As the weather begins to heat up again and the snow begins to melt away, it seems like a good time to take stock of the lessons learned from your time surviving the recent “Snowpocalypse”. Were your preparations sufficient, and did you notice any benefit from them? Was there anything you wish you had on hand or perhaps a tool you wish you knew how to use better? The best time to learn from an event is while your memories are still fresh, so let’s dive in!
A few personal examples to help you out
Since it’s hard to generalize what you may have experienced out there, I’ll share a few examples of problems and benefits I noticed while I was hunkered down and surviving this arctic mess. Try to apply this sort of mentality to your own experiences!
- I was not in proper shape for this. I had to trudge through snow drifts up to my hips in order to get out and feed my animals in sub-zero weather. As such, I was bundled up and toasty warm for the most part, but all that extra weight and the extra effort of walking through snow tired me out rapidly. I was walking for under 10 minutes but I felt like I had been doing a full workout for an hour! I was even sore the day after, just as if I had been working hard for hours. Although there is only so much anyone can do to overcome the sheer weight and difficulty in walking through snow drifts, there is definite room for improvement in my physical abilities.
- I was definitely thankful for my food and drink stocks. Although I ran low on my favorite morning glass of milk (no dairy animals at this time!) otherwise I was satisfied with the food I had available to eat for multiple days without having the chance to visit even a local convenience store. Fresh home-baked bread, plenty of stockpiled fruit juice, and even a few comfort foods made the time stuck inside my home bearable.
- I was thankful to have access to the proper digging tools to get out! My driveway is a long, hilly climb down with plenty of places for 4-5 foot snow drifts, so I was thankful to have a tractor to help dig me out in order to connect with the rest of the world. And when even the tractor got bogged down, I was equally thankful to have some quality snow shovels at hand to free it!
- The wood stove was a major blessing. Although I never lost power, it was reassuring to know that if my furnace shut down I had a stove to keep the house good and warm even when the temperature went down below -20.
- Although my coat and boots were great, the gloves left a lot to be desired. I had some lovely Carhart insulated overalls to keep me warm outside, but my hands would rapidly freeze despite being fairly good quality winter work gloves. The temperature was so low and the wind so biting that I would have needed much better gloves if I had to work outside for any length of time.
- Board games and movies are great for staving off cabin fever. Since the power was still on I took the chance to watch some new movies and look through Netflix for interesting stuff to watch. Definitely helped keep me from scratching at the door until I could dig myself out.
Boiling water turning into snow before it even hits the ground. Who’d have thought?
- Mildly cold water apparently takes longer to freeze than boiling water. I never would have guessed it, but it does! Definitely came in handy when watering the animals.
- I would not want to be outside alone. The cold got to the point where it was actually difficult to breath normally, and you got lightheaded very quickly. I was gasping for air after only a few minutes even through a facemask. That plus the thick snow requiring a lot of effort meant that I was definitely straining to get through carrying a heavy bucked of food or water. Knowing that there was someone else with me to watch my back made things a lot easier, and it helped to be able to talk to take my mind off of the extreme cold.
- Animals are a lot more hardy than you may think. My solitary 400 pound hog was happy to greet me outside, trotting gleefully through the snow and coated in icicles. She did not care in the slightest, and aside from occasionally taking shelter inside her pen when the wind got rough she didn’t seem to notice the cold much. I was bundled in the best warm weather gear possible with multiple layers of clothing, but here she was just prancing around in the wind and snow with nothing but blubber and skin to protect her. It can be difficult to remember sometimes that although we do need to protect our livestock they are animals and they are designed to live on their own in some pretty harsh environments.
How about you?
Did you learn anything during your time surviving the Snowpocalypse? Anything you wish you had done beforehand, anything you were thankful you had available? Let us know in the comments below!