The approaching weekend and the week after has foreboding forecasts, so today I spent the day running errands. And preparing for bad weather. That usually means COLD weather out here. The only other thing we get during warmer months is lots of rain, and that’s much easier to deal with. We just stay home when the bridges flood.
Preparing for Bad Weather
It’s a little different preparing when you live far from town than it was when I used to live in a more urban setting. We live about 45 minutes to the nearest town with a grocery store, and just to reach the nearest highway is six miles of rocky dirt roads. It’s hard on the vehicles, so that’s why I limit my excursions when I can. But when bad weather is coming, there are things I like to stock up on. Some of those things come from the store, like groceries, toilet paper, etc. And definitely coffee, although I have green beans on hand and could roast some if I had to.
I usually try to limit my grocery fetching trips to once a week, and I’ve gotten better at keeping that limit. This stretch of days since my last trip was a few days longer than my usual, though. I didn’t want to go out Monday or Tuesday because the weather was bad those days too. And I can’t haul hay in the truck if it’s raining or snowing because it’ll get all wet.
As a result, we were out of a few things I normally keep in stock. Like eggs. I sure miss having chickens. When I did, we rarely had to go without an egg. If things were really tough, you could even eat one of the chickens, too. Usually, I only killed extra roosters and let the hens live out their lives even when the eggs became more occasional than regular.
Everyone else seemed to have the same idea today about getting groceries. The store was a mad house. But at least we’ve got the stuff I like to have on hand and it should last us at least a week or even two. Even if longer than that, we wouldn’t *starve*. There’s plenty here to eat, but things like milk and eggs would be gone in a week or two. I have bread in the freezer, but I also could make it if I had to. Plenty of deer meat in the freezer, too.
But some of the errands take place right here at home. We live on spring water and it’s usually reliable. But when the temps get below 15*F, it’s hard to keep the lines from freezing, even if we let it run all night in a small stream. And we can’t leave it running all night in a bigger stream for many days, because the flow from the spring is slower than the combined small streams in all of our faucets. You’d be surprised how fast a 1500 gallon storage tank runs dry when the water going out is more than the water going in.
So putting aside jugs of water is one of the main things we do when preparing for bad weather. Lots of jugs of water. We’ll use it if the water lines freeze for flushing toilets, washing dishes, and taking navy-style baths. If there’s enough water put aside, I’ll even wash my hair if I need to. All that washing water has to be heated up either on the woodstove or the range, though, if we want warm or hot water. Even if the power is still on, which it usually is unless it’s an ice storm, the hot water heater won’t have water in it to heat if the water lines coming down the mountain have frozen.
Which leads me to the next most important task: firewood. Luckily, we have a good amount of wood cut, split, and stacked. It’s just not all right by the house. So we take a load up to the woodshed by our backdoor. And we take a lot inside the house so it’ll dry out more, especially if the weather has been wet.
Preparing for Bad Weather for Horses
Preparing for bad weather includes doing so for the horses. Today I got some hay and feed. We’ll also build a wind break wall for them on the stall (here’s the post on that). This way, even with 0*F and lower nights that are on the way, I can give them plenty of hay so they can stay warm. But once the water freezes, that’s a new problem because it’s very hard to haul enough jugs of water to keep two horses satiated. If it happens, then I’ll move the horses to the field instead of keeping by the house. There’s a creek in the field and it rarely freezes solid because of all the springs that feed it. By the house, I rely on those same lines coming down the mountain to water them. So when that freezes, there’s no water for them.
But the problem is that there’s no shelter in the field except the cedar trees, and they prefer to weather out snow and ice in the nice covered stall by the house. So hopefully the water holds out until after the precipitation is done. If it would just snow hard first, and cover all of the lines, then it’s easier to keep them running than when it’s windy and really cold with no snow cover. The horses don’t mind the snow once it’s on the ground, though.