Nebraska Bound – Revelations, Ruminations and Reflections - One Precious Drop

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Even though we traveled with 16 trucks and semis full of supplies I told Farmer I felt like we were just a drop in a bucket. 

Consider this though.

 One single drop in an empty bucket is a start.

Add more drops.

If you can make it to the halfway point of filling the bucket you should be encouraged to keep adding a drop at a time. The full bucket is in sight.

With each precious drop you come closer to being the last drop that pushes a previous drop out of the bucket.

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Our convoy was one of those drops.

Preparations –

After going through this I can’t imagine the hours of preparation that it took to pull this all together. Kerry Tucker along with others (too many to mention and fearful to leave someone out) are amazing. We delivered to many producers many different items. The trucks were loaded in an attempt to have the right supplies for each producer together. Contacting companies for donations, contacting farmers and ranchers to find out their needs. Contacting locals for their assistance.  It isn’t easy finding accommodations for 17 trucks.

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This is what Michigan brought to Nebraska.

Approximately:

170 round hay bales

50 round straw bales

400 square straw bales

100 square hay bales

6 tons Purina cattle cubes

80 mineral blocks

25 hog panels

100+ t posts

200 Easter baskets

75 50 lb. bags of horse feed

20 bags of shavings

500 lbs. pig feed

1000 lbs. cow feed

60+ rolls wire

740 wood posts

Another 3 skids of cow feed – over 1000 lbs.

Miscellaneous fencing tools

Veterinary medicines

And a whole lot of love, prayers, encouragement and well wishes.

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People -

West MI community is amazing. All the donations for personal care and the awesome Easter Baskets made and given were over the top.

The farmers who donated straw, hay and other feed. Those who lended trucks and trailers. Those who gave money for fuel and food.

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The drivers and all that went along were good, good people. The best. Their kindness and unselfishness has challenged me to be better.

Family and friends that stayed back at home so others could go. Doing chores, milking cows, taking care of kids and other business.

All of you on face book and the internet that read the posts and blogs. Your encouragement was beneficial for all. Sharing and spreading the news was wonderful. It brought more attention to where it was needed – the farmers and ranchers.

Father and son hog farmers that lost 700 hogs.

Father and son hog farmers that lost 700 hogs.

I heard it said more than once to reporters or others “It’s not about us. We’re bringing help. The focus must stay on those farmers and ranchers that were affected by this.”

Many along the way would hand off money at gas stations, rest stops, parking lots. “We love what you are doing. I want to help.”

Producers -

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The farmers and ranchers we went to help are strong people. They truly are what’s right with America. They stand strong and firm, facing the future of rebuilding and restoring. Even when all is lost they carry a flicker of hope within. We all need to fan those tiny glimmers of fire with prayer and any help we can provide.

Some issues they are faced with are insurance problems. One farmer can’t get insurance money unless he shows them the dead cow. Many of his cows were washed away. Some are still buried in the sand and there are some on his property that aren’t his.

The hog producer that we helped had to pay $5000 for 2 semi-trucks to haul away the dead pigs. His insurance refuses to pay. There will be time spent trying to fight that.

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Another was told it would take $8300 an acre to scrape off the sand and silt from his land. Who can afford that?

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There are miles and miles of missing fencing.

Feed bins split and collapsed spilling the feed in the flooding waters. Those that didn’t spill over are ruined from the feed sitting in the water.

Those that lost the cattle had spent years growing their herd through genetics. Most animal replacement will be a long-term process.

As a farm wife and mother, it is hard to watch my husband and son when hardships come. I am only able to help so much. These mothers, wives, daughters, sons and other family members feel so inadequate. The toll this is taking on the health of these families is physical and emotionally painful.

People again -

Father and son producers

Father and son producers

The glimmer of sunshine in all this darkness is the younger generation. The sons and daughters of the producers affected are standing with their parents and are choosing to stay, not throw up their hands, walk away and work at another profession. They are committed to be the next generation to work the soil, to inhabit the farmstead.

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I must, I have to and I cannot say it strong enough – the kids that came with us are the best!! Farm kids are a different breed from non-farm kids. These kids worked their hineys off. They pitched in. They saw a need and went into action before anyone asked. There was no whining, no complaining.

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And they managed to have fun all along the way.

I’m going to stray down another path a moment. I try not to be judgmental. I try to be sensitive and caring. But, I just have to say. I think we are growing a weak, spineless bunch of kids when we don’t insist our kids work for the things they want. The bubble wrap we are using when a kid is bullied isn’t going to help them when they get into the real world where the bubble wrap has been used up. We need to let our kids get tough with real world experiences. Electronics are great. Life experiences are greater. Most farm kids grow backbones through the “have tos” on the farm. When life depends on your actions you learn perseverance and tenacity.

Perspective –

This event was horrible. This was life altering. It looks and feels overwhelming. There are mountains for these producers to climb. Standing on the mountain top of their needs this weekend gives us a clear view of how small our issues are.

Two of my favorite farmers - it’s the people not the things.

Two of my favorite farmers - it’s the people not the things.

The stuff we have here shrinks. The “things” we need to deal with need to remain things. Relationships hold the value of life.

Relationships created on this trip will last a long time. Memories of their stories will invade our thoughts. Blessings will be returned to us – that’s the cool thing God designed. When you bless it comes back.

There are still needs to be met. There will be for a long time.

You can help by praying. You can help financially. If you have a desire to help, send a message on the Facebook page – Farm and Ranchers Aid from West Mi and you will be directed.

We are all drops in this thing called life. I’m grateful we could be a drop that helped to start to refill those farmers’ and ranchers’ buckets.

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