Not that we are crazy. Well, we are. But not that we have school bus bunkers buried in the back 40. (Maybe that’s not so crazy…) But it seems to make sense that from time to time the power is going to go off. And there are things I could do to make that more manageable in the winter like having a wood-burning cook stove and something to eat…just in case.
And I have heard of people who go to work in the morning and come home that afternoon unemployed. Scary! So it seems to make sense to have a lump of cash laying around to help stretch us through lean times. And my resume up to date…just in case.
And sometimes, when you are minding your own business as you drive down the road, a tire on your car will express its mortality. So we maintain a spare tire in our car…just in case.
And when government falls, the dollar fails and we all stretch cow hides across our dune buggies and search the plains for petrol, I’m covered. I can make whiskey for barter in Bartertown. I just hope I have enough hair left to have a cool mohawk.
But did you see the recent pictures of Buffalo, NY? Windows pushed into houses by the weight of snow. Second story windows partially covered by snow.
What would I do? I mean, assuming I had advanced notice.
First things first. My parents would be trapped at their house for who knows how long. I would probably suggest that they come camp out here or at least bring a vehicle up here for easy access to the main road.
I would have the kids start bringing in firewood and lots of it. Not the cool fire, warm day stuff, the dense, hot oak or hedge. Just keep bringing it in. Power goes out we can still cook and we can melt snow for water. We also need to make sure all of the toilet buckets are clean and half-filled with fresh sawdust.
I need to make sure we have plenty of dog food for Reggie. We can manage without it for a few days but I would rather we didn’t have to. I’ll have to add that to a list or have an online retailer deliver it two days from now. Will the storm be here by then?
Otherwise we are ahead of the game here. There is plenty of meat in the freezer and canned goods in the cellar. Maybe a little short on wine…. The car is full of gas. We could just drive South to avoid the storm but we have livestock.
And that’s where I hit a brick wall.
Right now the chickens are in a hoop house. It would be no big deal to put a dozen bags of feed in there along with a barrel of water. Common sense, really. But the tricky part is not knowing how much snow it takes to collapse my hoop structure. What would 6 feet do? 6 feet of wet snow? 6 feet of wet snow and high winds? Will I hear it when the collapse kills my birds?
Same with the cattle. Six feet of snow is too much to graze through and it’s too much for my barn to hold up too. So now what?
Well, I guess I need to get the cows somewhere that is sheltered from the wind. Exposure will kill them faster than starvation. Do they need a roof over their heads or do they just need shelter from wind? I could line up a wall of bales on edge to protect them from wind AND give them feed at the same time And not have to worry that the collapsing barn will crush my cattle. So now I guess it’s just a matter of ensuring the cattle have plenty of bedding material and we can call it a day. Or maybe not. Let’s look at a few examples from around the world:
So now the good news. We don’t get snowfalls like that. A foot of snow is usually the upper limit in a 24 hour period. So this is just an exercise in thought. I really don’t know how we would handle it but I welcome your comments. It only gets worse after the snow gets here. Then it melts and floods the area. Tree limbs down, power outages, soupy ground, culverts washed out of roads and more cold coming. Cows washed away, pigs swimming downstream, dogs and cats living together, Mass Hysteria! Then think of all the babies born 9 months later…
It’s enough to make a guy want to be paranoid in town.
So. Anybody have any experience weathering livestock through a severe winter storm beyond what Pa did in the Little House books? Surely one of you Canadian readers…