Post-Hurricane Maria

The good news is that all humans at ARTfarm (and other neighbors at Longford and Yellow Door Farm) survived the storm uninjured. 

It is day four. Our own homes at the farm maintained roofs and structural integrity but experienced flooding. We are still assessing damage at the farm, but the most obvious losses include the crucial seedling house, and the ARTbarn which were totally destroyed. There was some damage to the farmstand (still functional). Many of our pasture fences are blown over, damaged and down. A light duty trailer flipped onto a gate. One prize ram and two young ewes died, several chickens were killed (one chicken tractor coop was destroyed) but ALL the turkeys weathered the storm and are wandering around the farm (their enclosure came down and their house cartwheeled into a gut). Countless trees were lost – all leaves are gone from all trees and many snapped at the base or lost large primary limbs at the first fork. At least 40% of trees have major damage or loss including, sadly, our fruit trees. We are unsure about the immediate season’s plan.

We know little about the rest of the island except what we have heard from word of mouth from neighbors on foot or walking several miles around the farm. Until yesterday the roads were all blocked in by downed utility poles. The hurricane took a WNW course across the island, we have heard that the true eye was to the south of St. Croix by about 20 miles. Further west on the island there was more damage. Without Internet or phone communication of any kind, we know little about how the storm affected different parts of the island and neighboring islands, or if there have been any casualties. We have FM radio, and one station appears to be functioning and taking call-ins from local residents. There are long long lines just to get into grocery stores, and people are standing in the hot sun for several hours trying to get necessities. To post this message we had to drive into town during curfew hours to find a Wi-Fi signal. With heavy traffic, this takes a good chunk of the day. There are downed lines everywhere and driving is pretty treacherous.

Military planes continue to fly overhead, helicopters have buzzed us. 

Our immediate needs (which we would be happy to reimburse someone for) include a portable generator with a 220 V outlet to run the farm pump, another portable generator to keep other cold storage going, 4 heavy duty 100ft outdoor rated extension cords, a 14 inch Stihl chainsaw with extra chains and filters, and a Ryobi flashlight, Ryobi portable fans, single charger and two spare batteries of the “one +” 18v LiOn 4Ah Ryobi type. 

We are extremely grateful and blessed for being spared much worse damage. Many homes on St. Croix have lost roofs and although we have not heard of any storm related fatalities many people have lost much.

We will try to post again when we can. Love, ARTfarm

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