Hurricane Florence came to town and blew the feathers off of Ruby.

Ruby with a feather-less tail

With my youngest daughter and her two young children, we ran for the hills when we heard there was a mandatory evacuation ordered for New Bern, NC.  My friends in Rutherfordton, NC hosted us for almost a week, while we attempted to pretend things were hunky-dory back home.

I knew my chickens were in good hands with my next door neighbor looking after them. I also knew the hurricane would be a huge stress for the girls. There was little surprise to come home to see Ruby looking haggard, disheveled, and barren of eggs. I’m not sure how she lost all those feathers, but it could be the hurricane blew them off her. I didn’t see many feathers in the chicken house or yard when I arrived home. I was amazed to see Ethel and Rose looking unfazed.

The girls, well, Rose, was laying one egg a day as my daughter and I “relaxed” in our safe haven and as we made the journey home. Rose continued to lay an egg a day for about two weeks. Then she stopped.

A few days after she stopped laying eggs, I went out to tend the girls and discovered the chicken house full of feathers and a moth-eaten Rose. After several days of filling the house with feathers, she looked almost naked.

Her feathers are beginning to return. One day she’s all pin feathers, the next, poof, real feathers. I look forward to having them start laying eggs again. I miss the eggs.

As for the human and animal equation here in New Bern, they took a big hit in Florence. We had to take a circuitous route home to avoid flooded roads the Monday after the storm. Water stood high in the ditches on either side of the road as we worked our way down Hwy 17 from little Washington. Folks had already started the deconstruction of their homes, mounding the duct-work, insulation and sheet-rock along the road, creating voluminous privacy fences.

Places that have never flooded, flooded. Other commonly flooding areas were spared. Many people lost everything while a good number lost a lot. A few people died. Scores of people and animals were rescued by boat. The stress factor here was palpable.

Clean up continues and life for the lucky ones has become routine again. There is still so much more effort required to get near complete recovery. It’s going to be a long while before life returns to normal for everyone.

It was eye-opening to see all the organizations band together and come from far and wide to help with everything. Food, clothing, deconstruction, tree removal, tarping roofs… you name it. Bless them all.



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