Progress on my painting of Kings River in winter came to a grinding halt a few days ago when we got our first Ozark winter storm of the season. We’ve had some freezes, and a little snow, but those little incidents don’t compare. In previous years, we’ve had worse storms when not only did the power go out, but our water froze too. Those are always the worst to deal with.
There isn’t enough light in the house to paint, so I put it all away. But I did get some rocks crushed in my mortar and pestle for when I’m able to start again. There is also a lot of work to do when the power is out and there’s storm damage to deal with. Lots of broken trees had to be cleared from the driveway. I had to check fences to make sure the horses didn’t get out, too. Just to get to the upper gate to do that task required a lot of chainsaw work to get the 4-wheeler through. I don’t do the chainsaw work, that’s something Rob has to do. I can’t even pull the cord on the saw. But I try to help with pulling the trees out of the path once he cuts the limbs.
Ozark Winter Storm
Tuesday evening the first snowflakes began falling. It also immediately began sticking to every surface. Even the electric fence wire gained a stack of snowflakes. By the next morning, that stack was an entire cylindrical coating almost 11″ thick. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of it before the whole assembly of snowflakes collapsed. It was a very fragile nature art and even the sound of the 4-wheeler was too much for it. Everywhere else, though, the snow was stuck pretty good. I’d imagine that stick-ability is what helped cause the power outages.
Trees were bowed over and stuck to the ground under the heavy weight of the snow.
Here’s a rough and unedited video of me going out to feed the horses Wednesday morning and getting my first look at the new landscape. It’s rough and unedited. We’d lost power about 2230 Tuesday night and that was still out, so the beginning of the video is dark because I’m inside the utility room trying to figure out how to carry the phone and two buckets of feed while also filming.
Dealing with Power Outages
One place that didn’t have to deal with the electricity being out was in Rob’s shop. He has a single array that powers everything in there – lights, machinery (even the welding machine), and refrigerator. But he still had to get the snow off of the panel so it could add some more charge to the battery.
This single array has also been keeping the entire battery bank charged and ready to go. I can’t wait until the rest of them are installed and the house is hooked up.
Wet Gloves and Coats
If you don’t have to go outside to do anything critical, it’s okay to just stay indoors and enjoy the beauty.
Horses still want to eat when it’s nasty outside. The driveway needs to be passable in case of emergency. I suppose clearing the driveway could have waited, but if an emergency arose, it would have been too late to do it, then. So when you do go out into the snow to work, your gloves get soaked and the rest of you does too. Big snow clumps kept falling on us the whole time we were out on the driveway. There are a couple of ways to deal with wet gear when throwing it in the dryer isn’t an option. Either have a lot of spare gloves and coats, or dry the ones you have. That’s when it’s really good to have a wood stove stoked and putting out the heat.
I tied a makeshift clothesline in front of the stovepipe and over the stove. We hung our things on it in the afternoon and by morning everything was was ready to go again. Except Rob’s thick leather gloves. Those took longer to dry out.
Nothing feels better than putting a warm jacket on before going outside into the aftermath of a cold Ozark winter storm.
My best pair of gloves are actually mittens. I’ve got all kinds of other gloves, but my hands go numb within a few minutes of cold in all of those. But these mittens keep my fingers relatively warm longest. Wet gloves usually means numb fingers. In these, my hands get cold, but they at least don’t go numb. They’re all wool, with a dense felted wool inner pad over the fingers. I have no idea what brand they are, they’re old. But I’d like to find more like them.
COFFEE during an Ozark winter storm
I have an old fashioned percolator coffee pot to make coffee on our kitchen stove. There’s no natural gas piped out here, so it’s propane. We have a large tank that we refill every so often, usually in summer when the prices are lowest. So when I can’t use the electric coffee maker, no problem. Of course, we could have had cold instant coffee, but it starts the day with so much more pleasantness if we get to have hot coffee that actually tastes good.
The only thing better than hot coffee would have been a hot bath. But that couldn’t happen. Our hot water heater is electric, and our solar will never run that component of our house. So a hot bath during an Ozark winter storm is still going to be a challenge.
Hey, we still had running water
This was a HUGE plus. A few years ago during a worse Ozark winter storm, the water froze, too. That makes everything a bit harder. This year, we still had the running water, so I could do other things, like wash dishes and even clean the refrigerator. If I had needed, I could have hand-washed our clothes. Water is the biggest asset here. It’s gravity fed from a spring way up on the mountain behind the house. To heat it when the power is out, we keep a large pot on the wood stove or heat smaller quantities on the kitchen stovetop.
If you are interested in a set of my paints for yourself, check out my online shop to see what’s available. I usually make extra when I make my own.
Madison Woods is a self-taught artist who moved to the Ozarks from south Louisiana in 2005. In 2018 she began experimenting with watercolor painting, using her local pigments. She calls them Paleo Paints. In 2023 she began her journey into the world of oil painting with those same pigments. Her paintings of the Ozark-inspired scenes feature exclusively the lightfast pigments foraged from Madison county, Arkansas. Her inspiration is nature – the beauty, and the inherent cycle of life and death, destruction and regeneration.
Her online portfolio is at www.PaleoPaints.com.
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6 thoughts on “Ozark Winter Storm | Jan 24 2023”
Wow! Your writing is really good. I felt like I was there when I read this. We have our share of winter storms in Canada, but I live in a big city so it feels different than it would for you two, being more remote. It’s a good thing you are both such self sufficient personalities.
Thank you so much, Julie! I try really hard to write in a way that brings the scenes to life, but it’s one of those ‘behind the scenes things’ that often doesn’t get noticed, lol. Writing in general was my first creative outlet and I still enjoy doing it. Mostly these days, the effort all goes into my website and sometimes an article here and there. But I have some books in me still that I intend to get out one day 😀
Being in Canada, I’m sure you see a LOT more snow than we normally do. But even our trees are not made for the heavy snow and ice we get sometimes here. It has always been a goal of mine and my husband’s to be as self-sufficient as possible. Sometimes it becomes an obsession for him, but his obsession is pretty useful! Mine shows up in wanting to be able to make my own art supplies, lol.
Stay warm out there! ~ Madison
Hurrah for running water, a good fire, and something hot to start (or end) the day. Oh, yeah, and a helpful husband/wife. However, I’m on my way to the chiropractor to get my neck and upper back fixed after viewing your lovely video. (Kudos to you for soldiering on with all that.) Whether just on my laptop or everywhere, the entire beautiful view was sideways. 🙂 Don’t worry. I won’t ask you to cover the medical bills. <3 🙂
Oh my, I’ll have to go see if it turned out sideways on mine, too! I haven’t watched it there yet. So sorry for the contortions!
Fixed it 😀 It still starts out sideways, because the camera WAS sideways then, lol. But once I’m out the door, things get a bit more upright. Thanks for letting me know! and apologies for the crick in your neck 😉