The Aftermath

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, and after the blizzard that hit us, we have so much to be thankful for! Parts of the province are described as looking like they were hit by a tornado, and I just learned that my sister was without power for 2 days. Thankfully, they have a wood stove and fireplace for cooking and heat, as well as a generator.

When I drove my daughter to work on the Thursday, things were still looking good. By the time we reached town, it was starting to snow, but it was on the way home that I drove into the beginnings of the storm, locally.

When it was safe to do so, I pulled over to get a picture.

Visibility was at about 150 meters or so by this time.

When I got home, I found my brother’s dog had come to visit. A few hours later, we would have had difficulty seeing him against the snow!

It was interesting to check the trail cam files later on. First, seeing how green and calm everything was when we left, then seeing me come home in the blowing snow and wind!

It was actually pretty warm out; above freezing, without the wind chill. Which meant the snow was very wet and heavy.

The tree outside our kitchen window had branches drooping right at the door. One of those branches ended up breaking.

We went around to try and knock snow off some of the trees around the yard. Especially the lilacs.

I was pleased to see how well the shelter over the old dog houses held up. An extra place for critters to hide out and keep at least a little bit warmer.

The path along the south fence was completely overhung with branches, and I spent some time shaking the snow off on my way to the trail cam.

I am so glad I mowed in there as much as I did. It actually made it easier to reach some of the trees.

By the next morning, the trees were hanging down again, just as heavily. I have no doubt that, if we had not shaken the snow off as many trees as we did, we could have had much more tree damage.

The inside cats were very fascinated by the snow and smells as the door as we were going in and out!

This is what greeted us the next morning.

A broken branch was dangling right outside the door, partially on the steps, from the tree outside the kitchen window. An even larger branch was hanging low over the walkway. I dug my way to the sun room so I could put kibble out for the cats. We are not closing the cats in for the night anymore, but leaving the inner and outer doors open just a little bit. This way, Junk Pile kitten and Pump Shack kitten can come in for food, water and shelter, as well as the moms and any other cats that happen to be around.

Once the cats were fed, I grabbed the extended pruning saw to take the broken branch the rest of the way down. There was nothing but a strip of bark holding it up. Once that was cleared, I could shovel my way to the bird feeder, which had been knocked down in the storm. The hanging feeder broke apart, so I didn’t bother trying to hang that back up again. The platform fell apart some more, but it will do for a while longer. I look forward to replacing that.

After putting bird feed out, I also made sure to have warm water in both the cat bowls, and the bird bath.

My daughter had a shift that day.

She didn’t make it in.

I did a quick survey around the house for other damage.

There were more branches down, though none as big as the one that fell in front of the door. The lilacs were hit pretty hard. They all had so many leaves still on them, which meant they got more of that heavy, wet snow stuck on them and dragging them down.

Later, my daughters and I went out to do more shoveling, and I got to check out more of the yard.

I was not surprised to see this chokecherry branch had broken. I noticed it starting to crack from the weight of its berries, earlier in the year. I should have tied it off or something to support it. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

This is actually the top of one of the smaller spruce trees by the old garden. It was one of the trees I was able to leave because it looked stronger and healthier. Even without its top, it should be fine.

I was amazed to see this little spruce tree bent over so far, and not breaking! After shaking the weight of the snow off, it was well on its way to straightening up, and I’m thinking it will be fine, too.

The big willow took some damage. Willows always lose lots of their little branches in high winds, so I was expecting to see quite a bit under there, but that big branch did not fare as well. Once things clear up, we’ll have to cut the rest of it away, to prevent more damage over the winter.

Seeing the little spruce tree bent over like that was surprise enough, but to see the much bigger maple by the old log building bent over like that was even more of a surprise!

The living fence my mother had planted was all bent over, too. The tops of the hawthorn and caragana were stuck, buried under the snow. Each one needed to be freed before I could shake off the snow and they could straighten themselves.

The big caragana that I had salvaged when I cleared this area last summer lots a large piece to the weight of the snow.

Some of the lilacs in the same area also got some damage.

This is a double lilac my mother had planted in the old kitchen garden. Quite a large section of it broke off.

Lilac and caragana, thankfully, recover very well. Once we clear away the damaged bits, they should be fine.

As for the elm outside our kitchen window, I kept going back to it. The large branch overhanging the walkway did not lift up much after the snow was knocked off, and we continue to have to walk through parts of it as we use the walkway.

I finally spotted where it broke.

There is now a huge crack in it.

Now that I know where it is, I can see it on both sides.

Once things clear up, we’ll have to take the whole branch down, piece by piece.

After going around the yard, shoveling and clearing our way to the garage, the girls and I took a break, then went back to shovel the driveway. We didn’t even have to be very thorough about it; we just needed to clear enough that it would melt. By the time we got back to it, all the paths we had shoveled earlier were completely clear.

We did break out the snow blowers. The little electric one could actually do a bit of clearing, though with the snow as wet and heavy as it was, it wasn’t used much. I did get the big one going and tested it out. The ejector quickly jammed with slush, of course, but I just wanted to make sure it was working okay. There was just no way we could use either of them do to the driveway. Even shoveling was difficult, as we were hitting large puddles of water under the snow. It’s amazing how heavy even a small snow-shovel full of snow can get when it is so wet!

It was about 3pm, by the time we shoveled our way to the road. The road had not been plowed yet, though our renter had gone by several times just while we were out there, urgently trying to clear as many hay bales away as possible. I don’t know if his corn is going to be salvageable after this. No one has been able to harvest their corn yet.

Checking the trail cam this morning, I saw the plow finally go by at 6:30pm.

Which is not too bad, all things considered.

My daughter had a short shift today, as always on Sundays. Normally, I would stay in town after dropping her off, but not today! Thankfully, the roads look clear and the weather seems to be holding. We’ll be picking her up from work and heading straight to my brother’s for Thanksgiving dinner, where we will get to meet the new baby in the family. ๐Ÿ™‚ They ended up driving right into the storm, and the highways were closed. They had to stop at a hotel for the night and it was well into yesterday afternoon before they could get back on the road to finish the trip. I’ve already heard that the hotel they stayed at let them stay for free, because of the storm! I look forward to hearing the full story when we see them!

As I look at the long term forecast, I see that a week from now, we’re supposed to get as high as +12C. !!! The rest of the forecast is more typical for an October in our area, so we will have a chance to clear up the damage and finish putting things away for the winter.

Interestingly, I saw someone post an old newspaper clipping on Facebook; there was a similar blizzard here on Thanksgiving weekend, 60 years ago. Pretty wild!

So that is how things are for us here. We have been very fortunate.

On that note, I would like to wish my dear readers a wonderful Thanksgiving Day weekend – even if you don’t celebrate it where you are quite yet! ๐Ÿ™‚

The Re-Farmer

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