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We’re getting ready for a blizzard! We don’t have them very often here in the Ozarks, so it’s an event. That’s important because once it starts to ice and snow, we’re stuck at home.

See, here in the Ozarks, roads are slanted to allow for water run-off in the summertime, when flooding is a common event. But it’s nearly impossible to drive on slippery, slanted roads without slipping to the downhill side. Our roads don’t have shoulders and sometimes the downhill side plunges way, way down into a hollow or ravine. Even an inch or two of snow makes driving risky where we live.

So Mom and Dad keep extra feed on hand for everyone, including themselves, for emergencies, even little ones like blizzards. Mom wrote an article about emergency preparedness that you can read in the January/February 2011 issue of Hobby Farms, and Carol Ekarius also wrote a good article about farm disaster plans. You should check them out and be prepared, too.

Mom puts extra bedding in our Port-a-Huts. She also hauls out clean, empty water tubs in case our water freezes solid overnight and she can’t kick the ice loose to give us fresh, warm water. If that happens, she fills new tubs and brings the frozen ones in the house to thaw out. She sets them on the heat registers, and when ice thaws loose from their sides, she hauls them outside, tips out the ice, and uses those tubs when she waters us again. She always gives us warm (but not super-hot!) water. It tastes extra nice when it’s cold outside and doesn’t freeze up quite as fast.

She also puts clothes on the animals who need them, especially old Maire, the horse, who wears a comfy, waterproof blanket, and any babies or sick animals who might get chilled. It’s important to keep babies warm but heat lamps are dangerous, so I talked about Goat Coats and Lammie Jammies in one of my other blog posts. If you haven’t made some yet, now is a good time to do it!

Mom and Dad check all the gates and doors to make sure they’re tied or securely propped open, so all of us who want to can reach shelter when the storm arrives. They check the weather to see which direction the wind will be from and put up extra tarps for indoor windbreaks if they’re needed.

Another good thing to do before a blizzard is to move hay and bedding closer to wherever you’ll need it, because it’s no fun to lug bales or push a feed cart through howling wind and deep snow drifts. And make sure we have enough hay! Drinking warm water and eating hay, not grain, that’s what warms us from the inside out.

P.S. Last week, I promised to tell you if the Ivermectin wormer cured our sheep’s itch—and it did!

Tags blizzard, disaster preparedness, emergency preparedness, farm disaster plan, goats, hobby farms, Martok, Ozarks, Sue Weaver