The weather guys prepared us for days as they watched the radar screens and monitored the progress of the mass of wet, arctic air headed our way. That mass of wet, arctic air wrecked havoc and destruction all along its journey to the east coast. I can't remember how many Oklahoman homes were out of power, but it was a shocking number.
I finished baking as quickly as possible on Friday so we could make the deliveries that afternoon and be prepared to stay at home and relax as the snow fell.
We made our purchases of mushrooms and kale (for Nivea Snow's barley stew), some local farmer eggs to supplement our hen's meager offerings, a big bag of apples from Ikenberry's, and bartered farm goods for a couple of big bags of Jonathan's Star City Coffee and some of Jimbo's fantastic trout from Big Pine Trout Farm.
We left faucets dripping, threw extra hay, and Serge helped the boys cut up the long lengths of firewood so we would be set for the weekend. After hearing the news from Oklahoma I filled up many pots and pans with extra water, just in case the power went out. We fried up potatoes ( I am soooo very glad Thomas planted so many potatoes last year) and garlic and trout filets dredged in crushed almonds. Tired, I headed to bed by 10:30, watching the light snow fall in the hazy moonlit night, feeling satisfied that we were so prepared for the big snow I could relax, read, write and otherwise enjoy a lazy snow day on Saturday with the kids.
What in the world was I thinking?
The morning greeted us with a deep layer of snow and more coming down steadily from the dull gray sky. I made coffee, put on boots and coat over my nice fleecy housecoat and headed outside to get a little more wood for the fire. The snow was already so deep I picked up the lovely, ergonomic snow shovel (Thank, Julie!) and started on a little path. At that point the snow was around 9 inches deep, more or less.
Did you know that snow shoveling is addicting?
The path to the woodpile became the path to the barn. Foot by precious foot, my little canyon grew longer and longer. Might as well feed the animals and check their water. Halfway down the driveway I had to pause and warm hands. Rest and pant a minute. Coco and Priscilla greeted me happily, knowing that breakfast time had arrived. Their water was frozen, along with everyone else's, so first off I dumped the ice then started carrying buckets. Thankfully Philip had placed a warming strip on the pump in the barn so we still had water. Then it was time for hay deposits. 22 sheep, 7 bovine, and 9 goats eat a lot of hay. I thanked God for the wonderful supply in the barn as I wrangled twine and threw down the 6 or more bales of hay into the various hay racks. Fed the pigs, scattered some grain for poultry, did some housekeeping maintenance for Coco and Priscilla and the girls, then went back outside to be greeted by the snow shovel. The kids were inside maintaining fires and making breakfast, so I didn't mind the peace and quiet. Especially since I have been on kid duty now for 8 days as Philip was out for a class and conference!
Snow shoveling truly is rather addicting once you are out there and see the challenge. I could have headed back to the house at that point, but the driveway was nonexistent, being so thoroughly blanketed, and I had the idea that if I got a good start, I could send Thomas and Patrick and Maggie out later to finish the job.
At this point, the snow had deepened to over 10 inches and continued to fall steadily. Scoop. Throw. Scoop. Throw.
I laughed as I enjoyed myself, understanding that the first few feet of snow shoveling is much more enjoyable than the last many yards. Sweat began to flow, the path grew longer and wider and before you know it I was almost to the gate! Rose and Maggie joined me and the work continued. When the neighbors drove by on their tractors I remembered I was still in my nightclothes and cringed. Maybe the long black coat and Philip's black rubber boots detracted from the long, lavender fleecy thing.
An hour and a half later, the kind neighbors came and offered to finish off the driveway. I kind of hated to take away that honorable privilege from the kids, such great character building! But never mind. Thanks a bunch to the snow angels! Patrick and Thomas had plenty more character building, splitting firewood and loading the fireplace and wood stove all night long.
When I finally got back into the house, it was almost noon! Amazing how the day can get away from you. But more coffee was waiting, along with some homemade chocolate chip scones from Patrick. What a great lunch.
Other farm winter chores took up significantly more time than I had anticipated. So much for a lazy day. But we did manage to fit in a couple of episodes of The French Chef cooking classes, courtesy PBS and Netflix, and a Combat episode for the boys. By the time dark came, a foot of snow had fallen, Philip was stuck in North Carolina, and we were finishing up chores, blanketing doors and windows to keep as much cold out and heat in as possible in this old farm house. Exhausted from all that "relaxing" we fell into bed.
This morning the temps had fallen to 4 degrees. Everything was sparkly and bright. Thankfully the sun is warming things up nicely and the children have had plenty of play time out in the snow. It is too powdery to do much building, but they don't mind. As for me, all that shoveling yesterday has made me so sore, I think I will try to be as lazy as possible.
But for some reason, farm life is like family life. If one has animals or children, a snow day means very little (except for more work with the fire maintenance, wet clothes and frozen water!).