Let It Snow

Reader Contribution by Cindy Conner and Homeplace Earth
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We just had a good 14-inch snowfall here in Virginia. Although the world didn’t come to an end, you would have thought that was what was looming ahead with all the fanfare that preceded it. In times like this people rush to the stores for bread and milk and stock up on other supplies. Snow shovels sell out quickly. I wonder what happened to all the snow shovels that were sold for the last snow. Don’t people hold on to them?

It doesn’t have to be like that. Disruptions due to snow or other weather conditions are part of life. Even if every household doesn’t keep a long-term supply of food, surely they can keep enough to see the family through for a week. Most often around here people are only stranded at home for a few days. If you have just experienced household disruptions due to the snow, now, while the experience is still fresh in your mind, make a list of the best foods to have in times like this and resolve to keep your cupboard stocked with the ingredients in normal times, so you will be ready in the not-so-normal ones.

Of course, if you have chickens and a milk animal you have a constant supply of food coming into the kitchen daily, no matter what the weather. However, there is work to be done to tend those animals. We have a well, which means if there is a threat of a power outage we have to run water ahead of time, enough to see us through. Fortunately, when the power goes out it is not for too many days, although I remember a hurricane one year that took out our power for five days. We felt lucky, since many were out for two weeks. Years ago we had a milk cow. The cow and her calf would consume six 5-gallon buckets of water a day, all carried from the house in freezing weather. This time around we did not lose our electricity, but I still think about that cow and carrying water in the winter.

If you heat with a woodstove or have a fireplace, a snow like this might suggest that you change your method of wood storage. Is it close enough to the house? Is it enough? Could you have protected it from the snow and wet conditions better? If your house is drafty, blankets could be hung over the doorways to rooms you don’t need to occupy. A chilly house could prompt you to finally insulate your attic, especially if you live in an older home. Insulating your attic will do wonders for your heating bill and help keep you more comfortable every year. It shouldn’t take severe weather to move us to do things like that, but it does.

You will find more thoughts about the snow, low tunnels in the snow, and late night winter walks at Homeplace Earth. Enjoy the opportunity to experience Mother Nature and all she has to offer in times like this. As the snow melts, as it is doing at my place already, find the beauty in that, also. Spring will be here before we know it.

Cindy Conner is the author of Seed Libraries and Grow a Sustainable Diet and has produced DVDs about garden planning and managing cover crops with hand tools. Learn more about what she is up to at Homeplace Earth. Read all of Cindy’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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