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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Farmer Q and A: How Does a Farmer Get Ready for a BIG SNOW???

* Warning:  I just picked up my BIG camera after it spent about 5 weeks in the camera hospital, so this post is a bit picture heavy because, well, because I missed it so much!

I get the sense that some of America is under the misconception that a farmer's job is done after the last corn/bean/whatever you are growing comes in, and I so wish that was the case.   I'm here to tell you that it is NOT over, especially when the next latest greatest "BIG SNOW" is predicted.

So what do farmers do to prepare for a big snow?

First, if you have any snow removal equipment, it has to be ready to go, and that includes being in a position to get out of the barn/tool shed ready to work.

Bladed (back end) and bucketed tractor at the ready by the east door....We actually have a snow blower that can attach, but Tall Guy likes to move snow with a bucket and blade/scraper.

Semis in the back...

Combine by the south door ready to go the JD dealership for a going over when there is room.

Next, because we have livestock, we need to make sure their food is ready to be fed, and their waterers are all in working order.  This is kind of hard to 100% sure of until until we know the storm temperatures and amount of snow.

The blurry things in the picture below are birds.

Working waterer....

Under surveillance...heater might not be working.

Not being used at this time.

 One of our bigger 4-H calves

We had to throw down ten bales of straw for their bedding.  Uhm..., that "we" would be me!  I had some instructions from Angel as how to limb up to the hay/straw loft if I needed a refresher lesson!

Sadie and Angel making sure their waterer is also in working order.

Next, because we heat our home with a boiler system, we have to make sure we have wood chopped and two good stacks out by the boiler ready to go.

Finally, we need to make sure our "necessities of life" are in good supply.  Back in the day, my mom would run the tub full of water and fill up the kerosene lamps.  I still have those lamps even though we do have a generator that will help with electricity if the power does go out.  I also have a good supply of the BIG FOUR, toilet paper, milk, eggs, and bread, on hand in case we are socked in for longer than a few days.  Back when I was a teenager, I think the longest we were snowed in was two weeks during the late 70's BIG THREE blizzards.  Fun times, seriously!  We played a lot of euchre, put together several 1000 piece puzzles, and played outside whenever possible to shake off the cabin fever.

As you can see, farmers rarely get a day off, especially livestock farmers.  Grain farmers are usually out hauling grain to elevators and plotting next year's crops and strategies, and livestock farmers add care of the animals on top of that.  We all take safety precautions for our home and family because chances are even when the town folk can get out and about, we have about two more days before our roads are plowed out and and safe for traffic.  Stay safe and warm if you are in this storm's path.  I'm off to help Tall Guy split and stack more wood!

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