Monday, November 22, 2010

Oh the weather outside is frightful...

Well, winter has arrived with a roar.

It started Tuesday morning when we woke up to a gentle blanket of snow.  I took these shots very early in the morning.  Very pretty and peaceful.

It was only a couple of inches so it was no big deal.

It's always amusing to watch chickens dealing with something they've never seen before.

Matilda wasn't sure what to make of this stuff either.

Here's Matilda's and my tracks as I led her through the driveway back to the woods.

A little patch o' sunshine...

Well, that quiet interlude lasted until about 10 am, when the wind picked up and it was miserable.  But the temperature also rose and melted off most of the snow, so it was a tradeoff.

Fast forward to Sunday.  We'd gotten a little bit more snow but nothing significant.  On Sunday afternoon, Don and the girls went on errands and I stayed home to get some wood stacked.  The butte to the south of us looked like it was "onding on snow."

Sure enough, within a few minutes a snow squall obliterated the butte.

I managed to get a lot of this...

...transferred to the porch, adding to what was already there.

I also cleaned out Matilda's pen.

This morning it was cold and windy.  Here I am kitted out to feed the beasties.

The cows looked rather encrusted.

We have a small backblade on the tractor.  Don had to plow out the driveway because it had drifted shut (a common occurrence).

Then Don checked the weather for this evening and we saw this:

It's not often we get a blizzard warning for these parts.  More often then not, dire predictions fizzle out and not much happens.  Still, it's not a warning we can ignore.  This is when I'm so thankful we work at home.

Whenever we have both snow and wind, we're almost instantly drifted shut. It's like there's a vortex effect at the end of our driveway, so our nearly two-mile non-county (meaning, unplowed) dirt road can and often does drift closed, as well as our 300 foot long driveway. I mean, we had two inches of snow last night, and with the wind we had today the driveway already had some 18 inch drifts, for pete's sake.

It's also a good time to finally pull together something we should have done a long time ago: a car emergency kit.  I've been locating the items and piling them in various places.

Here's what I pulled together, listed in no particular order:
- Granola bars
- Cups (metal)
- Two mylar "space" blankets
- Plastic grocery bags and rubber bands (to keep our shoes dry if we don't have boots)
- Small tarp
- Matches
- Candles (long-lasting votive)
- Half-pint jars to put candles in to keep them stable
- Bic lighters
- Deck of cards
- Flares
- Gloves
- Fluorescent orange survey tape
- Flashlight
- Extra batteries
- Blanket, rolled up
- Money
- Toilet paper
- Handkerchiefs
- Hand warmers

What we still have to add:
- Paracord (narrow but very very strong)
- Come-along (for winching out of ditches)
- Shovel
- Something to read, probably those mini New Testaments

What's conspicuously absent is water.  It would freeze, so we're not sure how to handle that.  We can scoop snow and melt it over a candle flame, so that's our plan for the moment.

I put most things in plastic ziplock bags for a bit of extra waterproofing.

Here's the zipped up kit.  What a nice feeling to have that all pulled together.

We battened down the hatches and prepared to be without electricity, just in case the wind knocks out a power line.  We filled every jug in the house with water (if the power goes out, our well goes out).

We all took showers.  I caught up on laundry.  I'll make sure dishes are done before bedtime.  We have plenty of firewood for heat, propane for cooking, and oil lamps for light.  If the power is still out when the temperature drops, we're even prepared to bring the chickens into the washroom to keep them from freezing.  Hey, whatever works.


  1. There is a lot to laugh about in spite of the hardship this creates. The chickens,Matilda and you Patrice. Way to bundle up and get out there. Those beasties just wouldn't get it if you didn't show up. Lydia looks about as big as a wolf.

  2. We have go-bags next to the door that we put into the car when we leave the house. One of the things I noticed you didn't have was a radio (non-battery operated) with emergency frequencies. We purchased a wind up radio, so we can have access to what is going on around us, as well as get weather reports and emergency reports if there are any.

    You are getting our wind after we get it (I am north of Seattle). We have over an inch of snow. We won't get any where near what you get or the cold. But for us it will be COLD, 16 tonight and a high of 28. We are looking at high winds tonight with gusts of 50-60 MPH possible. We are ready.

  3. Gee, I'm really surprised to learn you hadn't put this kit together sooner. I suggest adding the following:

    Tow strap
    First Aid Kit
    Moist towelettes

    The other day I was looking at the variety of health-related items at the CVS pharmacy that have been specifically developed for the elderly. Being in that category now, I thought I should investigate the types of things that may become a part of my future. There were some large moist towelettes which were created as wipes to accompany adult diapers. Not being completely incontenant yet, I decided to buy some anyway because I think they would be great for camping, bugging out, or any other situation where bathing is impossible. These moist wipes are a big 8"x9" and should work well as hygiene aids. (Thought somebody might like to know.)

    Anonymous Patriot

  4. Those gigantic wipes sound like a great idea for a car kit.

    Melting snow to drink may not work out too well if you have a carload of people. You may want to have a backpack full of water bottles that lives by the door when you are at home, and follows you out to the car every time you go somewhere, summer or winter. If we mothers can get used to carting a diaper bag everywhere we go, a backpack of water is easy.

  5. We've had well over a foot here at our place on the peninsula. It's been windy down in the flat-lands below us, but fortunately not so much here. Mostly just snow and more snow.

    Your cold weather milking outfit looks positively islamic. lol


  6. Oh, Patrice, the next time you are in Post Falls and have time to visit Cabella's, you may want to buy some of their brand-name mini-multitools. They have a small saw blade, knife blade, small phillips screwdriver, caplifter/can opener blade with standard slot screwdriver, a 1-LED flashlight, as well as pliers. They are small, not made for heavy-duty work, but they can handle the smaller tasks that often come up when stuck in a car for several hours. They are on sale for $3.33 each. That's a great price!!! I have 4 of them: 1 for the car, 1 for my BOB, 1 for my toolbox, and 1 for my fishing tackle box. I'm going to buy a few for stocking stuffers.

    Anonymous Patriot

  7. Patrice,

    Hello from [sarcasm]sunny[/sarcasm] California. We're definitely having a "white" Thanksgiving. Can't remember ever having this much snow in November. We need some of that "global warming" that everybody has been harping about.

    Of course we knew that this storm was coming, and how much snow we would be getting (about 2 feet so far), so we made preparations -- getting in firewood, closing up outbuildings, battening down the hatches.

    As I was making my preparations I could see our goats frolicking in their pasture enjoying the pre-storm calm, sunny weather. They could see me bustling about being busy doing things that they had no understanding about.

    My thought as I was watching them was that they had no clue about what was about to befall them ... spending days locked up inside their shed where they would get bored, irritable and destructive.

    Then I thought that my goats were very much like those people who are completely ignorant of the fact that our country is about to enter a time of major storming. They frolic at the mall, they go about their lives like things are always going to be as they are now.

    My goats didn't need to prepare a safe, warm place to weather out the storm because I did it for them. There are people who are depending on the government to do the same for them.

    What these people don't realize is that they will suffer the same fate as my goats. I own them. I can do with them as I wish. They have no freedom, no rights. Their lives are completely in my hands.

    Anyway, just some thoughts on a cold, snowy morning.


  8. The animals are so funny! Thanks for capturing their reactions and sharing with us.

    Ya know, I've been whining about how cold its been the last couple mornings...low 40's (coooolllldddd for So Cal). So my husband had to break out the vacuum to make sure the furnace was dust-free. A little more work than he wanted to do, but...If only he could see all the wood you had to haul to keep your family warm. I'm not going to whine anymore.

    Keep warm and dry.


  9. Once again Patrice thank you for the insight into the great state of Idaho. Even though Florida is a world away my wife and I are still not deterred from some day soon relocating to Idaho. The weather reminds my wife of some of the winters around Albion NY.

    Praying for the power to stay on and your home to stay warm and toasty

    God bless and thank you

  10. I would add extra wool socks and more food to your emergency bag, maybe some dried apples and bananas? Some cheese? Chapstick. I keep extra shoes in my car (in the summer, a pair of running shoes; in the winter, a pair of boots). A tourniquet. Jumper cables.

  11. The only thing I see for you to melt snow in is the metal cups?
    I think I'd still rather have a liter bottle of frozen water. As it melts slowly you can drink it slowly (assuming the inside of the car is above freezing)