We’re getting our fair share of the huge winter storm dumping on the Midwest on its way east. Through 7pm Tuesday evening our gage has recorded around 18″ of snow, with drifts much deeper than that. I broke out my grandfather’s old wood & leather northern Minnesota snowshoes to go do animal chores this evening:

I used these all the time growing up in the lake-effect snow belt of western NY, going for long tramps through the fields and woods. I’ve kept them with me always, though haven’t had much call for them in Missouri. He’d be proud to see me using them again; I wish he could. They sure made the trip out to feed & water chickens and goats much more comfortable. I just glide along the top of the powder drifts instead of struggling through. Here’s how deep it’s gotten near the house; this is me pointing to the top of a standard-sized all-weather outdoor hydrant. My snowshoes are at nozzle-level.
While this storm is causing mayhem all over the place, it’s really no issue for us. We have our entire winter’s supply of food preserved and bulk-ordered anyway, and with our overall self-sufficiency there was almost nothing we needed to do to prepare. We have ample firewood, having just taken down and split up two more large dead oaks last week. We have a small generator if the power goes out, are quite good at entertaining ourselves, and just really don’t care much if we get out soon or not. I did do a bit of weather proofing on the animal shelters, given the extra-cold temps and high winds coming (lows for Wednesday night around -10, with winds up to 40mph), mostly just stapling up a few old sheets along the walls of the goat barn and chicken shed to block micro-drafts. And I hauled out a few extra straw bales to make a more insulated corner for the goats to nestle into.

So with the house at a comfortable 68, the fire happily humming along, we’ll just enjoy watching the storm. Birds were really active yesterday, and even through most of today in the teeth of the storm, and it’s quite a sight to watch juncos, cardinals, titmice, sparrows, and more fluffing through the rapidly accumulating snow to find the grain I set out for them. They ended up digging a nice open-pit mine down to the grain even as the walls rose around them.

Long-term this snow will be annoying, as it will once again set back our ability to do the winter outdoor work we want to do before spring arrives. And the forecast doesn’t imply any melting soon; early next week we’ll be back down in single-digit lows. But for now we’re cozy and comfortable, eating excellent food and enjoying watching weather happen.

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