We knew snow was coming, but after a couple of years of promised storms passing us by, everyone in town had doubts we would really get the 10-12 inches they were predicting. Still, just in case, Nick spent all Monday putting up new ice and water shield on the back roof.
The snow started Tuesday morning. The flakes were so dry and tiny, it was easy to pay no attention. Mindful of the forecast, however, I mucked the barn and filled the water buckets so everything would be ready if I decided to bring the cows in early. Then I sat at the dining room table with my mug of chicken broth and my box of Kleenex, and got lost in accounts of prisoners of war starving to death in Manhattan in 1776.
When I looked up it was 1:30 PM and snow was blowing past the porch, a fog of white. Only a few inches covered the ground, but the tiny snowflakes were so light they were hanging in the air. Deciding the cows would probably like to come in out of the wind, I climbed into my coveralls and headed out in my truck.
I pulled onto the highway and I was shocked. It was a white-out — blowing snow so impenetrable I could barely see the icy road directly in front of my truck.
I was even more appalled when I reached the farm and discovered that Nick and Mike were working at the house. I knew immediately that they’d made the same mistake I had. Looking out the windows at a few inches of snow, they’d dismissed it as a concern. I drove down to the barn, hurriedly let the cows in, and tossed everyone hay. Then I texted to Nick that he and his father needed to leave as soon as possible. Nick knows I am a worrier, but I insisted. He texted me later that it had taken his father more than two hours to get home. “Dad said it was a wild ride!” Soon afterward the county highway department closed the roads.
But the farm animals were snug in the barn and I was safely at home with the dogs and my books. As Charles Ingalls would sing, “Let the hurricane roar!”
It did. The tiny flakes were now adding up at an unbelievable rate. Walking the dogs before bedtime, Toby was swimming underneath the powder like a snow mole, and even Stash was floundering in snow up to his ears.
It appears we got a bit over three feet overnight. This is our Honda. I’d swept it clean just before dark.
The plows were out all night long. This morning Stash kept me company while I dug out the truck.
I was worried when I drove down to the farm that I might have to hike in on snowshoes from the highway, but Mike had already plowed.
Of course, the barn paddock electric fences were buried and useless.
The water trough was below the level of the snow.
I decided I’d keep the cows in. After their breakfast grain I began mucking stalls. Moxie looked at me and indicated she’d like to go out.
“You really don’t want to, Mox, but I won’t stop you.”
Moxie plowed through the snow with the resolution of a tank. Then she seemed to have second thoughts.
“Hmm. Maybe I should reconsider.”
However, once the Boss Cow was out, Elsa and Mel Gibson were bellowing that they too wanted to come out to play. Wading in, they bucked and snorted and explored.
I threw them some hay to munch while I freshened their beds.
I’m an old mom. I know toddlers get tired of playing in cold snow faster than you think. Sure enough, in just a few minutes they were mooing at the door.
“Can we come in yet?”
When I opened the gate, they rushed down the aisle to their box stalls with dry straw and lay down with sighs of contentment.
Even cows know that’s the best way to enjoy a blizzard. From inside.