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We Are Flying Solo

March 6, 2014

It Was A Dark & Windy Night In North Dakota

At least, that’s what it felt like Monday night as an assault of horizontally-driven snowflakes pelted my face and hands while I daisy-chained extension cords.

It was my first official work-then-home-to-farm day.  As of last Saturday, I am officially residing in the new house, although “moved” would be a strong word.  I have my bed, washer, dryer, and pets along with clean underwear and work clothes.  So we’ll stick with “residing.”

Gee, thanks, mom
My boss and I had spent the day in a project meeting about four counties south.  Having had no internet access, I knew the weather was supposed to be around 50 during the day with some rain and then plummet to 14 that night.  So I’d left the horses nekkid and figured I’d throw their blankets on when I fed that evening.


My first clue came as we drove south and all the DOT signs along I-85 flashed “WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM NOON UNTIL MIDNIGHT.”  Well, both the boys had their shelter from precipitation and it had been 70 all weekend, so things could only change so quickly.  Right?

Wolverine work truck
We did manage to wrap up the meeting around 2:30 pm so we could hightail it 2.5 hours home.  Our dubious entertainment was watching both whip antennas on Boss' work truck turn into icicles as the wipers’ Effective Clearing Radius shrank to a tiny rainbow of windshield.  The incredulous hilarity continued when we picked up my work truck in Durham and both of us chipped through solid ice with the corners of our scrapers so I could have a teeny patch of windshield to look through.  I was certain I’d break a window; even back home in the Ohio River valley, it was rare for the freeze to occur that hard, that fast.

By the time I arrived home, the roads had turned into skating rinks of flashing lights and crumpled metal.  So quick and unexpected had the severity of the storm been (it was LITERALLY 75 and sunny the day before), many people didn’t even have coats in their cars.

I’m certainly no stranger to winter horse care and have everything I need to do it comfortably, including my beloved heated watertub.  But none of it was set up, naturally, given that Sunday was summer.  Frantically, as the weak daylight disappeared, I threw out serendipitously pre-stacked hay as I curried icicles off the horses and dragged crunchy, frozen blankets over them, forcing frozen straps through buckles with fat glove fingers.

Plz no moar winterz
We finally got squared away though, and I spent the entire time mentally screaming gratitude for the wonderful Adult Rider friend who’d given us the cozy feed shed and brought her family over to help set it up, and to ACB for his tremendous assistance stacking hay, setting posts, moving pallets, and the gift of the beautifully blinding magnetic LED that lit up the whole shed and the curtain of lost blizzard that pushed its way around all three of us.

Tripping over my own boots as I took them off in the mudroom, and staggering to the nearest folding chair (hey, it has beer-holders), I caught my breath and tried to figure out when we’d been sucked out of the Carolinas and into some Midwestern version of hell. 

All I could hear was a sardonic voice in my head cackling, “Welcome home!”


  1. "and dragged crunchy, frozen blankets over them, forcing frozen straps through buckles with fat glove fingers."

    ^Yup. (gave up complaining about the weather for Lent)

    Glad to hear you're residing at home anyways. It's all downhill from here! (theoretically ;D)

  2. Wow, glad you survived the snowpocalypse! Crazy, crazy weather.

  3. Yeah, people used to die in those storms, back before modern transportation and weather forecasting. Our rule of thumb is gloves, hats and coats in the car from October to May. Plus an emergency kit with a candle, water, beef jerky, nuts, granola bars, etc. The biggest swing I have ever seen was upper 70's to below zero in 24 hours. A fifty degree drop in six hours is not unheard of.

    Glad you are home safe and the horses are taken care of. Welcome to the West.

  4. Unfortunately for me, this makes me want to say "welcome to Colorado!" Except I realize you don't live here. But this is almost normal for us. Honestly, I'm surprised we don't have more horsey mishaps associated with extreme weather swings. Regardless, just be thankful you got to go do blankets and cold weather things AT HOME and not a half hour away at the barn where your boys live. So boo winter, and yay home! Congrats, btw!

  5. This winter has been crazy for all I think. Glad you were able to get the boys squared away eventually!

  6. Whew, yes, I am VERY grateful I was at home indeed!! And now that it's all set up, the current raining ice is a non issue.

    Karen, I agree -- people laugh at me for my truck wardrobe, which includes a jacket, hat and snow gloves year round, but you never really know!!

    Back to 70 on Saturday, here's hoping it stays somewhere around, oh, say, ABOVE 30!

  7. Welcome to your home... I am so glad you are there....

  8. Thanks! And boy, that $70 heated tub sure doesn't seem overpriced now!!!!!