Last week we got our friendly reminder that nature is wild and unpredictable, and we have to play by her rules. For those of you reading this in the future (or from another part of the world), we had a rather rare ice storm in Central Texas. It’s now become “not uncommon” to have a February freeze that lasts for a few days, but when you couple it with a light rain extending over that same period, it creates a whole new set of problems.
We received a total of 2 inches of rain that froze instantly upon hitting the ground and any other exposed surface, including trees and power lines. This freezing created a breathtaking ½ to 1 inch crystal casing on the trees and power lines that caused both to fail and fall resulting in widespread power outages. At the ranch, we experienced a power outage that lasted 3 days and as a result, we've been without internet for 4 days now.
To be honest, I don't mind the situation much. It allows me to assess my preparedness. I strongly believe in creating backup systems, and events like this provide an opportunity to test and improve them. We've had two generators (one gasoline and one propane) for several years, and we added a propane stove in the upstairs apartment last year. Our water supply comes from a well, and we have ample amounts of meat and other food stores. These systems have assured our access to ample food, and water.
Our house is well insulated, and with the aid of a portable "Mr. Buddy" propane heater (the one we use at the market on cold days), we were able to maintain warmth. Molly enjoys using candles and oil lamps, so she was thrilled to be able to create a cozy atmosphere. Despite the difficulties of performing daily chores in the cold, the lack of electricity and internet pushed me towards more intellectual activities, such as reading. I made headway on my backlog of agriculture books and also finished reading Dostoyevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov" and am halfway through "The Idiot" (also Dostoyevsky).
But now that the ice has thawed, there is work to be done. We had several trees drop branches along the fence lines, and a few plumbing fittings froze, but overall we didn’t suffer much damage, and I was able to get things cleaned up pretty quickly.
It’s also time to resupply our emergency provisions. In addition to refilling propane and restocking PVC fittings, I’m sure Molly will be cleaning out the candle makers at the farmer’s markets. If you've depleted your meat reserves or experienced spoilage due to power loss, now is the perfect time to restock. We have a plentiful supply of beef, pork, chicken, and lamb and we’re offering a special on ground beef - 25lbs of grass-fed ground beef for $200 (20% off our regular price). And if you’re really looking to up your preps, we’re taking orders on halves of beef and pork too. Use the ORDER link at the top of the newsletter to restock your freezer. The “25 Pound Ground” special is available by pre-order this week only - 1 per customer.
Join us for an educational farm tour, hay ride, BBQ dinner and more. Check out our Farm Tour page on the website for updates!