Environment, Homesteading, Nature

As Stella Rages Through…

My maternal grandmother’s name was Stella. Is it mere coincidence that this blizzard should rage through New England exactly one week after what would have been her 96th birthday? And on the birthday of her eldest daughter, my Auntie Carol? Well, maybe I’m attaching too much importance to what might be considered by some an omen, but it is rather nice to think of her spirit perhaps visiting on the winds that are howling outside my windows as we speak.

I feel like a little kid today. Governor Dannel Malloy issued a travel ban yesterday for all but emergency personnel and a $75 fine for any but said personnel venturing out on the roads. That didn’t stop the dealership I work at from opening their doors and expecting employees to risk death, never mind the fine. So I’m playing it safe and staying home. Let the winds howl and the snow pile up. We are snug here in the house with enough eco-logs to burn should the power fail and a blessed cup of hot tea to warm the innards.

And, yes, we are back in business at home again. I bit the bullet yesterday and had Wi-Fi installed again. We trimmed away all but the essentials as Charter’s rates continue to rise and their competitors keep pace. Though I enjoyed the focus I found in a public “office”, relying on only the battery for this laptop meant I had to focus primarily on homework only and have not been able to blog as often as I would have liked. I also use this for business so it’s a necessary expense.

But I digress…

Blizzard Stella is promising to be a humdinger of a storm, dumping 2-4 inches of snow on us per hour. That was the forecast from WFSB Channel 3’s website. Stella seems to be living up to these predictions. I have taken to shoveling snow away from the doors every couple of hours and, the last visit out, I struggled to push the door open from the amount of snow built up in front of it. I barely managed to get the shovel I brought in and set by the back door through the crack I pushed open. And then it was awkward, indeed, to try and “shovel” through such a narrow opening. But I managed it. And I guess I haven’t gained that much weight because it didn’t take long to create an opening wide enough to squeeze through so I could finish the job…only to have to do it again in the immediate future.

As long as power stays on, my animals should be okay in the barn. I worry incessantly about the heat lamps I use as they have a reputation for starting fires. But that’s usually where they are kept lower to where flammable hay is scattered, or are not anchored properly and so, animals nudge them in their play and knock them into the hay…or the water bucket, if nearby. I have mine anchored pretty securely and check the cords routinely to make sure they are not getting warm. They are also anchored high enough away from the hay on the floor. They do the job. And I am always looking for alternatives that might be safer. (hint, hint to any readers who have found such a solution…)

This morning the snow was only a couple of inches’ deep and that owing, in part, to the inch or so that fell a few days’ ago. Still, the trek out to the barn was not without some hazard. The winds weren’t quite as fierce but the snow was falling in a fine haze of white-out. My coat is still soaked around the collar where it fell. When I got to the goat barn, the front board pulled off a little. I had to traipse back inside for a hammer to fix it, at least for now until I can do a better job. But the goats, and their one broody hen friend, were cozy enough. I fed and watered them, then headed around to the chicken coop. They, too, were cozy. And sensible enough to get that we were in for some rocky weather for the day; they didn’t even try to flutter outside. However, a couple of chickadees tried to flutter inside the henhouse. I opened it wide enough to permit them entry but they flew away from me instead. It wouldn’t be the first time wild birds have roosted inside to escape a storm. Instead, we’ve kept the feeders full so they have nourishment enough to keep warm. A few of them have even sought shelter inside one of the feeders (an open-faced one).

All of this rambling is just that, musing over Mother Nature, and the irony of taking a class in Global Climate Change as Blizzard Stella roars around the rooftops. Mom suggests that maybe Grandma is scolding us for too few periods of peace amongst her children. Maybe. Either way, this storm certainly has gumption; my grandmother did, too. Stay safe, my New England readers!

May God bless you & keep you!

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