We heard the storm was coming for several days over the radio, giving us goodly time to prepare for it. It is not that we live so far from town, but we have a long private drive to keep open and clear. Winter has been slow hitting this year, but has made up for it this week.
There are about five inches of snow on the ground, with a nice, hard layer of ice firmly placed all over the top like a crusty bagel. The strong winds demand the ice to stay put, which makes it all the more easy to stay put in the house as well. No chance of any melt today either. There is some clearing we need to do with the tractor blade out at the barn. The thick ice and frozen ground puts a strain on the horses, most especially the minis. They stayed in and around the barn all day yesterday. Duke ventured out a bit this morning, but not for long. Our mini, Snowbell, thought she would join him, but smartly changed her mind.
In preparation, this past Sunday afternoon found my husband in the warm garage getting blades set up on the tractor, checking fluids, and filling up with fuel. I, on the other hand, was out tending to the animals and barn. Spreading fresh, warm straw in stalls, and under the roof for the horses, checking salt, filling water troughs, filling the chicken feed dispenser and fresh water. How chickens enjoy scratching around fresh straw!
It is a magical time just before a storm. The overcast sky foretelling the coming weather, preparing itself, just as we were. A text from families living in both Harrisonburg, and Timberville happily announced snow was falling. Was it at our place? Not yet. They generally always get it before we do.
‘Keep going, it will be all ready for the animals,‘ I told myself. Thankfully one big worry that no longer exists is water troughs. With heaters in them, the only concern is keeping them filled. That is for the horses anyway, the chickens’ water is different. Having two water containers for them, one stays in our heated tack room, to switch out when the other gets frozen.
Something told me to stop my work and look around. For one thing I needed to find our puppy, and be sure the chickens were hanging around the barn. That is when I saw the snow quietly making its gentle announcement. It fell steadily and thicker for the rest of the day. As night fell so did the sleet, and with it, the Old Man Winter wind blew his icy blast heartily over our cozy, buttoned-down farm.
Looks like there may be a break one day this week to clean things up and prepare again. Bring it on. We are ready.