Woodland Carnage

February 4, 2009
Trees Moaning Under the weight of ice

Trees Moaning Under the weight of ice

As the sun came up, the devastation became apparent. It was hard to see our woods coated with thick arms of ice, moaning under the weight of its load.  No shouts of “Timber”, just  “crack”, “snap” and sounds of massive weight falling through the thick underbrush of the woods.

A survey through the binoculars told us there was no roof where our south hay barn sat 1 mile away. We grimaced as we knew underneath the rubble was our stock trailer loaded with fence posts purchased earlier in the week.

As CowboyDoc road his Japanese Quarterhorse out to check on his cattle, I settled into the “pioneer” mindset. Recalling “Little House on the Prairie” I built a fire in the fireplace.

Our Trailer Salesman scoffed at me when I said I wanted the “optional” fireplace. “You want a fireplace? Lady, do you know how warm the winters are down here?” I said “yes I do…put it in!” Our neighbors said it would be an insurance nightmare, but I did my homework. For all you other trailerheads out there, if your home is built on a full basement, your insurance is managable. If you just tie it to the ground, fireplaces are an insurance nightmare…just a heads up.

Although the fireplace is quite a bit smaller than my one north of the MasonDixon, I was sure I could manage campfire cooking out of it.

I now realize after taking stock of the weather hazard outside, that this may be a bit longer than just a day of power outage. Tackling the refrigerator is the next project on the agenda. Take note, the fridge heats up faster than the freezer, so moving things to a cooler with ice packs keeps it cooler longer.  I threw most everything else into a stewpot along with a venison leg to sweeten it up and put it into the fireplace to begin “slow cooking”.

The house temperature was staying fairly livable, although, long johns, heavy duty football sweats, t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, and football hoody help stave off the chill that was beginning to settle in.

By the time Cowboy Doc Came in for breakfast, I had and  entire camp kitchen perched on my family room hearth. Sausage, eggs and Cowboy coffee filled the hunger hole and got him ready to tackle the cattle chores outside.

Camp cooking in the Family Room

Camp cooking in the Family Room

He and OldTimer neighbor, chain saws at the hip, headed out to cut the trees up that had fallen and laid in state across our roads hampering us from getting hay to the cattle.  OldTimer had called and asked if we needed hay for our cows, which in fact was the next order of business, after he had purchased them a mere 3 weeks ago. He never dreamt that an ice storm would hit so hard, so fast. Our winter grazing program was working very nicely, with lots of stockpiled grasses for the animals, until now.

And there in the middle of the field were the “Northern” Horses, which we brought with us, jumping, rolling, and having a blast in the frozen tundra. They must have thought they died and went back to heaven. They settled down, into all the snow and ice they broke up…to, right….grazing….After all, they lived all their life in frozen tundra, and knew without a doubt that there was yummy grass under the popsicles. Oh those silly kids!!!

Noon meal and supper will be from the stewpot. Yummy venison stew garnished with sour cream and cheese and hot coffee.

Day two ended sitting by the fire, chatting, playing electronic suduko, and me crocheting by firelight. Throw on another blanket tonight, as the temps will be down to 21 degrees by morning.  Truth be known, I have always wondered what “winter” camping was like, but having never liked camping, dirt, bugs and such….now I know.  Lucky for us, we have Nikken Technology blankets which use far infrared ceramic fibers, like those used on the space shuttle….and yes! They are toasty. It is hard to imagine that even in this cold night there there are still “heat” rays bouncing around us, and these blankets “capture” those heat rays and hold them in the warmth of your body.

Guess I will be relearning a lot in the days to come about conduction, heat, fire and a whole lot of  “energy” class stuff that I slept through in Physical Science class many moons ago.

Watching a movie on my dvd player, that I charged in the car earlier. Ok, so I gave in to my inner need for electronics. Charged the cell phone too, but no need to set the alarm, you get up when the sun comes up, and go to bed when it goes down. We decided that if you want time to slow down in this fast pace lifestye of the century, just shut off the lights, don’t use any electricity, heat water over fire, cook over fire…..and your whole world slows down.

We were both exhausted as we fell into bed praying that somehow our “powered” life would return the next morning.  Tonight I will dream of “things to do in July heat”…….

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MasonDixon Ice Storm Power Outage

February 3, 2009
Wood Anegel's stash

Wood Angel's stash

They are calling this the worst ice storm in 50 years. Even the old timers can’t recall it ever having been this bad. We waited on Tuesday evening listening to the  sleet/rain nail-like attack on our trailer.  We knew 24 hours ahead that it was coming. However, no amount of forewarning could prepare us for the carnage we woke up to the next morning.  Power started going out for some at noon that Tuesday, ours finally blew at 7 that evening. The morning brought us the visual reality of what lied ahead.

I had begun my check list earlier that day…candles, 17 check…flashlights and batteries, check….drinking water, every container full, about 20 gallons, check…toilet water, fill the spa tub, the bath tub, and the washing machine, check.

I always hated that spa tub, never used it, and the trailer salesman wouldn’t take it out and put in extra storage.  Now I have found a more practical use for it!

We went out around noon that Tuesday to cut wood, and God bless them, the Wood Angels already had it cut and stacked for us deep in the woods, at a secluded location, which I cannot reveal. I told Little Lawman that he and his friends can hunt here anytime, so long as they leave us a good pile of wood, just next time, bring it closer to the house.  He was a bit dismayed that we stole his wood pile, which he stockpiled for next winter, but I said it would be rotten and snake infested by spring anyway.

With all that busy work done, we will wait now till storm subsides to see what other tasks need done for the upcoming days. Will throw on extra blanket and snuggle in for the rest of the night, reading for a bit by flashlight.

Reminded my of our trip to Africa, no phones, electric, or running water. And they live like that every day of the year. Sweet Dreams…