Still, Jason and I had done a few things to prepare. Like good southerners we had stocked up on groceries. We put plastic baggies over the handles of all our water hydrants to make sure they didn’t get frozen. The horses were blanketed and weatherized. They hay feeders were overflowing with hay. The tractor battery was happily tucked away in our house in its home away from home. We even thought to purchase a can of ice melter in case any of the snaps on the gates were frozen. We were ready for snow. Instead we got ice.
Monday really wasn’t that bad. With the exception of a ten minute period mid morning the ice came down very lightly. Nothing was frozen, not even the snaps on the gate chains. The only treacherous part of our farm was the driveway. It was basically a mile long skating rink. You walked on it at your own risk. Since I had a very strong desire to stay upright I walked in the grass.
Just when we were thinking it was all working out ok anyway things began unraveling a bit Monday evening. We had taken showers, eaten dinner, and were just settling in to enjoy a quiet evening inside when the electricity went out. We found ourselves sitting in the dark. Jason immediately proceeded straight to “OMG we’re doomed and will never have electricity again” mode. I kept telling him to calm down. He didn’t.
We all bundled up in multiple layers of clothes and went to bed early. It was dark, we were all bored, and it seemed like the best option. Happily PES was on the ball and our electricity came back on at about 1am. Thankfully our well insulated house had only lost 10 degrees of heat at that point. Even I was hot in my Michelin Man clothes. We all shed a bunch of layers and went back to bed with our electronics plugged in and the central heat running.
Since I’m the World’s Lightest Sleeper I never went back to sleep. Jason and Carter never have this problem. At 5am I was sick of laying awake in bed so I decided it was time to get up and “git r done.” I had no idea what I was in for.
I dressed like the Michelin Man again, dug up the truck keys, and headed outside. When I stepped off the porch I immediately wiped out and only saved myself by grabbing the porch column. I wrapped my arms around it and hung on for dear life. I finally got my feet to stop moving and regained my balance but definitely not my dignity. I sloooowly inched my way along the driveway to the truck.
The truck was encased in about an inch of ice. I spent a few futile minutes beating on the ice hoping I could get a door open but I finally gave up. I proceeded to
walk slide my way along the driveway which was even more treacherous than it had been the day before, It took what felt like hours to walk a few feet, barely staying upright. I finally sat down on my butt and slid on the driveway to the bottom of our hill to the main driveway, it was the easiest option. At that point I could walk on the grass without slipping and sliding with every step. I crunched my way through the ice grass to the first pasture.
Of course I couldn’t get in to the pasture because the snap on the chain was frozen shut. I mean FROZEN shut. I beat on it. I yelled at it. I beat on it some more. The horses were getting quite concerned. They watched the crazy lady remain on the wrong side of the gate with their feedbags yelling and banging on the gate. I thought about pouring water on it but I knew that was only a very temporary solution and would make these even worse overall.
Then I remembered “oh wait, we bought that can of ice melter.” My happiness was very short lived when, in a moment of deep irony, I realized where my precious can of ice melter was. In the truck. Which I couldn’t get into because it was iced shut. Like I said, a moment of deep irony.
Finally I started breathing on the snap trying to unthaw it. If anyone had walked up then and seen me they would have thought I had lost it as I stood there doing mouth to mouth resuscitation on the gate snap. It finally worked after a minute and I was able to pry the snap open. All morning long, at six more pasture gates, I had to do mouth to mouth resuscitation on the snaps. It was not my finest hour(s).
Thankfully Jason spent part of the day on the tractor using the seed spreader to spread about 15 bags of salt on our driveway. We can now walk on it like normal people. Jason also spent about thirty minutes beating the ice off the truck and the car so we could actually get in them. The trees and fences are still coated in ice as we are having, by far, our coldest week of the winter this week. It is supposed to get very windy tomorrow evening. Jason is pretty convinced we will have power outage number two since the trees and power lines are all still coated in ice.
It is only Tuesday but I’m ready for this week to end. I’ve been pretty good about not complaining about winter this year, but I just have to say it once: I loathe winter. I detest cold weather. I cannot put on enough clothes to be warm. I like heat. Thank goodness we only deal with this a week or two out of the year. I could not make it as a Canadian, I was meant to live in the tropics.