Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Friends in the South - do your storm preps!

I'm watching the early news and seeing that the South is about to get smacked again.... the "worst ice storm in 20 years" will be rolling thru much of that region tonight into tomorrow. This time it looks like they are taking it seriously. It will move up the coast and be snow by the time it get to the big East Side population centers.

Ice, ice, baby... oh baby... are you ready?

If you are anywhere in that region, do you have your storm preps done?

I'm putting these links out there again so that our friends in the South can get ready for whatever rolls your way in the next 24-48 hours. I'll also include a slightly boss reminder that it's not the storm that you have to worry about - it's the aftermath. Altho if you get the 3/4 inch of ice they are predicting for some regions... oh golly. Buckle up, it's gonna be a looloo.

* This post on extreme cold weather livestock care
* Defeating the Four Horsemen of the Snowpocalypse
* Cold weather goat shufflin'
* My Storm Prep list
* The National Weather Service site - put in your zip code for current conditions, watches, and warnings. 

I guess there were a lot of hurt feelings after the last storm. Some folks thought we northerners were making fun of them for not being able to handle a little snow. Nope. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is.... we knew you were screwed. The only ones who didn't know what was going to happen appeared to be your city and state government. Nothing about that last storm - or whats coming now - was or is funny at all.

We mighta chuckled a little about your "cold temps" of just about freezing but no, nothing is funny once you get some precipitation into the mix. It's the ice that gets you every time.

The problem with ice storms is that you'll most likely lose power. Falling branches and ice heavy power lines will most likely leave you in the dark.Unfortunately with widespread damage it could be a while before the crews can get everyone back online. As in... days. A week? The problem is you just don't know. Based on the sorrowful response by the Georgia's governor during the last storm I urge our dear southern friends to please be ready to fend for yourself.

Hopefully it will all be a big nothing and everyone will wake up on Wednesday morning, look out the window, have a good laugh and get on with school and work. But if you wake up in the night without the familiar hum of the fridge or furnace... then you will be glad you did your storm preps.

I would contend that this is going to be worse than your normal - or abnormal - summer storms. The problem is that you may have to deal with the cold. And ice. So much ice.

So what do you do?
* If you haven't been to the store yet.... you might have a nasty surprise.
* Do an inventory of your fridge and pantry. Have a baking day - get some snacks made. Make sure you have some easy to fix non-refrigerated/non-cooking meals ready for action. Be sure you have a one of those old fashioned, hand held can openers.
* Get your drinking water lined up. If you don't have several cases of drinking water then fill your biggest pots and put lids on them. I fill half gallon jars. 
* Make sure you have charcoal or propane for your grill. We made bacon and eggs outside on the grill in the snow one time. It was one of our most fun memories. 
* Fill your bathtub with water before you go to bed. You'll need the water for flushing and washing. If nothing happens then add a little bleach to the water, let it set for a few minutes, then let it drain. Look at you - you have a clean tub now! Easy peasy.
* Find all your extra blankets, warm clothes, flashlights with batteries, candles, matches etc. Now. Get stuff laid out where you can find it even in the dark.
* Gas up your vehicles.
* Get some cash. Your ATM may get cleaned out and your local store may not be able to process bank or credit cards. 

If you have livestock you need to do some extra work. Make sure everyone is tucked in early and bedded down warmly. Fill as many buckets with as you can find. Do you have extra feed? What is your plan if your region is out of power for several days or a week? Your feed store will not be open. Be ready for an extended period of not being able to find supplies.

You know there's nothing I love more than a French Toast Emergency - an FTE as we say. I saw some folks who didn't understand why these items were important. Mostly it's because milk, bread, and eggs are the first things to go when people stock up...and also remember that your grocery store.. yeah that huge store... really only has about three days of supplies. Three. That's "3." Isn't that amazing? And even more amazing is that those stores get stocked by guys driving big trucks.

I can tell you with 100% certainty that those guys driving those trucks are regular people. If they can't get to work, they can't drive the trucks... and those shelves will not be filled. Even if they can get to work and they can navigate the ice covered roads filled with abandoned cars.... your store may or may not have power either. The news report I heard this morning was telling truck drivers to stay off one of the main highways. So there could already be delays. Remember this picture? How many semis can you count? Them boys weren't going anywhere either just like the rest of the folks.

The truth is that eggs are easy to make for any meal, PB&J sandwiches don't need refrigeration or a stove to make, and milk is always the first to go. And if nothing happens with this storm then you really can make french toast and have a good laugh.

The other question I heard was why did everyone need to get gas when all you could do was sit alone in your cold, dark house. The reason is that if the power is out in your region you won't be getting any gas any time soon - the gas station is also out of power and won't be open.

If you have to drive hours - or into the next state - to get supplies... you won't get there on a quarter tank of gas. After we had that "land hurricane" folks around here were out of power for days - and over a week for some. People were driving to the next state to find generators. Even if you had a generator it may not be safe - folks were getting them stolen right off their porch.

You also want a full tank of gas because I know that everyone decided that getting a power inverter was a great idea. Our power inverter really saved our bacon a couple of times. I mean that literally.

Once again, here are my links for more detailed storm preps and how-to's. If you've never paid attention to these before now is the time to familiarize yourself with how to get ready for a major weather event. Be sure to read what happened when a fast moving storm took out the power around here for a while. We got a good look at how and why you need to be able to fend for yourself.

* This post on extreme cold weather livestock care
* Defeating the Four Horsemen of the Snowpocalypse
* Cold weather goat shufflin'
* My Storm Prep list
* The National Weather Service site - put in your zip code for current conditions, watches, and warnings. 

Good luck, friends! Be sure to check in tomorrow. We'll all be waiting to hear from you.

Happy Tuesday everyone! Are you worried about our southern friends too? I sure am...


Vera said...

Excellent advice. We have learnt the hard way that we always need to think ahead, even in a wet and mild winter. This year we have plenty of hay and straw for the animals, and we have a well stocked larder for ourselves. But at least we are not suffering from the difficult weather conditions that you are. Thinking of you as we battle on through to the Spring.

Laura said...

Hard to keep in mind that while it's a hard winter, it's not unusual to have snow on the ground and cold temps. How much snow and how low the temps are the main differences this year. As both drag on for days, I try to remind myself of the positives of this weather. Germs are being frozen to death. Some garden pests are not going to survive this. And it gives us a great chance to test out some of our cold weather skills that we need to keep sharp. Did I mention that here in southwest Ohio we can cross-country ski for the first time in years? And our Newf is thrilled! This is Newfie weather.

Unknown said...

I love the top of the "Ice Death 2011" list:

Baked cookies - check! Amen, gotta have munchies! Good ideas. I have been thru several ice storms in Portland, OR- power lines down, no heat, freezing temps. UGLY.

Unknown said...

Thanks for posting. This was such an interesting post that i gathered the whole family around the PC to read it. Could not believe the line up of trucks. It seems so unreal to us. At the moment we have 35 bushfires burning in our state. Even the city of Melbourne is covered in smoke. With you guys frozen in the US, the UK under water and us having weeks of 40 degrees C the world is certainly experiencing some weird weather patterns.

Jody said...

Bring it on!

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