in a heartbeat. Storms have a way of stirring things up in nature. If there is flooding, snakes are going to head for high ground. Our water soaked bales of hay stayed right where they were until Bill got back on his feet, because they were full of snakes. You should also expect wild animals to act displaced, because they are. We buried 8 raccoons immediately after the storm that either turned up sick or badly wounded and decided to move into the haylofts with the snakes. We had one brave maiden that would try to run critters off while the others ran to the edge of the paddock sounding the alarm call – which alerted the guardians (Ali, Olaf, and Bill) who took care of the problem. One last note – be sure your dogs are kept up to date on all shots. At a minimum, dogs should have distemper and rabies, husbands and alpacas should have tetanus.

    17. Store your feed, including dog food, in water-tight containers. Use bungee cords if you think the covers might blow off. If it looks like a bad storm, stock up on food.

    18. North Carolina has an organization called SART (State Animal Response Team). I learned of them when a customer (Lynn Kite) passed our story on to a USDA vet (Dr Kittrell), who passed us on to a local representative of SART (who was only prepared to help with dogs and cats because we live in a cotton and corn county), who passed us on to a Farm Bureau rep (Megan Hedgebeth), who passed us on to her warehouse coordinator (Cora Tyson), who passed us on to the Chief of Operations for SART (Elizabeth Petzold, aka Liz). By the time I had reached Cora, I had lost hope and quit asking. It was Liz who had called me. She floored me with her initial statement, “Tell me how I can help you.” She offered to find temporary housing for all the animals, food – whatever we needed. I was brought to tears. Within days she had found Bill Beutke of Sophia, NC – a stranger who lived over 243 miles away, who offered to give us hay. Shortly after, Cora Tyson and Michele Whaley (SART volunteers) were pulling up with enough wonderful smelling hay to make the girls come running! It was a humbling experience to say the least. When I think of the chain of folks involved in helping us….I’m speechless, which doesn’t happen often!
        Find out in advance if your state has an organized support system for livestock. SART provides temporary shelters, donations, requests, search and rescue, and field assessments dealing with companion animals and livestock of all types. Check out their web site at www.ncsart.org, or give Liz a call at (919) 452-1605. Tell her I sent you – she’s a sweetheart. Please don’t overlook this suggestion. I’m 50 years old and in my adult life, can't recall ever needing help. I always made do with what I had or did without. But it’s different when you’ve got lives that depend on you. It was hard to ask for help – and would have been so much easier if I had known where to go. Jukie thanking SART angels, Cora & Michele, after the hay delivery.
    I can't thank all the volunteers enough!
    19. Before the storm, think about where the vehicles should go. We had 3 trucks with trailer hitches but only one trailer. The trailer had a couple covered bales of hay and a container of feed in it, and was parked out in the open (no fear of being crushed by a falling tree) but it was as close to the barn as we could manage. The trucks were split up. One was parked on the side of the road, one was with the trailer, and one by the house. All of the vehicles had full tanks of gas and two of the trucks had chainsaws in the back. Our road was blocked by fallen trees and power lines for quite some time. One saw wouldn't have made a dent, but if everyone trying to get out had had one saw -- it could have been cleared.

    This was our safest pasture after the storm.
    Every inch had to be raked and cleaned prior to use!
    20. Speaking of chain saws, if you have trees, you should have at least one good chain saw. And don’t forget (like we did) to sharpen your extra chains before the storm. A couple extra chains wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

    21. Have plenty of gas, diesel, chain saw oil, and stuff to keep things running. We were without power for 8 days. If the power is out, the filling stations can't fill.

    22. Test your generator before the storm hits. Let it run on and off for at least a full day before you give it the "thumbs up." We didn’t have enough fuel to run ours constantly so for 8 days we ran it for one hour, then off for three, then on for one hour....boy did that 24/7 routine get old quickly!

    23. There’s something about flooding that kills grass but makes clover go bonkers! A bit of clover in a grass pasture is acceptable, but a bit of grass in a clover pasture is not a good thing. Jo Overbey warned us not to ever plant clover. Did we listen to her? No. Were we sorry? Yes.

    24. The sad aftermath to a storm such as Hurricane Izzy is that it kills and wounds a tremendous amount of wildlife. Be sure you do a thorough walk-through of the pastures before you let the alpacas back out. We (Olaf and Ali mainly) found enough dead birds, squirrels, and assorted small critters to fill a feed bag.
    Rear pasture 3 days before the storm.
    Nice and green and safe!
    Same pasture the week after.
    What a mess!
        Hope you’ve found some tips and if you ever wonder why someone would ever name their place, Alpaca Atlantic of Tennessee, well, I’ve got a “little” story!

    The End

    Aftermath: