Winter 2013

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus


My invincible summer is starting to feel, well, rather ‘vincible’.  With such an uncharacteristically long and snowy winter, it feels like a story is necessary to properly record the events of ‘Snowpocalypse’ 2012-2013.

On October 18, we had our first snow fall of the 2012/13 winter season. We felt certain that this would be short-lived, and that the fields would have time to dry enough for farmers to finish the last of their harvest before winter really settled in.

October 2012.  Good thing they have their wool sweaters on!

October 2012. Good thing they have their wool sweaters on!

Boy were we wrong!

These oat swaths are going to need to wait for the snow to melt.

These oat swaths are going to need to wait for the snow to melt.

5 days later, October 23 brought the first blizzard of the season, making driving unsafe, and creating early ‘regular winter driving’ conditions. Old man winter was here to stay, and there was nothing left to do but settle in and enjoy his company.

October 2013.  Not looking too happy...

October 2013. Not looking too happy…

And we did.  We enjoyed building snow forts in the fall, and plowing snow so the trick or treaters could get to our door.  We enjoyed the regular exercise that came with shoveling the front walk every two days after a fresh new snow. We had time to settle in around the fire when the roads blew in, and we were thankful to have a full pantry and firewood to get us through the three-day blizzard in March.  With power outages and toilet paper in short supply, my husband commented that this was just like being on a carnival cruise!  He has such a great way of looking at things.

Garden frog waiting for spring.  April 2013!

Garden frog waiting for spring. April 2013!

All of us have enjoyed this winter. To be honest, there haven’t been too many brutally cold days, so its been fun to get out there and enjoy the snow.  During one blizzard, while my husband and his brother were doing what they could to open our road with their tractors, I ventured out on the skidoo to take some pictures of the drifts and the blowing snow.  My thinking was that I wanted to really experience this winter. Years from now, when I tell my grandchildren about the Snowpocalypse of 2012-2013, I want to tell them of how I experienced it first hand…not from the warmth of my sofa, and not from having read about it in the paper while I vacationed at a sunny resort. I wanted to really experience this remarkable winter.

Well that was dumb. After freezing my face and getting stuck on our road, I decided it was just fine to experience the storm from my sofa, in front of the fireplace, with my hot chocolate … and Baileys.

Using the tractor to open our road after another big snow.  March 2013

Using the tractor to open our road after another big snow. March 2013

When our road was successfully cleared of its 10 – 14 foot high snow drifts, I made the somewhat foolish choice to risk life and limb, travelling into town for groceries.  The parking lot presented a new challenge as I pushed my cart through snow drifts toward the store, the wind stealing one of my re-useable, environmentally friendly shopping bags and standing my hair straight up on top of my head.  I’m sure I was quite a sight.  A friendly grocer jokingly said ‘nice day we’re having hey?’   My equally light response was ‘It sure is – but I need someone to explain global warming to me one more time.  I don’t think I understand it correctly.’  This was when the cashier looked down upon my poor sorry little dumb face, and began speaking slowly using small words so that I could understand, “Well, you see….the melting of our polar ice caps is creating change in our climate…” but she stopped there.  I think it may have been the very icy look I gave her that had nothing to do with the snow in my hair or my frozen face, and everything to do with “do you think I actually want the global warming phenomenon explained to me this morning??”

 So it seems that winter has left me in a bit of a bad mood.

As I write this, it’s mid April.  The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the geese have returned…and we have roughly 2 feet of snow on the ground.  It’s snowing today, and the drifts are 10 feet high in some places.  The forecast says we are in for another blizzard this weekend.  The temperature this morning was -19.

Spring fever has hit hard on our farm.  Acting as though it is actually spring, the sun shines in our bedroom window at 6 AM, encouraging us to get up and get started on all of the outside work that can to be done before the cattle can be moved to pasture and the crops can be planted.

Fencing is high on our list of priorities in the spring, and April is a great time to go out and tighten up the wires that have become stretched by heavy snow or fallen trees. 

I'm going to need a shovel to fix this fence.

I’m going to need a shovel to fix this fence.

With snow drifts completely covering the roughly 5 miles of fence that I have checked, I think that this year fencing is going to have to wait. Possibly until June.

Good luck to all of us as we work hard this spring to find enough feed for our livestock, keep our roads open, and stay up all night waiting for little calves and lambs to be born into a very late winter. As we prepare and consider plan B or maybe even C of our seeding plan…I have the feeling there will be a lot of acres seeded to barley this year with farmers anticipating a shorter growing season, highlighted by the adventure of getting stuck in wet fields.

We just need to continue to be patient, spring is coming and before we know it the sun will be shining.

Drifts so high you can barely see our yard from the house.

Drifts so high you can barely see our yard from the house.

In the meantime, I’m going to grow a beard and build an ark.  I think we’ll need it when all of this snow melts!  My friend Kelly has noted that there is an inflatable zodiac propped up against their garage wall.  A bit of foreshadowing perhaps?

“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” – Hal Borland





3 responses to “Winter 2013

  1. I’ve been reading about the snow people north of us received, and that’s ridiculous. I was talking to a coworker about how we had two totally anomalous years in a row. And watch for floods- my home area in Illinois, and parts of southern Wisconsin have had nasty floods with the snow melt off + two solid weeks of rain. I hope it melts off soon for you guys. I may be crabby about keeping my seed trays inside a bit longer, but not being able to plant feed fields is a much bigger problem.

  2. It’s really amazing isn’t it? There really is nothing we can do about the weather though, so we might as well do what we can to enjoy it…and write about it! Thanks for the heads up with flooding, we’ll definitely keep an eye out for that. Good luck with your seedlings!

  3. Excellent post Terra! Great sense of humor through this lovely winter we’ve had!

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