Tucking In

The snowstorm last week was just a practice run for what the meteorologists have been predicting for this week, starting today. According to current predictions, we could be looking at 12-24 inches of snow and 60 mph wind gusts, warranting an official blizzard warning for the next 48 hours.

Over the last two days, which were beautiful and springlike, we’ve gotten set up for this snowstorm and put the finishing touches on everything today. It is comforting to see the hayfield emptied, all the mamas and babies pushed up into the trees where they can find better shelter to weather this blizzard. The calving shed is likewise empty, except for one cow we put in there this morning and the calf she just had. Brad and Dave spent the late morning and early afternoon tucking the big north bunch of cows into a timbered and sheltered ravine while I made a last minute egg delivery.

Everything was uneasy early this afternoon. The atmosphere was unsettled and everything felt it. Critters have their way of knowing when a storm is coming. Heifers came barreling down the hill to the stock tank for a quick drink of water before disappearing back into the trees, not moseying in and dilly-dallying as is their habit on a nice day. Horses were pretty talkative, and everything was on edge.

The snow held off long enough I started wondering if they’d missed the forecast altogether, but around 1pm the flurries started. Visibility has gradually worsened as the snowfall has gotten more persistent, and we’re probably at about a quarter mile visibility right now. The snow is starting to accumulate and a calm has descended. Cows have tucked themselves up in the trees with their calves, chickens are tucked in their coop, and all the other little animals are settling in to ride out the storm.

And it is a wonderfully wet snow! People are of course complaining about the snow, but this is South Dakota after all and we are in the middle of a drought. Spring snowstorms can be devastating, but so can the absence of spring snow. God knows our needs and we are trusting in His provision, praying for safety, and thankful for the much-needed moisture.

Chicks down in the barn are toasty warm, the cats have plenty of food and places to shelter, and the chickens have been spoiled with fresh bedding in the nesting boxes and their food hopper is moved back inside to make things a little easier. We have batteries in our flashlights, oil in our lantern, candles, water to drink, fuel for the generator and tractor, and chains on the tires. And a crockpot of chili. We’re sitting pretty good and getting all tucked in.

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