Last night, we nearly had a mental and emotional breakdown. We’ve been working non-stop for the past two months (check out just what all we’ve done in the past month in the Month Two Offgrid Homestead Roundup) and a break is long overdue. Yesterday morning, we woke up to 5” of fresh snow which was exciting, but very muddy if we tried to work in it. We decided to kick our feet up at a coffee shop for the day to work on the blog. When we came home in the evening we came upon a lot of windfall (limbs, boughs and even full trees) on the roads. Once in our driveway we saw our portable RV garage was completely mangled, as well as the deck and platform we built for the RV garage.
How Our Carport Was Obliterated, Mangled, etc.
Our Fun Finder RV has been stored under this portable RV garage for going on 2 months now with few problems. In fact, we’ve been impressed with the carport because we’ve had steady winds several times already this fall. A couple times we’ve had stiff winds reaching 50mph. The garage hasn’t had any damage or budged an inch due to the platform we built for it and secured it to!
However, it appears that we had tornado-like winds pass through our area (and turns out, most of the Pacific Northwest!) while we were away knocking out power, downing trees etc. Our carport was lifted and shoved about 6 feet in every direction (is that even possible?) and it was very vulnerable to being swept away by another huge gust of wind that could have damaged our vehicles or even our trailer. Mind you the foundation blocks, beams, brackets and structure combined weigh nearly 2000 lbs.
Our entire trailer and living space was being pounded with wind and sheets of rain. Not only did the 5” of fresh snow melt completely saturating the ground, but another inch of rain dumped on it in a few hours so our RV was sitting in a soupy mess of mud and pooling water, despite paving our entire driveway and living space with gravel. We had no choice but to roll up our sleeves, use every tool in our homestead tool kit (including sheer strength and adrenaline), fired up our Honda EU3000i Handi portable generator got to work attempting to put it back together. The one 2-ton automotive floor jack we keep in the Subaru was our saving grace. We built a primitive trolley system and were able to lift and move the structure slowly back into place.
We were both wading ankle-deep in mud around the trailer, Jesse was crawling around under the trailer on his stomach, getting covered head to toe in mud, energy was tense and we were arguing with one another, we were long past the point of needing to eat dinner, it was raining sideways with sheets of rain, it was cold, and as my dad would say, our fun meter was pegged!
Here are some photos of the wind storm carnage!
The Aftermath of the Winds
When we woke up this morning, we had to get straight to chopping up and bringing home about three cords of firewood. No time to sit, cry or rest! All over the roads were branches, trees and debris. It seems that the entire valley was a wind tunnel throughout the night.
On our property alone, we had at least eight different trees fall down… two on the hillside and two next to or in the road. One of our neighbors had their shed blown over, and another had a tree fall in their car windshield. It wasn’t just us that had problems! The entire valley has been without power and cell service for over 24 hours, so this wind storm was no joke.
The locals say that this never happens, although there was a severe wind storm last year and even a tornado that touched down in the valley! This is the third wind storm of this intensity in the past 1.5 years. Hopefully this doesn’t become a frequent thing!
Going forward, we do think we need to take severe wind into consideration when it comes to designing our house, property and barndominium. This is one reason why we’re glad this event happened earlier rather than later. Even if it’s a rare occurrence, it does seem that severe winds can be a possibility.
How This Made Us Feel & Why We Are Sharing the Event
We aren’t ones to dwell on negative happenings – they happen to the best of us, it’s part of life, and we simply need to keep our chins held high and move forward. We are sharing this event because this is the reality of starting a homestead 100% from scratch. While anybody could have been damaged from this wind storm, starting a homestead from scratch does make you more vulnerable to weather, exhaustion and mental breakdown which is just the nature of the beast.
As soon as we came home to our carport completely mangled, our hearts sunk and frustration set in immediately. Part of this reason is because at the end of the day, we really only need our basic needs met to be happy (food, shelter and warmth) and we felt we had none of those things. There’s nothing like being kicked when you’re down and having something tragic happen when your energy is already low.
This is one reason why many don’t take the path we have chosen, and probably why many people “give up”. If this becomes a frequent happening, we may look into alternative solutions that don’t leave us so vulnerable to the weather, but for now we’re going to tough it out, take some more precautionary measures to strengthen our home and hope it doesn’t happen again!
Takeaways for New Homesteaders
If you are a new homesteader, or a want-to-be homesteader there are a few big takeaways from this event that we wanted to share:
- All you can do is plan your best and learn to improvise: As a new homesteader, all you can do is plan and be your best but things won’t go according to plan 100% and you can expect hardship! Learn to improvise as you go… a plan is merely a great place to start but expect to stray from it.
- You can only be so prepared: There are a million “what ifs” that can happen to you as a new homesteader, or at any point of your life really. All you can do is prepare as best you can, but you can’t necessarily prepare for it all. Just because you can’t possibly prepare for every scenario out there, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take a journey of this type and put your best foot forward. Jesse often says, “Getting out of bed is dangerous!”
- You will feel vulnerable, because you are: When you first start your homesteading journey, unless you walk into the deal with $500,000, chances are you won’t have everything you need to feel protected. Sacrifices will have to be made. In our case, we simply weren’t able to get a barn up before winter which makes us vulnerable, but we think we can make it through the winter.
- The path to freedom is not paved with comfort and security: If you are embarking on a homesteading journey to get “free” and achieve some sort of freedom with both your time and your money, then it ain’t gonna be easy! The path to freedom isn’t comfortable or all that secure at first… if it were, everyone would do it and you would have no naysayers (read about well meaning naysayers and fear-mongers to your homesteading journey here)!
- Look for people to vent to: If you’re feeling emotional, tired, and low on mental energy, a great idea is to reach out to a friend or community that understands. Many people have embarked on this journey before you and understand 100% what you’re going through. They won’t tell you to quit, they probably won’t strictly put fearful ideas into your head, but they will support you and help you get through the tough time, reminding you why you’re on this adventure in the first place. We get a lot of support from our friends here on Pure Living for Life, Facebook page and Instagram. They help keep us going when we’re having a hard time. It means a lot that they support us and every positive comment is much appreciated.
A small fortunate reality of this experience is that our new tiny house style cabin addition didn’t budge through it all. No leaks, no damage and still standing strong. What a relief! Here’s to putting this tiring, frustrating experience behind us so that we can focus on making progress on our property once again!
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