Country Living Series

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Battening down the hatches

It's been a mild winter so far -- hardly any snow and not overly cold. Supposedly all that is changing tonight.

Because we're two miles off-road (meaning, not plowed) and on the prairie, invariable the equation goes like this: wind + snow = not going anywhere. Our road is subject to deep drifts that can strand us for days. So we've canceled all outside obligations and are prepared to hunker down. Out here, it sure is nice to work from home.

Yesterday we spent the day battening down hatches. We had patches of watery sunshine...

...and the temps were in the high 20s(F), so I spent much of the afternoon working outside in my shirt sleeves. This is why I like Idaho. I could never handle hot climates.

We cut, split, and stacked two loads of firewood on the front porch.

We also draped the wood with a canvas tarp to keep the snow off. In windy conditions, whirling snow tends to vortex onto the porch and cover the wood.

I cleaned and padded Matilda's stall...

...and re-padded the chicken coop with fresh hay as well.

We also locked six young and randy roosters (destined for the freezer) into the inside cage. They were terrorizing the hens and I'd had enough. If the chickens are going to be cooped up (literally) for the next few days, the poor hens will need a break.

This little girl is one of Smoky's bandits. Although it's doubtful she's Smoky's actual biological daughter, she certainly has her foster mama's sweetness and friendly curiosity. She hopped onto the handle of the wheelbarrow to watch as I forked hay into the coop.

I cleaned out part of the old barn to give extra shelter to the cattle.

I also inventoried our chicken feed. Plenty.

Don also temporarily put up two sheets of OSB board over the doorway in the barn which faces south. Our wind usually comes from the southwest, so this will keep a fair bit of snow out of the barn.

Lastly, we put our snow shovels right by the door.

That pretty much took care of outdoor chores. Then we turned inside. Since we always stand the chance to lose power when we have stormy conditions, I made sure all the laundry was caught up.

We already have jugs of water stored away, so that wasn't a concern; but clean clothes are a good thing. We all took showers as well.

We also tidied the house...

...and made sure the oil lamps were filled.

We didn't need to purchase a single thing in order to prepare for this storm -- we have everything we need already.

It seems like half the severe storms that get predicted never materialize. However we've had winters where we're snowed in for a week or two at a time, so we never take chances. Once -- once! -- we got caught with our pants down and ran low on chicken feed, so we vowed never to let that happen again.

Now we'll see what happens tonight and tomorrow. One thing's for sure -- this virtually guarantees us a white Christmas!


  1. Cleaning up the house has become part of my pre-storm checklist. This year I did a lot better having both sand and salt on hand for snow and ice but I think it's the last year for my poor old snow shovel. So I'll get a new one when they go on sale in the spring.

  2. Looks like you are well prepared, take care, stay warm. I am enjoying a nice warm fire tonight since it is an ok to burn day, went and got a load of firewood yesterday and another one today, love having a fire in the woodstove.

  3. Stay warm, the wind chill can be the worst factor to deal with, as you know.

  4. Reminds me of the years we lived in Missoula MT. We no longer in that area, but when the winter comes in, it really let you know it is winter. I do not miss shoveling the snow, but I still have my shovel. I use it to clean up the hay off the bottom of my barn floor(cement flooring) for the cattle and horse. Enjoy the white Christmas.

  5. Smoky's bandit is so big! Wow, it seems just recently they were cute little chicks. :)

  6. Now THATS the way to be prepared for a winter storm. Your animals will be happy, especially the hens. Lol

  7. hi. when we lived in pennsylvania we had snow fence. it is orange plastic-type material. put some fence posts on the drive and hang it temporarily for winter. unless your driveway is right in the line of fire. i keep the shovel indoors then the handle isn't so cold. i use a big plastic grain shovel. it ideb harvey

  8. Jealous. We haven't had bupkus for winter yet.

  9. Same thing here, but -17 degrees and frost only, very little snow. Palmer, AK

  10. no winter to brag about here in n.e.mississippi, but when blizzards hit the west we tend to get a little of the white stuff blown our way..take good care of yourself and yours-stay warm and dry.

  11. Stay safe, stay warm, love your new pic/header! You have a beautiful home! :)

  12. We started the day with a 4 hr power outage after a tree blew down, and it proceeded on to snow, which is now sticking.

    Confirm we are in hunker readiness mode here, too. :)