Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Blizzard Jonas & Chicken Pics

Blizzard Jonas has come and gone and we're still stranded at home! I'm not really complaining because we didn't lose power and I stocked up on supplies before the storm hit. Plus, food-wise, we have an unlimited supply of fresh eggs lol. Not losing power has made a huge difference, because when you're on well water and septic, power loss means water loss and no running septic.

It's hard to capture how hard it was coming down, but you can see visibility was low.
That said, our street hasn't been plowed yet. We started getting snow on Friday the 22nd. Schools were closed (and still are) and my digging began in earnest. I knew the heavy snow and blizzard were due to hit during the night and through Saturday, so I wanted to make sure the chickens had plenty of food and water (it kept freezing). Well, the snow came down so fast Friday afternoon that I by the time I dug a 2 ft wide path through 2 ft deep snow all the way to the coop which is about 60 ft away, I turned back and 4 more inches had already fallen. I made sure the flock was snug for the night (and most of the next morning). Saturday morning, it was really coming down and I didn't have the energy to dig, so I bundled up, balanced supplies (water, fresh greens, sunflower seeds, chicken feed etc...) in my arms and tried making it to the coop on foot. It wasn't easy. Talk about kick starting an exercise plan! The path I'd dug on Friday was completely filled so the snow was well over my knees. Picture all the leg lifts it took to make it to the coop and back! And these were blizzard conditions, so the wind didn't make it easy, but I'm stubborn when it comes to making sure everyone's taken care of (yes, I even filled the wild bird feeders at the creek before the storm hit).

Taken just outside the back door on Friday, when it had only been snowing a few hours. That's our grill to the left and the coop in the distance. 
For those of you who don't follow me on social media, here's a cute pic my teen son made of a few of my hens riding out the storm in a home theater. We came up with this idea after one of the Heartwarming editors joked that she hoped my flock was snug in my basement eating chips and watching movies ;). After all that digging, I kinda wish they had been!

Rula's flock entertainment
When I told my teen that the digging left every muscle in my hands and arms aching (not to mention my back and the tendinitis in my ankle) and that typing was going to hurt, he told me I should rely on my writing team and came up with this pic:

Notice the 'chicken scratch' and 'grainstorming' on their little papers lol
I must say, cabin fever entertainment for teens is not what it was when I was a kid! :)

Rula's dogs on Friday when the snow was still only a few inches deep

Rula's dog in the first path I tried digging only hours into the storm. There was a lot of snow yet to come!
Anyway, on Sunday, the sun came out and I had to re-dig all the way to the coop. I also needed to dig an area for the dogs to do their business. They had managed to do so in a small area during the storm (they were confused and reluctant), but my larger dog (think super tall poodle size in shoulder height) sank in the snow when she tried running off. I thought I was going to have to pull her out, but after some struggling, she made it back to the door safely.

Half-way to the chicken coop and looking back. 
Happy to stretch after being all cooped up!
Half of Rula's flock in search of grass
My reward for all that digging are the gorgeous views left by the storm.

You can see how the winds created patterned snow dunes much like those made of sand.
This pic and the next show the snow depth. Our fencing is a bit over 4 ft. Everywhere I stuck a measuring stick, I got confirmation that we got 3 ft of snow, plus deeper (4-5ft) drifts. 
We won't be opening that gate anytime soon.
Our land is set in a bit of a valley with a hill to our west side and creek to the east. This topography tends to invite strong winds to swoop down on us and any snow being blown, settles around our place.

Our creek. It's really there, running right behind the closest tree.

So glad I filled the bird feeders! This little fella was too cute.
I love seeing tracks in the snow. Plus it was so sparkly!
So after digging to the coop, I dug out an equally deep front walk (about 35ft) because our front door faces north and would take forever to melt. My husband and boys were working on our driveway, which took a couple of days (we're in the country so our driveway is just under 200 ft and the snow had drifted, making it at least 3-4 ft deep there). 

And as of this evening (it's after 5:30 pm Tuesday as I'm typing this), our street hasn't been plowed. The department of transportation did finally make it out to our neighborhood's streets today, but for some reason, they drove right past ours. We're the only street here that didn't get plowed, and yes, my neighbors and I called in to report the situation, but all they could do was to put in another 'work order' and hope to make it back by morning. Our neighbor and my husband are out there trying to clear as much as they can, but it's simply too much snow. When it's that deep, the smaller mowing tractor plow attachments and snow blowers don't work well.

In any case, school is cancelled tomorrow too and we'll see what they say about the rest of the week. I've heard that someone in our area had to be airlifted (because of unplowed roads) to a hospital due to heart problems. I saw on the news that many died after suffering heart attacks while shoveling...and many more died from accidents and hypothermia. My heart goes out to their friends and families. Although it left us with beautiful scenery, Blizzard Jonas was powerful and dangerous...and deadly. I'm not about to complain about shoveling or a plow passing us by. At least my family is safe and sound.

If you were in the path of the storm, I hope you and yours are safe and sound too!


  1. You must be one strong lady to shovel all of that snow Rula. My mom's dog refused to go out in the snow. The poor little thing just held it until he couldn't anymore and had to brave outside. He doesn't even like going out in the rain. Although snow is beautiful to look at, you're right, it can be very dangerous and I'm so sorry too for those who were hurt or killed because of it. Be careful, and thanks for sharing these pictures with us.

    1. We definitely have to respect nature, Laurie! I had to chuckle about your mom's dogs because mine are the same about rain and they were confused by the snow until I did some shoveling. I've actually gotten so out of shape and my asthma has been acting up, so I had to take a lot of breaks but I got the job done lol! I've decided it was a kick start to an exercise regimen ;). Take care!