by Texas Homesteader
The weathermen predicted there would be a winter storm hit our part of Northeast Texas, and they even predicted it would include hazardous ice accumulations in our area. But you know how weathermen are, they ALWAYS predict it’s going to be disastrous.
My motto is: hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
RancherMan & I spent the days preceding this winter storm making sure the animals were properly cared for.
We set out fresh rolls of hay in all of the paddocks, even the vacant ones in the event they would be needed.
And we made sure the goats also had plenty of fresh hay & even packed soft hay into their shelter as well to give them a warm place to sleep.
We filled a secondary large feed bucket with fresh hay & stored it in the feed shed so we could easily top off the goats’ hay if the wintry weather lasted longer than expected.
Preparing For The Storm
RancherMan went to work making sure we had lots of seasoned firewood cut, split and stacked in the wood rack and I cleaned out the fireplace of any residual ashes and loaded fresh logs into it, as well as filling up the wood supply that stands at the ready right next to the stove.
Then knowing we had done all we could do to prepare, we waited.
It didn’t take long before those first chilly winds began to blow and we knew we might be in for a wild ride. The forecast was showing we were in the ice-accumulation bulls-eye & we were hoping they were wrong.
The Storm Hits
But just before dark the first rounds of sleet hit, then freezing rain – and it rained hard for hours as the temperatures plummeted.
Finally at about 11 pm we lost power. RancherMan was up all night making sure the fire stayed lit to keep the house warm, and we waited through the dark night listening to the howling wind.
Before daybreak we could hear crashing sounds outside – the ice was building up so heavily that huge tree limbs were crashing to the ground.
When at last it was daybreak and we could see outside, although it was still sleeting heavily we suited up in our insulated coveralls and stepped into the frigid weather to check on the cattle and survey the damage.
Ice Causes Heavy Damage
The damage was severe.
The wind was still pretty stiff and the overloaded trees were crackling and crashing down all around us.
Every few minutes you could hear the crashing of another large tree somewhere.
Fearful, we prayed it wasn’t on a fence or (heaven forbid) on top of a cow.
We hurried to the pasture and called our mama cows together and brought them into a closer pen & fresh hay.
There wasn’t much roaming room in that pen. But we know they like to hang out in the creek when the weather is bad. And that’s where most of the trees were crashing. We had to protect them.
Even in this smaller pen we watched as some of the trees gave up their larger branches and sent them crashing down, sometimes narrowly missing cattle as they scurried away.
We then went to another pasture to check on the heifers as well and they were also all accounted for. But with trees continuously crashing along the fence line we needed to check to make sure they were still secured.
Walking along that icy road with that stiff wind was pretty brutal. The gusts of wind were sending the hard sleet pellets stinging into our cheeks. But there was no option – we had to keep our cattle safe.
As we walked along that road the trees on either side were continuously splitting and crashing down. So we were careful not to walk under any limbs if at all possible.
We finally completed our fence line check, it was intact. And although there were several limbs down on top of the fence, none had broken any wires. So moved the frozen limbs that we could and then we hurried back to the house to thaw out.
Checking With Neighbors
We called on our neighbors just down the street who have two small children. We wanted to make sure they were staying warm and offered for them to come stay with us since RancherMan was doing such a fine job keeping our house warm.
They promised they would take us up on the offer if their house got cold. But for now they were doing fine. We kept track of each other all day. Good neighbors are a blessing indeed.
All day we went without electricity and RancherMan worked hard to make sure the house stayed warm. But our stock of firewood was dwindling.
Nervously we eyed our supply as steadily it dwindled. As the light of day faded into night we could hear the wind still howling outside. And the sound of trees crashing to the ground.
It would be another nerve-wrecking night.
As it turned out, the weatherman was right and our part of NE Texas was indeed in the bulls-eye of the storm.
So far we’d been without electricity for 3 days and there’s no telling when it will be turned back on.
We eventually lost water as well. And with massive amounts of trees falling across the road we were pretty well stuck riding out the storm.
Without television coverage we couldn’t see what other areas were dealing with. And the cell tower in our town was down as well. So we couldn’t even log on with our phones or make calls or send texts to let our family know we were doing ok.
All in all we were without electricity for 5-6 brutal days. And our electricity provider was beyond flippant when we spoke with them. Repeatedly they told us ‘We’ll Get To It When We Get To It.’
But even during those frightening days there were good things to be found. As I sat in the living room with RancherMan, a warm fire blazing, I thought instead about how blessed I am.
Yes there’s frightening weather outside and it’s caused much damage that will have to be cleaned up. There will be fences to be repaired, trees to cut down and limbs to be hauled to the burn pile.
But we’re here & we’re safe. We’re warm and we’re fed. We’re sheltered from that dreadful wind, and we’re TOGETHER.
Yep, I’m blessed.
Other Ranching Articles
- Successful Obedience Training For Our Ranch Dog
- What Working From Home REALLY Means (and what it DOESN’T)
- Ranching: A Good Life, But A HARD Life
- The Sad Side Of Ranching
- A Glimpse Into Our Texas Homestead
- How We Came To Our NE Texas Homestead
- A Pictorial Tour Of Our 1880’s Barn
- Weaning Day Done PROPERLY!
- Temporary Cattle Stocking For Flexibility
- How Much Is Your Reflection In The Mirror Worth?
- Building Life With Our Own Two Hands
- Why Bother With This ‘Homesteading’ Thing??!!
- Whispers Of Past Lives Lived On Our Land
- Milking My First Cow – Using Fresh Milk
- Easily Separating Cream From Raw Milk
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