Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

More Icy Weather

Sunrise on an icy morning the day after the storm

When I got back home from attempting to go to work, this is what my house windows looked like!

The weather remains flighty and typically Missouri-ish. Last Monday there were predictions of an ice storm that would hit the area in the early morning commute hours. Because of the dire predictions of the weather people I got up a little early and everything was dry and hushed. Despite trying to hurry through my chores to get on the road a little early, and therefore get a head start on the storm system that was moving in, I didn't make it.

By the time I was in the truck and navigating the driveway, the rain was coming down in earnest. As it hit the surface it instantly froze and coated everything with ice. Very slick ice. I managed to skate around and open the gates and get the truck out of the driveway. Then I said a very heartfelt prayer before turning out onto the road. I made it about 3 and half miles, before I found somewhere to turn around and come back. Just trying to manuover the truck into the turn around was quite exciting. The roads were simply one giant long skating rink. After I made it back home, I called my boss, and told him I had tried, but didn't think I'd be coming in. The icy rain was suppose to fall off and on all day. He told me not to worry about it, and in the end only a couple of people came in. My co-worker went in early and beat the storm, but left about mid-morning when her husband's plant closed down. So I had an 'ice day'. :-)

I ended up mostly doing paperwork--paying bills, working on some of the sheep registrations and things like that. I listened to a book on tape while I worked. It was pretty cold, so I didn't stray far from the wood stove. The cats and dogs were ecstatic that I came back home! Sage went totally out of control and was careening around at high speed, leaving disaster in his wake. Boone was a little disappointed that we didn't head off on a walk into the teeth of the storm, but he settled for pulling the comforter out from under Ariel and shredding it's corner.

Wood from last year's Ice Storm, stacked alongside the fence (damaged in the same storm)

The ice and sleet and at times snow kept up most of the day. We ended up with probably only a 1/4 to a 1/2 inch of ice all told. We did not get any outages or breaking limbs--although several 'danglers' from last years Ice Storm came down.

After I got home, I hurridley started filling buckets and containers with water. I keep quite a bit of water 'on hand' in old pop bottles and a big container, but being 13 days without will never leave my mind. Which means every little or big container that I had, got filled up. Then I carried in extra wood for the day and settled in for the day.

The next morning, the temp rose slightly to the 20s and so while I went in later (waited for daylight), I did get in to work. I had to make two tries at the hill where I turn out on the highway before I made it. The snow plows had just scraped it and hadn't put down any gravel, so it was a glaze of ice. After I got over that trauma I settled in to drive the very slick road. I was thrilled and very thankful, once I reached the main highway to find that it was mostly clear. I was not expecting that. It snowed off and on all day, but the roads actually continued to improve.

The temperature rose enough to slightly melt the ice and created these long icicles on the limbs, which clanked and clinked all night long.

By Thursday we had temps in the upper 40s and while ice still huddles on the north side, for the most part it is melted. Today is suppose to bring heavy rains with the temperature hovering near 37. I managed to get another load of 'stuff ' hauled out of the barn this morning, so probably won't do much else outside today, besides the normal chores. Yesterday I filled my woodbox that I had depleted during the iciest parts of the week, and also found more kindling to lay in for to dry.

The sheepies did fine on the ice. Their home paddock has enough of a hay pack (from the big bales) that it remained pretty passable for them. I did feed Rocky, the crippled sheep in a stall for a few days so he wouldn't have to negotiate the ice.

I've read several blogs about folks who also had been hit with ice and the difficulties of walking around and getting chores done. So I had to post a picture of my 'snow treads'. These have been a lifesaver to me, and even on the slickest, melted and refroze surface they did excellent. I actually bought them for my Mom, but they were too small. When I took them back to exchange them, they were sold out, so I ended up keeping them. This is the first time I've used them. They cost under $20 and are well worth the investment, believe me. When you weigh up all the walking around we shepherds do, and think what could happen if you fell, well.... Most farm supply stores now carry them, plus you can get them over the internet. I expect they will last quite a few seasons, if stored properly. You don't want to walk around in the house with them on, so I just slipped them on my chore shoes and put them next to the door.

Ice Cleats

Lastly, I'm thinking about a contest... ;-) Lambing season is coming up and I thought it might be fun to take guesses on who will lamb first and the approximate time. The prize will be a gently used copy of the mystery "Three Bags Full". This is a very funny, poignant book based on a flock of sheep solving their shepherd's 'murder'. I think most people will enjoy it, especially those who interact with their own sheep every day. More details will follow!

Icy Sunset

1 comment:

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

I just can't believe your weather "down south," as I never thought of Missouri as getting that much winter weather! There is a vet con. ed. meeting in Little Rock in March that Rick is thinking of attending; he wants Brian and I to go so we can all see his relatives in Springfield. We also wanted to go to Silver Dollar CIty, where we spent our honeymoon, but that might not be possible. Where are you in relation to Little Rock and Springfield?