Community Blessings In Times Of Need

by Texas Homesteader
*contains an affiliate link

A few years ago Northeast Texas was hit with a whammy of a winter storm.  Some areas got snow, some got sleet, still others got rain. We got ICE. And lots of it.

Our homestead was hit hard and the ice accumulation was so heavy that we listened fearfully in the dark while many trees came crashing down all night long as the storm raged on. The next morning at first light we tentatively stepped out into what looked like an icy war zone.

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Ice Storm Aftermath

The damage was severe, power was out and trees had collapsed everywhere including along our county road – completely blocking it off along with our own escape route.

With only half of our road paved and the other half dirt we knew as soon as the ground started to thaw we would be stuck for the duration. (We’ve begged our county commissioner for years to finish paving that tiny strip of our road but that’s a story for another time…)

RancherMan tried to clear it for ourselves & our neighbors by firing up the tractor & attempting to move the heavy ice-laden trees with the front-end loader. But even with this equipment it was just too much and he was unsuccessful.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Then a wonderful thing happened. Although there are only 3 houses on our road, we all gathered along the road with chainsaws, tractors & manpower.

By banding together we were successful in finally clearing the street. Even the kids pitched in pulling frozen cut limbs off the road! What a wonderful warming sense of community I felt.

Community Effort

Now what? Everyone in town was affected with large limbs and even whole trees down. In such a small town where will all this debris go?

Thankfully the local Rodeo was also willing to help and they opened up their large lot for people to bring their branches and brush during the massive cleanup.

As trailer load after trailer load was brought to the rodeo grounds and unloaded, a bulldozer compacted the debris into a huge pile and it was burned.

By the time that pile was burned, much more debris had been dropped off and the procedure started again and again. They left their lot open for a month, offering citizens a place to take all those limbs. THANK YOU!

High School Students Help Too

The local High School was also willing to step up. A program was implemented where several students went throughout the community to assist those citizens that needed help cleaning up all these limbs. Older folks who weren’t physically able to do such strenuous work or single moms with no access to chainsaws or trailers, or just citizens that didn’t know what else to do. What a blessing!

I’m so proud of the way our city banded together to help each other in this time of great need. Isn’t that what community is all about?

Cleanup Continues

Even after all this time since that frightening day, the cleanup continues on our homestead & we have been working hard to clean up the mess left behind.

Some of the damaged trees are large Bois D’Arc trees, also known as Ironwood trees. They’re so solid that they’re rot resistant and are much valued for use in posts for buildings or fences. But their density makes them brutal on a chainsaw’s chain.


Thankfully RancherMan was able to purchase an inexpensive *Electric Chain Saw Sharpener. He was surprised at how quickly & easily it sharpened a dull blade, even noting that the chain seemed sharper than it was when it was new. All I know is it kept us from having to have our chains professionally sharpened or replacing them prematurely.

So with these tools at our disposal we continue the herculean task at hand – cleaning up our property. At this rate we should be done in a decade or so! LOL I’m considering it my exercise program and it’s quite a workout indeed.


We haul packed trailer loads of large limbs to a burn pile in one of our pastures.  There’s usually a small burn pile being built in this pasture anyway since each spring we celebrate another year on our ranch by having a large family reunion with games, a cookout & hayride ending with a bonfire at dusk. Yep, the bonfire’s going to be a doozy this year!


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9 thoughts on “Community Blessings In Times Of Need

  1. Andrea

    I remember another ice storm like this 15 to 20 years ago. The ice coated the power lines and they snapped. My mom was living between Clarksville and Idabel, OK and was without power for two weeks being close to the end of the power lines. But it was a very valuable lesson in being prepared and banding together with your neighbors. Many neighbors had all electric houses and with no power, they could not do anything. We had a house full of people for about two weeks until power was restored. After living in the city, I completely understand about not knowing your neighbors or people not banding together to help each other out.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      OMGosh you’re so right Andrea – and community support is so important in times of need. Sadly this kind of support isn’t available in some communities. But I realize we all have to do our own part to contribute to this kind of community. Love my small town!

  2. Shawna

    It is sad seeing such beautiful trees coming down. When we had our hurricane 7 years ago it took down some gorgeous old trees. How were the cattle did they all make it through that storm okay?
    Thank you for joining us on our Four Seasons Blog Hop. Pinning Now.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I agree Shawna, it breaks my heart too. The cattle all came through just fine, they have a pretty high tolerance for cold so as long as we kept them in fresh hay they really didn’t skip a beat.

  3. Candy C.

    What a mess the storm left behind but what a heartwarming post about neighbors and the community pulling together! 🙂

  4. Pat

    Tammy– I wanted to come back and say… (because I forgot in my previous comment)

    I appreciate a community to that works together and shares the burdens of their neighbors. It is something, sadly, that is taken for granted now days. There are some communities that just don’t have that togetherness.
    It is good to read about such great gathering of neighbors.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I know what you mean Pat. In our neighborhood in Dallas we didn’t even know our neighbors. With the busy, busy, busy lifestyle there’s just no time to bother. (it’s sad & I’m so ashamed to admit it) But slowing down has made me focus on the important things in life – good neighbors & a vibrant & caring community. It doesn’t happen by itself though, I realize we’ve all got to do our part! ~TxH~

  5. Pat

    I’m curious as to whether or not there was good wood able to be cut and stacked aside to age. Not all of it burned I hope. We heat our home with wood and so good hearty wood for the stove would be used to heat our home…some of it would be mixed with already seasoned wood and burned this year even.
    The Bois D’arc wood is certainly something to be used around the homestead– fence posts like you mentioned and steps or foundation piers for outbuildings–tool sheds, storage, etc.
    Just a thought.
    Also– I love the amazon link. I have one too– and it hasn’t made me much money yet. Hoping it will take off this year. I like your NOTE at the bottom. Nicely written.


    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Oh yes, Pat. RancherMan & I are cutting what I call the ‘fans’ of the trees and hauling them to the burn pile, the larger diameter wood is being cut & stacked for firewood. We have a beautiful and very old Franklin stove in our home and although it’s not our primary source for heat we rely on it heavily to keep our utility bills down. We’ll have quite the supply of firewood. ~TxH~


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