Blizzard Preparations

Thank goodness for weather reports. Imagine being a farmer in 1920. No radio. No way of telling that the light snow in the morning would turn into a blizzard by nightfall. People complain about television weathermen who hype the smallest storm. But, I’m grateful for the science behind the forecasts and time to prepare.

A blizzard is not simply a heavy snowfall. Yes there’s a lot of snow, but it doesn’t fall in light, pretty flakes. It comes down heavy and hard. There will be no way to shovel and keep up with it. The snow will blow sideways with wind gusts that will reach 50 mph. There will be whiteout conditions, which means that I won’t be able to see my way from the back door to the barn.

This storm is going to be one for the record books. Up to three feet of snow! What I’m worried about is what comes after – they’re predicting warm weather and rain for later in the week. The snow layer will be so thick that it will absorb that added moisture. At night it will freeze solid. Instead of two feet of snow on the ground, there will be a foot of solid ice. Dangerous. Long lasting.

We’re as prepared as we can be. Yesterday I cleaned out the barns and put down fresh shavings, so all is dry and sweet-smelling. I also scooped out and filled the inside dust baths as no one will be going out for awhile.

dust bath

I tidied up the barns. The goats love it when I do this, as they get sweepings from the hay storage area.

clean stall

While mucking out, I let the Gems out for a free-range session. This is the last they’ll see of grass and ground for awhile.

Gems out

Buffy had a peaceful sunbath.

Buffy in sun

I topped off the feeders and waterers, and Steve filled the water storage bucket in the Big Barn.

water tub

I cleaned up the goats’ paddock. I give them pine saplings to eat and play with. I won’t be able to shovel with these strewn about, so they got tossed into the woods.

pine branches

I went grocery shopping, and a guy in the produce department kindly gave me a box of greens.

box of greensI

While the hens are stuck indoors, I’ll be doling the greens out like this. Having to work for their treats will keep them busy and the vegetables will keep the girls healthy.


I’ve brought the boots indoors from where they usually sit on the back steps. Nothing worse than having to wear cold, snow-filled boots!

Ibarn boots

I’m sure that the power will go out. I’m doing doing loads of laundry while I still have electricity. We’ve done all of the other regular storm preparations: filling containers with water, charging lanterns, having food on hand, etc. Unlike Hurricane Sandy, when we lost power but the outdoor temperature was moderate, this time it will be very cold, in the single digits. We can always leave, but my animals can’t, and so my focus has been on the barn. I think all will be snug and cozy.

There will soon be a pile of snow in front of the HenCam and you won’t be able to see much. But Steve has added wind speed to the info on the cams, so you’ll be able to get a sense of what is going on.

If you’re in the path of the storm, stay safe!


  1. Wow! Alot of work!
    Hopefully your animals will all be safe!

    Im about 30 mins south from Boston,and we’ve already seen a couple flakes here and there.

  2. I see the snow is falling already. Keep safe and warm Little Pond Farm residents and those of you who follow this blog that live in the same area!

  3. Everyone looks warm and comfy in their nice clean barns. It looks like they will be fine through the storm. We in central Vermont already have about 5 inches of snow from the storm out of the west. We won’t be hit hard by the Nor’easter like you people down south. Stay safe, I hope you don’t lose power, that’s the worse.

  4. thinking about your comment about the science of weather and how hard it must have been farming/ living without knowing what was coming at you
    always been an interest of mine – predicting when/if we’ll get what
    been kind of a life-long hobby – since i read laura ingalls little house books.
    watching the sky, the animals, the birds etc. can tell a person a lot.
    have you seen a ‘sun-dog’? a bright spot along either side of the sun a day or two ahead of a storm will often tell you ‘storm’ before they mention it on t.v.

    • Farmers used to keep exact weather diaries, but those and watching the sky can only do so much. Some people, like yourself, are clued in to those small signs. Mother Nature, though, is awfully good at surprises!

  5. Much luck riding out the storm…..hoping it won’t be too bad for y’all.

    Stay safe!

  6. I am nervous the way my place is aet up I will have to keep clearing to keep access to the girls, they may be spending the next few nights in the shed, they will be safe and dry in there they will be a bit confused,their hutch is about 5 feet from shed, but hey they will need to adjust. The s.ow will accumulate on the wire overheadso I will need to clearing that. We will survive. Stay safe everyone.

  7. My little hobby ranch is in northern CA. When I fed the animals this morning I was complaining about the 32 degree temp outside. My fingers felt frozen to the bone. Then I came in and read about the weather headed your way. Wow, I can’t even imagine. Looks like you have done a good job getting your animals prepared as well as your self. Stay safe. I can’t wait to see pictures and posts! I have your books but just found your blog yesterday! I’m hooked.


  8. Terry, I’ve been reading your blog all week, learning about you and your chicken keeping life, as I am about to embark on my own chicken keeping journey. Your blog has been a wealth of information and I feel a fondness for you and yours already! I’ll be sending warm thoughts your way and keeping up with your progress. Stay safe and warm!

  9. Oh, our thoughts are with you all the way from California. Do post photos if you can. Or at least take some. As challenging as all that snow can be, it’s also so beautiful.

  10. I noticed the girls in the little barn hanging around the pop door…if only they knew what was behind that door.

  11. Thinking of you as the storm rages… but I know you’re well prepared and I bet you’ve cooked some delicious food too.

    Last week here in the east of England we were remembering the 300 people who lost their lives in a storm and tidal surge 60 yrs ago (1800 also died on the other side of the North Sea in Holland). In those days there were no satellite forecasts and no mobile phones, the news of rapidly rising water, freezing temperatures and gale force winds didn’t get to people in time for them to escape to safety. We should be thankful for modern communications

    Cold and more snow forecast here too … but nothing on the scale that you are facing.
    C xx

  12. I am in Omaha, Nebraska and this is a very nice website! Im in the process of setting up for chickens this spring. The city allows us to have laying hens. Your girls are gorgeous!

    Thanks! Susie

  13. Started following your blog summer of last year and I am so enjoying it. I can’t keep chickens where I am but would love to so I live vicariously through your hen keeping. Live on the West Coast so we don’t have weather like you’re experiencing. Will be keeping you in my prayers through this storm.

  14. Thinking of you and your family Terry, two footed, four footed and finned. Good Luck!

  15. When I looked in early this morning I saw the goats curled up in the barn and laughed to myself thinking they were ready for the blizzard. Best to you and yours.

  16. We are sending prayers up North. Wish you could send some of that snow down here to South Carolina. Around 60 and pleasant out for us.

  17. Will 3 feet of snow have any impact on the beast and his friends in the pond? That is a darling picture of the goaties, they look like they are smiling. So Cute! I wish you all well and pray for your safety, warmth and comfort till the storm passes by.

    • The Beast and her minions will be fine. While the power is on, the pump keeps the water flowing and the pond from freezing below the top layer of ice. If the power goes off, the snow on that ice will insulate the water and it won’t freeze solid and turn the fish into ice cubes.

  18. Wishing you well. I’ll miss your blog if the power goes out. It isn’t as cold here on the Cape Cod Bay but the wind is always a bit nerve wrecking and we always lose power. I’m happy as long as the roof to the inner run stays where it belongs. We lost it once during a Nor’easter and that was not fun for us or the chickens.

  19. Keep safe! I love the photo of the boots and your reason for bringing them in. I’m looking forward to seeing you all again as soon as the weather clears.

  20. Great job of preparing for whatever this storm has to hit you with. All the critters look safe and warm, as you’ve thought of every little thing possible! Stay safe and post when you can. I’ll be waiting to see some interesting pictures (taken through your window of course).

    I love that picture of Buffy sunbathing. Sweet girl. :)

  21. It’s nice to see Buffy looking content in the sun. It’s a much different picture out there now! I have to admit I enjoy a good storm but when I went out to the coop just now to check on things, the girls gathered around me and made a ruckus. It’s as if they’re asking me to explain what is going on ;-)

  22. Have totally enjoyed your hens and blogs for many months. Yours is the first thing I look at and read in the morning. Buffy is my favorite hen; I worry and fret about her as if she belonged to me.. You do an excellent job with your animals. I have learned and enjoyed and am enjoying your preps for the blizzard. My thoughts are with you and your animals. Thanks for an interesting site. : )

  23. I am embarrassed that I was just griping I was chilly. (54 outside) 10 years or so ago we got 23 inches of snow overnight and in Central North Carolina it just as well have been 12 feet. It didn’t melt for weeks due to unusually cold weather.
    Currently my girls are out pecking daily treasures in the sun. Stay toasty warm inside — we are thinking about you and wishing the best for all the “fur and feather babies”. :)

  24. Hoping you all stay safe at Little Pond Farm in the coming days. As Celia posted earlier, we are expecting snow in the East of Uk this weekend and we are all dreading it, but really we have nothing to complain about when we see what others have to contend with.
    Will look forward to your photos when it all calms down over there, they are bound to be beautiful. Take care.

  25. stay warm! And why aren’t you frying those greens up for yourself with onions and pancetta? The girls would never know…

  26. Terry,
    I have been thinking about you, your husband, the gems, and the 2 goat brothers. My prayers are with you concerning the blizzard that is heading your way! I really appreciate your blog, and the Hencam is awesome!
    I have chickens, geese, and ducks here. I am located just North of Springfield, MO.
    Thanks for all you do!
    Pat Dennis

  27. I do hope the animals know how much you love them and care about them!!

  28. Hello Terry,
    I started watching your wonderful webcams the first week of January not long before your sweet Candy died, so I was glad to get to know her a little. I enjoy your website and your blog so much. Your webcams are first on the list when I wake up and reach for my iPad. Now that I am in an Assisted Living facility, I certainly can’t have chickens as I once had, and I had to give up my old rescue pigeons (whom I miss terribly).
    I am in Pasadena, CA where we’re pretty spoiled weather wise.  When I saw your 6 degrees posted not long ago, I was amazed! I just couldn’t imagine how anything or anyone could tolerate that kind of cold–even twenty-something degrees! A best friend of mine, an animal rescuer (mostly of barnyard poultry) has many, many outdoor pens, cages, hutches, plus a special indoor “bird room” and sick bay attached to her little house for her old and frail birds (including mine) and her poultry. In our “bad” weather she usually has to bring somebody inside for awhile in a large pet carrier. Everything outside she tarps securely at night, top and sides, against the unusual wind and rain and temps we consider “freezing!” There can be serious damage and loss and heartbreak even in these milder conditions. 
    So, like all of your webcam friends and fans, I wish you all the very best, especially Buffy. (Her still photos in the sun looked good.) When I went to lunch at noon our time, I did not see her on the inside cam.  When I came back later to look, there was so much snow outside already, and the inside cam was already dark.  Did you take her inside?
    Take care.
    (I apologize this message was so long!)
    Chris Rose

    • Many retired farm folk and animal lovers who can no longer have animals in their homes, join me and mine during the day via this wonderful technology. I’m glad to have you here.

  29. You sound very well prepared. I’ll be watching the cam as usual. Hopefully, the power will not go out, but if it does, it won’t be too long. The animals look like they had a nice day before the big storm comes. Looked like a beautiful day in Carlisle. We had rain here in the west.

  30. Your right about the boots as I’ve stepped into snow filled ones before. Also, that picture of Buffy sunbathing could be put on a card.