PERRYSBURG (WTVG) - It may be spring on the calendar, but ice is still covering a large portion of a Perrysburg horse farm. Parts of Lucas and Wood Counties took a direct hit when water and ice spilled over the banks of the Maumee River early last month. Clean up has been a slow process in some cases.
It's been nearly two months since ice and water damaged River Hollow Farm. A lot has been done, but there is still a lot of clean up work ahead. A big field is still covered in layers of ice.
Larry Hutson and his wife own River Hollow. He says it could be weeks before it all melts,"Until you go through something like this, it's hard to comprehend the scope of the damage. It's frustrating not to be able to fix it all right away."
Dozens of horses had to be evacuated in a matter of minutes in early February as several feet of water filled the barn. The horses were taken to several different farms around the area. The water quickly receded, but Hutson says it left acres and acres of debris in its wake, "It's like a war zone or something you'd see on TV. The bark of trees was ripped off twenty feet in the air. There's still 6-7 feet of ice covering a lot of our outside space. It's unimaginable."
Inside the barn just about everything is back on track. The once waterlogged surface in the riding arena has been replaced. All the horses are home, and riding lessons have started back up. However, it's a much different story outside.
Erika Heintschel-Githens is the head horse trainer at the farm, "We've accomplished a lot so far, but there's a lot left to be done. I can't believe how much is still out there. When you walk outside it's still like wow. This is a great reminder that weather is such a powerful force. It's truly like National Geographic in your backyard."
This may look like piles of mud, but it's large pieces of ice. That's because the ice is covered in dirt and debris. Hutson says it's all a waiting game now, "It gets warm for a couple days and then all of a sudden it's cold again. It's supposed to rain this weekend, so that will help us. We need a good string of warm days."
Hutson says a neighboring farm field was being cleared today so crops can be planted in the coming weeks. But because of all the ice, Hutson can't get heavy equipment in to parts of his property yet, "Just walking through it all is tough. You'll fall on the ice. You think it's dirt and it's not. There are trees down that are several feet in diameter in the way of our driveways. We can't get equipment in until the ice melts."
This has certainly been a challenge, but Hutson says his family is committed to making sure this horse farm is part of the local landscape for generations to come,"We're here for the long haul. I'm hoping Mother Nature doesn't beat me. We're planning to win this one."
The Hutsons say damage totals at the farm add up to tens of thousands of dollars. At this point, it's not clear if insurance will cover any of that. So far people have donated just over $15,000 to the Hutsons through a GoFundMe account to help pay for some of the repair work.
We've posted a link to the farm's Facebook page.