Sunday, February 6, 2011

How do Y'all do it???

You Northerners, that is.   Being from Northern Illinois, I’ve had my share of snow.  I’ve shoveled it, spent many hours behind a snow blower, even used a snow plow once (there’s a good reason why it’s only been that one time).  I’ve had to wake up two hours earlier just to make sure I got to work on time, and hoped that the driveway was already shoveled and the truck had been plugged in the night before. 
But through all that snow, I still came home to a warm house.  We had city water, natural gas for our furnace & stove, and a dependable electric company.  We had several grocery stores within two miles and a gas station even closer.  There were a dozen restaurants within a five minute drive. The worst thing I remember happening in the winter was that we got what’s called an “ice dam” on the roof and it damaged the gutters.
We got 4 - 5 inches of snow on Friday night.
Granted, that all changed after our move.  We moved far enough south that we only see two or three snowfalls a year, and any accumulation is usually melted in a day or two.  Yes, we’ve had an ice storm in ’09 and narrowly escaped one just this past week.  But all-in-all, I’d consider it to be a rather mild winter in general. 
So when it snows here, it’s a pretty big deal.  Those of you in the Northern States probably just roll your eyes at us when we complain about 3 or 4 inches of snow.  But around here, the County Road & Bridge works 24/7 and the nearby city breaks out the snowplows (all three or four of them).  Add that to the fact that we live in the rural Ozarks (think lots of hills, hairpin turns on mountains with no guardrails, and lots of dirt roads) and snow or ice becomes a problem for most people.   Our driveway doesn’t even slope that much but I can’t get out to the main road in the car.  Plows don’t come down here. 
Taking care of the animals also becomes a bit more difficult, but nothing too bad.  I have to sweep or shovel an area for the chickens to get to their feed pans and water buckets and keep the animal’s water from freezing over.  Other than that, it’s just slower going because I have to tromp through the snow to feed & water everyone. 
I frequent the blogs of several homesteaders that live “Up North”.  And they live there on purpose.  Through the thirteen months of winter, through the insurmountable piles of snow, through the daytime sub-zero temperatures.  Shoveling paths for their horses, cattle, sheep and goats.  Hauling feed using a toboggan.  Using a “roof rake” to get the snow off their roofs before it collapses under the weight of all the snow.  I had no idea there was such an implement (maybe it’s called a snow rake, I forget). 
Yes, I know it’s beautiful in the Summer.  I’m sure it’s also beautiful in the Spring & Fall - that is if it hasn’t started or finished snowing by then. 
I tip my hat to you, Oh Brave Pioneers of The Northern Tundra.  You have more grit - and tolerance to frigid temperatures - than I ever had.


  1. I completely understand freaking out over a few inches of snow. We lived in TN, and the whole city would shut down if they got a flurry. But here in Ohio, they don't even cancel school most of the time.

    I don't know how people could stand any more winter than what we have here. I think we get a solid 6 months of woodstove weather.

    I'd love to move south again. We had even talked about the Ozarks at one point. Maybe if the market recovers and we can sell this place...

  2. We just bought a roof rake to get the snow off our solar panels that are on the barn roof. Three weeks ago my husband fell from the top of the barn, on the ladder (it slid and down he went) removing the snow. So we ordered the roof rake. It is kind of shaky since it is so long, but it works.