Friday, January 31, 2014

Winter weather

Unlike much of the rest of the country, north Idaho has been spared the brutal cold and heavy snows that have plagued so many other places. In fact, we're having a remarkably mild winter with barely any snow at all.

Earlier in January we had some high winds. Wind is nothing unusual out here on the prairie, but once in awhile we get a humdinger and this was one of those times. On Saturday, January 11, the day started out calm but the wind picked up by dawn. It was screaming. We had every kerosene lamp on standby and we kept every livestock tank brimful in case we lost power (when we lose power, we lose the use of our well pump), but miraculously the power stayed on.

But a particularly violent gust snapped the top 40 feet off of our tallest pine. Thankfully no cows were underneath.

And then we had a two-week period of dead calm, freezing fog, and bare frosty ground. While I'm sure folks in the Midwest would give their eye-teeth for this weather, frankly it got boring after awhile. The kids wanted a good whomping snowstorm so they could get some sledding in.

The weather finally accommodated them. I don't know if whomping was an accurate description, but at least some weather moved in.

So we did a few things to get ready, notably splitting some firewood. It was juuuust beginning to snow while I split.

Front porch, before:

Front porch, after:

I caught up on laundry.

I've been keeping Matilda and Amy tucked in the barn for a few days. (Before anyone hollers, Matilda is a Jersey. It's normal for Jerseys to look quasi-skeletal with ribs and hipbones showing.)

The reason is because Matilda is limping. She somehow twisted or sprained her back right ankle. Since Matilda is our lowest cow on the totem pole, she tends to get pushed around by the more dominant animals, so I wanted her to stay quiet for a few days.

I found a clutch of eggs in the barn...

...which turned into a bigger clutch the next day.

On Wednesday, we got about five inches of very pretty snow.

Breakfast for the beasties.

We had a little bit of wind, but mostly it was calm snow.

In the afternoon, I let Matilda and Amy out to stretch their legs and also so I could clean the barn. Amy's not used to being confined, so she immediately dashed around and fell to playfully sparring with Petunia.

Matilda is still limping, but seemed glad to get outside.

A sentinel quail watches over his flock.

Major is easy to spot in this kind of weather.

He and Lydia enjoyed a good romp. At his age, Major mostly stands there and lets Lydia do the romping, but his body language eggs her on.

The dogs were aided and abetted by Older Daughter.

We decided it was time for some comfort snacks in the form of survival cookies. Lydia is very attentive through this process because she knows from experience that she gets to lick the spoon. We divvy up any leftover bits of dough between her and Major.

Altogether it was nice to finally get a taste of winter.

My sympathies to all the poor souls across the country who want to shove winter back where it came from. Hang in there, spring is on the horizon.


  1. Thanks for your sympathies! Expecting another 6" in the morning.

    I found it so funny the other day listening to the news and there were two news women whining about the ice in Georgia. Waaa.
    An observation or two.

    1. I'm sorry you were stuck in traffic. Take some personal responsibility and leave sooner....don't wait for Daddy Government to make that judgement call for you.

    2. Yes, getting stuck in traffic is a possibility. Didn't pack a bottle of water or a granola bar, did ya? Blanket?

    3. And it was soooo cold walking the final bit home. Cutie boots don't cut it do they. There's a reason some of us are not fashionable.

    Frankly, it looked balmy there after two rounds of blizzard conditions and -40 below zero wind chill. I wonder how long those Barbie dolls would last up here? They's probably complain that the governor should shut off the snow machine. lol

    from the West Coast of The Mitt

    1. OUCH! I am in Georgia:-) We NEVER get ice or snow and therefore we do not have proper preparations for the possibility. We rarely need a heavy jacket, much less snow boots! I imagine some folks will pack a car emergency kit. In their defense most southern cities do not have sand or salt trucks either. I know the weather man didn't predict any bad weather either, so kids were in school, etc. I am glad we do not get snow here, as I am a true Southern girl at heart and rather love mild winters! I hope you stay warm and cozy through the next snow to hit your neck of the woods!

  2. I am somewhat frustrated for no real freeze as our garden depends on at least one freeze to kill the bugs.

    I love the clothesline. We have three lines in our former school room and during most months utilize our solar dryer!!

    Hoping we have one freeze soon!


  3. Major may be up there in years, but he can still balance Lydia on the end of his nose just as well as he did when she was a puppy, doesn't he? :)

    A McSp

    1. I thought the same thing when I saw that pic, looks like they could join the circus, haha!

  4. Jersey's are adorable but frail, my mother used to use a New Zealand Rug [horse turn out rug] on our Purebred jersey Tabitha, it looked ridiculous but did Tabitha a world of good and helped her face winter and cold temperature far better. The local rancher's always had a good laugh over "the Sissy Cow". My father said a fat Jersey was a sign of a poor milker.
    Winter cold isn't easy but if your ready and prepared with proper supplies and a good heat source and warm clothes that don't look fashionable it is manageable. Lovely post and the pictures are wonderful.

  5. Lydia nosing in on the cookie action...LOL.

    Just Me

  6. We got a bare dusting overnight...gone by 10am. I'm beginning to think a winter without snow is a pretty useless season.

  7. Awww, Lydia is SUCH a good helper. Our daughter's dog, Jada, is our sous chef when we're cooking; she's definitely sous our feet!

  8. Love your photos, especially the dogs who look quite a bit like our two. Yes winter has been hard this year in the Midwest, lost 3 steer in the bitter cold a couple weeks ago but without winter how would we ever learn to appreciate the total sweetness of spring?

  9. Nice pictures as always. glad you finally got some snow. I wish you had some of ours as we have more than enough. See what we have at

  10. Great pics. I always complain about the snow and then when it melts, I complain about the MUD. Can't win! LOL

  11. I'm nowhere near the Atlanta area, you couldn't pay me to live in a big city. I agree with most of your comments, people should have warm clothes, appropriate shoes and a get home bag in the car all the time, but especially when there's been fair warning of a snow storm. I was prepared for bad weather and possible loss of power (I always am, but had shored things up, checked batteries, had lanterns, flashlights, kerosene heaters, etc. out and ready). Fortunately we only had a couple inches of beautiful snow the first day, no loss of power at all, however the 2nd & 3rd days we did have some black ice on the roads and only went a couple places in our 4WD truck.

    I did take offense at the implication about "those Barbie dolls" and the comment about thinking the Gov. should turn off the snow machine. We're not all swooning belles with big hair, far from it, just like I don't believe all people on the West Coast are liberal yuppies.

    One thing that I can say, (not to defend people for not being more responsible) but the traffic situation on that interstate, which is basically a loop around the entire city of Atlanta is a night-mare everyday. The local officials have been re-miss for awhile now for not expanding the roads in and out of town. With the high numbers of suburban commuters into the city, and the high taxes they pay, there should be more options for travel. The officials didn't do some things they should have such as close schools or salt and sand the major highways. With the number of professional truckers who wrecked their semis (they drive all over the country in all kinds of weather) it kind of shows it wasn't just us dumb southerners who don't know how to drive on ice.

    Have a great day mdoe37 and all others and stay safe and prepared wherever you live. :)

    1. I thought the same as you! I am in Georgia, although NOT in Atlanta. My town doesn't have a salt or sand truck and the weather man didn't expect any precipitation. Kids went to school as normal and then POW! At 10 am the ice and snow fell. I imagine more people will make a car emergency kit to keep from now on, although many will not. I rarely need a heavy coat in my arts, much less warm boots. I was grateful to have been home that day, although my oldest was in college classes. A normal 20 minute commute home took her 7 hours! I am glad we are back to the normal winter rain today:-)

    2. Sam I Am,
      I'm glad your oldest got home safe, 7 hours is so long, she must have been scared. I was glad that my daughter (only one still at home) goes to a small private Christian school and they had already cancelled school for the day, so she wasn't out in this, I know those of us here in the south get a lot of flake about how things go in snow/ice but most people are not used to really cold weather or driving in snowy and icy conditions. People around here rarely have snow tires, chains or wool clothing because they never need it.

  12. I didn't think you got spring there.
    I thought you got "just been winter".

    - Charlie

  13. We'd give anything for winter weather. 4 days--since the first day of rain in September--is NOT enough. Our hills are still brown. Scary!

  14. Your blog is awesome! Love all the pictures and descriptions. Thank you!