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First Snow!

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

It's here, it's really here... winter!
We're lighting the lanterns and firing up the wood stove every morning, the dogs won't go outside til the sun's up, the donks are furred up, and the oaks have finally turned winter brown. Yesterday it started sleeting around midday, then rain, then sleet, then a mix... and finally as the sun moved lower in the sky and the temps started to drop... snow. Which kept up much of the night and we were graced with 3" by this morning. Very auspicious after our dry as dust summer....

Thumbnail by Jayryunen
Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

The front door was frozen shut... just heard the SO forcing it open.
Anybody else get snow yet?
Here's the mountains to the WNW of us... the Sangre de Cristos in their winter dress...

Thumbnail by Jayryunen
Colmesneil, TX(Zone 8b)

Neat but then Im also glad its there and not here. lol

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

LOL... yeah, it'd play havoc with your garden!
But I'd much rather have the snow and cold than the heat y'all get... good thing the planet's soooo big with so many choices. =0)

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

we got a small small itsy bitsy tease of a snow . Just a little sprinkle .
i love snow !!! i know i m crazy but i realy love it. fun fun stuff . i love the cold weather .
i wear my Cartharts bibs all winter long and enjoy walking in the snow and cold .
the chickens are covered with plastic and have plenty of leaves and shavings to keep them warm . or i hope ?
but we are or might get some accumulating snow on thursday ! hooray !
send that snow my way Jay !

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

We got another whole inch last night! Woooo-hooo... OK, mini woo-hoo. =0)
I know what you mean about loving winter... I went to the library and got all sorts of interesting things to read, hoping for getting snow bound... oh well.

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

lucky ducky !

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

9" overnight... now that's a decent snow. Cold out, too. The inch we got a couple of days ago hadn't gone in the shade, so the ground is good and cold and this will probably hang on a while. Then I hear from the SO that more snow is predicted Monday... gosh, we could get snow pack! Usually we get snow, it melts away in a couple of days, no build up.

I've been thinking a lot about winter preparedness... everybody ready for the power to go out for a couple of weeks? Now that we've got a wood stove, I feel much more comfortable... water for the animals would be the next big issue. But now that my little 55 gal drums are freed up from rain water duty, I could fill them down at the creek.... BRRrrrrrr! but do-able.

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

well if we get a power outage hmmmmm we got lots of jam , tomato juice and green beans LOLLLLL
good job on the wood stove . we were hoping to get one this year but just didn't happen :( well actually its a wood burning insert for our fireplace.
wow 9" that is alot of snow ! unless you live in Canada "eh" i guess they get 9' at a time ? LOL yikes.
we didn't get the snow that was predicted :( man this bites . *bah*
i too am also thinking of prepardness in winter times. Slow go but will happen eventually :)
what else are you thinking of ? for winter prepardness

Paris, TN(Zone 6b)

We have our first snow called for this weekend. Last year we had snow much earlier, but I was a bit further north in VA. I just don't want it overnight on Monday when I'm traveling (hopefully traveling) back from the *possible* closing that day.

I was offered a good deal on a nice wood cookstove; now if I can just scrounge up the funds, that will make me feel more 'winter' prepared. Water would be the key issue at the new place; here I'd just have to boil the water since it runs through the corrals...phooeey, yuck...pbbbt. And I have no manual well pump at either place, so I keep bottled water in the winter just in case. We've already had a couple of power outages here, although nothing too bad.

Off to make tea and then to work....ciao!

Colmesneil, TX(Zone 8b)

Thanks a lot Jay. Some of your snow is headed this way. Supposed to have 3 to 4 inches Friday night Sat. morning. =0)

Richmond, TX

It has been snowing here since 7:30 this morning!

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

It was MINUS 8 here this morning... it's all the way up to +10 now at 10 am.

Hey, that's great pp... all the moisture we can get, eh? We ended up with about 9" all told. A devil of a cold snap is probably coming your way; it did here.

Yeah, the water is our next big concern... in spite of what I was told, the spigot on the rain water tank has cracked in the cold; fortunately as long as it is off, it doesn't seem to leak... well, at least that was the case before this latest COLD snap. I'll have to check it today when it gets warm enough to go outside. I've figured out how to replace it without draining 1200 gal. of rainwater away... I'm going to try sticking a plastic grocery bag on a string down there, turning on the spigot, and letting the suction pull it into the opening and hopefully it will cut off the water... it sure does it everywhere else! (Beavers will be using this technique next to build water proof dams.) Then I'll replace the spigot, and yank the bag up with the string... that's the theory, anyway. We all know about theories...

We've got enough water inside for us (~15 gal), but 4 donkeys is more than I can store inside. The rain water collection will take care of them... I think. I've got to figure out a way to insulate that spigot.

As for food... we've get 50# of wheat berries at a whack, 'cause we grind our own flour, so that's stored up fresh every fall when the new crop comes in. We also have plenty of jams and jellies and tomato things. Also green beans, squash, dried apples, 6 frozen chickens and 1 frozen turkey. And several pounds of dried beans and brown rice, dried apples, peaches, green/red peppers, squash, jalapenos. With the frozen meat, if the power goes out for long, we'll be having ourselves a canning fiesta! Didn't get around to canning any meat this year... that's one of those things on the list... harharhar.

And because we're such huge pasta eaters, this weekend I'm going to try making our own pasta... if that works, we may order a bulk bag of semolina and store it in a bucket with the oxygen removed. This can be done with any dried food... beans, grain, sugar, dried milk (though I think that will keep better in the freezer... someone check me on that).

We just stocked up on dog food, and we've got a winter's worth of hay in the barn. Lots of candles... need more lamp oil. Thinking about those solar trickle chargers for household batteries for better, safer lighting... I think there's one that will recharge D batteries, and that's what our Coleman battery lantern takes. Don't forget you can use those little solar walkway lights to recharge your AA batteries... just rotate them through. Good for the radio to keep you posted.

Backwoods Home magazine is running some good specials on their back issues and several preparedness books... whether you agree with their politics or not, they've got some awfully good info.

And here's something to remember! Preparedness in your vehicle... throw in the heavy sleeping bag, light sticks, chemical hand/foot warmers, and non-cotton clothing! A couple of energy bars... whatever you think you might need if you break down betwixt and between and have to hike your happy little butt somewhere in the middle of a freezing cold dark night.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Another thing for preparedness...


If you are on any sort of meds, don't let your quantity run down... we had to run some prescription meds (diabetes) by snow mobile up several miles to a back country cabin 'cause they allowed themselves to get snowed in, no way out and ran out of meds in two days... wilderness rescue groups are not usually used this way, but all other responders were busy.

If your whole area goes down, and you can't travel or the pharmacy is closed... emergency services will be BUSY... help them out [and help yourself] and be prepared with several days of meds on hand.

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

that is a good idea Jay ! i will get some more pharmacuticals this week.
My FIL is on oxygen and he can make his own with a machine that is also a generator power so if the electric goes out , he will have oxygen . I think that is how he explained ti to me LOL
my dream is to have a Clydesdale so i can use him as a snow plow and a travel assitant if we are snowed it :) i think it may work ?
i do have my food grade buckets and i need to stock them up with grain and beans . Forgot to do that last month .
kids were sick
oh and don't forget band aids and cotton balls never can tell. when they come in handy

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

I have one of those solar battery chargers. I put it out on the porch to keep batteries charged up. Forgot it on a hard freezing night, I found the batteries started to freeze (swelled)... not a good option on cold, cold days. Otherwise it is handy as pockets on a shirt.

Not as cold temps here normally but I keep ample kerosene to go with a kero heater and Aladdin lamps. Food, water and pet food. Matches... good old fashioned strike anywhere matches. Good books for entertainment when a companion (or I) get tired of being drubbed repeatedly at chess or scrabble or...

Here when the power went out for an extended time during the last hurricane, a friend fired up his cooking pit and cooked all the meat in the freezer. Fed all his friends and neighbors. I would opt for canning so it would be preserved for later. I do can some chicken and beef already.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Oh, hate to mush your dream, Tay, but a single Clyde probably isn't enough to do much snow plowing... it's hard, hard work for a horse... gosh, guess you'll have to get at least a pair... =0)

I've got plans for homemade horse drawn plows in my mags, if you ever get there! They're made like a 'V' pushing the snow off to both sides... but with deep snows, you've got to be out there all day and night to keep ahead of it, horses can only move a few inches at a time.

A single Clyde could pull a sleigh very nicely, though... =0)

Yeah, life kinda interfers with all my plans, too. Dang it. I planned to get those carrots mulched, I planned to get all my HT beds composted before now, I planned to have done a whole lot more than I have....

I wish I was as good at doing as I am at planning! LOL

Made my first batch of homemade pasta tonight... wow, that's a tough dough (used the real semolina). Erg, umpf, ugh... it's hard work kneading that stuff, much harder than bread dough. Much of this and I'll have very buff arms. I've hung it to dry and I'll let you know how it turns out tomorrow...

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

good to know Jay :) yes i guess two would be more fun and better snow plowable power , Real horse power !" grunt, grun,ahrg ahrg "puff up chest . LOL
the sleigh does sound fun and that is another goal at our place too. We have a very high amish community here and they are very nice to us. :) they said they can hook me up with it all.
i sure hope your pasta turns out . made alot of it in culinary school myself. only hint i can remember is it drys very fast when kneading. ?
sorry wish i remembered more . was many years ago since i have done that .
good day to you all

Richmond, TX

One more winter hint: WD40 to unfreeze locks and latches.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Or a shot of alcohol... vodka works nicely. Or if you don't have that, rubbing alcohol, isopropyl alcohol... but probably not beer. Unless it's some of that high-test beer they're starting to make (eww... =oP)

I don't like to use WD 40 on locks around here... it contains a light oil which collects dust and hastens the wear on the mechanism. In the desert, to lube locks it's better to use graphite.

North of Heber, AZ(Zone 6b)

Ah, winter is really here! Thanks for all the tips on preparedness. I got out of the habit of packing emergency supplies in the car, now that the county grades the roads 4 or 5 times a year, but a week ago I had a blowout on the graded ranch road and nobody in sight so Ii had to change it myself. I have changed tires before, but this time I was giving thanks that it was not dark, not snowing, and not bitterly cold. The tire was ruined, but my good luck continued when I went back to town next day and our local tire shop happened to have a used Subaru tire exactly the same as my other 3, and in approximately the same condition. But from now on I will travel with blankets, hand warmers, battery-operated lamp, pillow to sit on when I change a tire, water, and energy bars. And a first aid kit. AND a full tank of gas! I got in the habit of only filling it when it was nearly empty, but now I top it off whenever I go to town. One time last winter I pulled up to the pump in Heber and found that my gas filler door was frozen shut! And I desperately needed gas! The water in the outside window-washing things was likewise frozen, but I had a small water bottle in the car that I used to pour water on the outside of the filler door and was able to pop it open.

As far as power outages, I am off the grid so don't have tha problem unless something catastrophic happens -- my main problem is having to scrape snow off the solar panels when we get a big snow. Only a little so far, but we expect snow all the next week.

Jay, thanks for reminding me, I need to go out to the pumphouse and make sure the spigot there hasn't frozen & pouring water all over. We have had really low temps (somewhere around 5, I am guessing). The pump is solar so only runs when the sun is shining anyway.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Hey AZ, glad to see you're back online! I've missed you!

Do you know the trick of using the vehicle floor mats to lie on whilst monkeying around under the car? Good reminder about keeping the tanks full!

How's your new GH doing? I was out in mine this morning and it was so warm and toasty, and I got another bed composted and turned... actually worked up a sweat.

Had some of my homemade pasta in my turkey soup for lunch.... Mmmm-mmm. Also threw in a sliced Jerusalem artichoke... if you haven't given those a try, do! They do indeed taste like artichokes, and they're an easy tuber to grow at home. They not starchy like potatoes, being comprised of inulin, a kind of soluble fiber, so easy on the old blood sugar. Introduce them into your diet slowly... they can have the same musical effect as beans if your system isn't given a chance to get used to them. I roasted a couple for dinner last night... very tasty.

North of Heber, AZ(Zone 6b)

Glad to be back, jay. I hadn't thought of using the vehicle floor mats - great idea! By your GH, you mean your high tunnel? My little GH was nearly 40 (IIRC) and my big greenhouse was about 25 at 7:30 this morning. It is up to 60 now (cloudy) and I've been out there puttering around, refilling water buckets my DS forgot to fill when he was here, and adding water in every available container I can find. Night before last I lost 6 tomato seedlings in the big GH and the fig got bit, but the lettuce, chard, beets, etc. in the ground did okay. The 3 geraniums, 24 tomato seedlings and the 3 citrus in the little GH are okay -- thank goodness. Also the peas have sprouted!

Never tried Jerusalem chokes -- heard they get crazy and take over your garden in the summer, is that right? I grew regular chokes when I lived in CA, where you can grow anything. Even had an avocado tree! Sigh.

Re beans, funny you shoudl mention it, I started a pot of pinto beans this morning. Couldn find the salt pork in my freezer so threw in a couple of packets (I freeze it in 2-person packs) of roast pork. BTW, I cook beans my mother's old-fashioned way of just rinsing them and cooking them, none of this soaking time-waste. And the "musical" properties of beans seem to cook out! Of course when I was a kid and Mom taught me how to cook (by yelling instructions from her bedroom, she had TB and was not expected to live, now she is 96), I had to pick through the beans for little rocks. Can't find any rocks in the beans these days. Remember the old cowboy song, "rocks in the beans and sand in the meat"? Don't have any cottage cheese or french bread, which I love with beans, but I have lots of GH tomatoes and will make corn bread. Yum.

On another forum this morning I read that canned pumpkin is given to dogs & cats to stop flatulence -- wonder if it works for people?

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

I meant the big GH, only because I didn't know about the little one... or I forgot. More likely the latter. Say, how did that dead fridge---> 'root cellar' experiment ever turn out?

Yeah, I've heard the J. chokes can get kinda weed-like. Sorta like mint. Just gotta plant it where you don't really care. Or confine it somehow. But it's a native (prefers alkaline soil! and hardy clear up to N. Dakota), a great survival food, will restart itself... there's somebody out there pushing it as a solution to food security for the nation... OK, that's a little carried away. In any case, I think I'll add it to my homestead... channel the run-off from the pumphouse to it and use it as a windbreak, and neighbor barrier... I get tired of lookin' at 'em. Hmm... wonder how gophers feel about them... the 'chokes, not the neighbors. Anyway, looks like an easy replacement for potatoes in some dishes. Sure was good in the soup!

I have no idea about the pumpkin, but I would certainly be amenable to following 'chokes up with a little pumpkin pie... yup, I would indeed.

I just came in from the GH/HT, got that bed watered and covered with plastic to keep the moisture in the soil. Hot dang, I've found a new use for the clear plastic bags the stall shavings come in... open them up and they're just right for covering a bed. =0) It sure is nice being able to work in the garden in the GH all warm and toasty.

The carrots survived the deep freeze, too. I went ahead and pulled up the few that were left... there's a few more out in the front raised bed, but it's still buried under snow, so no telling how they're doing.

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

in winter i always keep two or three candles in my truck . In case your stranded in your auto , they will keep you warm. I also put a mason jar for the candle. Extra hats and gloves , matches and a handy dandy McGyver knife. :)
today was 24 ! brrrrr but sunny and no wind so it wasn't to bad.
chicken water freezes soooooo that is done twice a day
do eggs freeze ?
Jay I like the vodka idea LOL

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Yes, eggs freeze and split... the dogs get those. You don't want to leave them because it's liable to get the chickens in the habit of eating the eggs before you get them.

I've got a donkey that eats egg shells... I don't know if he'd eat a raw egg, I've never tried. But I've got another donk who'll about take your arm off grabbing a hot dog from you....

Candles in the car would make me nervous... I'd rather go with chemical warmers and a heavy sleeping bag, space blanket. Candles are handy for starting outside fires, though.

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

No room for a sleep bag for us :(
chemical warmers sound like an idea , will look into those
LOL on the donkey eating hotdogs :)

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

No room?! Wow, that is a tiny car! Throw a couple of space blankets in the glove compartment or under the front seat, then. Something to retain body heat.

A little bitty survival kit... ID (a typed sheet with personal info, medical conditions, contacts in case you are found unconscious), space blankets, light sticks (to mark the vehicle for emergency services and illumination), calories, water, heat packs, whistle. They even have heat packs for the body now, to put under arms and between the upper thighs... they stick on. A box cutter/utility knife with a snap off blade, so you'll always have a sharp edge. This can be used to cut up the car seat for the insulation and cloth, and any other use a knife might be.

This kit is pretty small, easy to take with you everywhere, and can save your life.

Study the winter time deaths that occur this year and figure out how you might handle them to prevent your own... beyond not getting in those pickles in the first place. We ALL think we're smarter than that...

A great read... "Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why" by Laurence Gonzales.

Now I'm going to follow my own advice and go make up one of those kits. =0)

This message was edited Dec 6, 2009 11:31 AM

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

I'd agree by saying no to the candles. Even in a mason jar, the flame can cause the glass to break or the heat when it burns down can ignite the surface underneath. The open flame can also cause oxygen deprivation in a small, enclosed space as well. Not a good thought.

Thanks for the book recommendation on survival.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

You'll notice I've not included any fire-starting equipment in the kit... largely because this is really a car kit, and most times we won't need to start a fire.

Building a fire under survival conditions is a whole topic in itself. If you want to have the skills to do it, practice outside in your back yard in all kinds of weather... don't wait til you're scared, cold, and lost or hurt.

You'll need to know how to build a fire shelter, gather wood under all kinds of conditions, and start the fire.

For my money, don't waste your time on spark strike systems. There's a neat little system called Esbit that will easily catch with one match, burns for 13 minutes and if you've been able to gather anything that will burn, it will give you a fire.

Build your fire upside-down, if you can (this works well in the wood stove, too). Big logs on the bottom, finishing with tinder on top. The embers of each layer drop down onto the wood beneath and I've lit every fire this year with only one match and none of that stupid blowing on it and getting smoke back in my face.

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

ok exnay on the candles eh :)
well i guess i was thinking of a regular sleeping bag ? we have a truck and the kids would step over it on the back area.
I will look into them heat blankets and stuff. Will also look into that book . SOunds like good reading.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Tay, with kids I'd play games to get them familiar with the equipment, just in case you're not 'around'. Of course teach them 'Hug a Tree' 'Hug a Car' too. But they should also know what to do with the light stick, how to wrap up in the space blanket, how to use those chemical heatpacks. How to whistle for help.

And it can be a whole lot of fun practicing building fires with kids (depending on their age, of course) if you make it "Treasure Island" or something. =0) Heck, you could even pack a lunch, drive to the middle of nowhere, and see if you can start a fire with what's there... Oh, Pioneer!

Teaching young folks survival skills can give them a real sense of accomplishment, safety, and confidence. Besides save their chubby little cheeks.

Deep Survival is one of the best books I've read in a long time. The author wrote for National Geo, so it's very readable and has amazing stories and great info in it on mental preparedness. I'm going to read it again myself.

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

good to know Jay i would have thought of that ,sounds like fun ! :)
we have been practicing our fire escape out a window with our fire ladders. They think its cool. We have a friend who is a retired fire cheif and he helps out. Being in woods and in the way back of our 40 acres , can make a person nervous about fires. Well at least i do
woops didn't mean to hijack the thread about safety .
back to our regular programing
first snows
nothing for us yet :(

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Ooooo... 'Jailbreak!' getting away from the evil dark forces of the Empire, hiding in the woods of Zax 3... Oh man, can I come play with you guys? =0)

We've got more snow predicted for tomorrow evening.

North of Heber, AZ(Zone 6b)

We are getting a mix of snow & rain this morning -- hear it's supposed to intensify, maybe get up to a foot of snow on the ground by tomorrow. Low tomorrow night will be 12 degrees, unusual for a snowy night!

I hear ya on fire safety -- when we converted my original little doublewide to a house (a cozy and cute little Santa Fe style), I insisted on putting an outside exit door in every room except the bathroom, plus I have fire extinguishers here & there. One of my neighbors, about 3 miles away, lost their mobile home to fire Friday night, got out with just the pajamas they were wearing -- lost their little dog. We have had several other homes lost during the past year. The Heber fire department is 45 minutes away but a trailer goes up in just a few minutes. Their attitude is don't call us, we won't come, your house will be gone before we could get there. We actually aren't taxed for fire services, but we do have emergeny medical service -- altough I doubt they could find my place. Kinda like taynors, only it's the rocky road that would deter them.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Yeah, that's pretty much how it is here... though they will come... these guys love a fire. But it's pretty pointless with a mobile home. And of course, by the time the volunteers get to the station, find your place (if they do), and get enough water hauled to put out the glowing embers... you've got half the insurance papers filled out. Provided, of course, you could get insurance.

It's cloudy and grey here today, 30 and so far no wind. It's supposed to flurry tonight, but it's the western part of the state that will be getting the bulk of the snow. Looks like they'll be flying in hay to the Navajos again. San Juan mountains may get 2-3 feet tonight. Yee-haw, glad I didn't take the family land up there. I was going to, til a neighbor said the snow the previous season topped out over the volleyball poles.... er... uh... even Mammoth donkeys wouldn't leave a bump in that much snow, I'd loose 'em for sure.

North of Heber, AZ(Zone 6b)

Have you considered putting a keg on each donkey ala St. Bernards?

I keep insurance & other important papers in a fire safe which I can't close because it locks itself when I do, so don't know what would be left if the house burnt. Most of us have insurance although I am sure the ins. companies have no idea what the conditions really are out here! The people who lost their trailer Friday had just bought the place and moved in, I am sure they didn't have ins. He said he planned to get rid of the trailer eventually, but not that way! The trailer was pretty junky, the previous owner lost it due to the economy and deliberately trashed the place before he left.

Weather for (north)western part of NM probably includes (north)eastern part of AZ.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Kegs on the donkeys... yesterday I made a Bacardi CANNOT BE MENTIONED IN THE PRESENCE OF MINORS cake and the dogs nearly licked a hole in the batter bowl. I'm pretty sure the kegs would meet a quick end, but the donkey singing would make it easy to find them. =0)

When I got Shenanigans cut, he certainly seemed to enjoy the anesthesia. Doc said she'd never seen one get up and go staggering around so fast or happy before, that he really seemed to be enjoying the high whereas usually horses just stand and tremble. My boy was more like 'Wooooo-HOOOOO! Party time!'

North of Heber, AZ(Zone 6b)

Too funny!

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

Jay LOL Jail break. I could play AC/DC music to that one LOL The kids do like it. We do have fun in our woods. Come on over and may the force be with you .
AZ that is a sad situation your neighbors . I wish them luck .
well we got a snow, just a light light light dusting of the white stuff.
MMMM Caaaaaaake

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