One of my coworkers emailed this snowfall map to me on Monday before the big storm, and it nearly gave me a heart attack! The model predicts 15 to 18 inches for Wabaunsee County so I had some work to do! It almost killed me, but I rolled up the frozen hoses and brought them all the way into my house so they would thaw. I filled the horses' water tank all the way to the top the day before the storm. I bought groceries for myself, filled my drinking water bottles, and doubled up on oats, birdseed, and dog food.
The predicted snowfall from the European weather models, (the same ones that accurately predicted hurricane Sandy would target New York) were accurate. Notice the red blob in Wabaunsee County, marked by the big blue arrow. It predicted 15 - 18 inches of snow in the area. The little town of Eskridge, centered roughly in the middle of that red blob, officially received 16 inches of snow. That is a mere ten miles due south of my house. Amazingly accurate forecast!
I did not take photos of the path I shoveled through the snow from the back door all the way to the barn. Neither did I make a historical record of the path I shoveled from the house to the tree where I feed the birds, and on to the chicken pen. (I was too tired after all of that shoveling!) It took two days to clear the paths so I could keep the snow out of my boots when taking care of the critters. Those paths also made life much easier for the dogs and other wild life. Amid the dog tracks, there were rat tracks, and a trail of rabbit droppings every step of the way. It was funny to follow evenly spaced rabbit poop everywhere. (They must leave a pellet with each hop!)
After the snow came the bitter cold, and that meant eventually the horse tank was full of ice. Then I had to carry water up the hill twice a day. It gets more difficult for me every winter. I worked like a maniac to remove all the ice in preparation for refilling the tank. I guess because of the snow, instead of clear ice that would easily break into large pieces, there was about a 30 gallon glacier that would not break apart, and the tank was frozen to the ground. After hours in the bitter cold, I admitted defeat. In despair I faced reality and at last called for reinforcement. My son generously came to help remove the iceberg and carry enough water to refill the tank. I was so thankful for his strength and energy. When I saw how hard a strong 27 year old man had to work to get that frozen mass out of the tank, I did not feel like such a failure. Somehow he was able to break that tank loose from the ground, too. He could carry two five gallon buckets of water at a time and hardly broke a sweat. He filled the tank over half full, and I knew that would be enough liquid water to get the horses through until the temperatures were warm enough to make using the hoses an option.
Between my son and the generous neighbor with the tractor, the big winter storm hardly inconvenienced me at all.