Bread, Kitty Litter, Toilet Paper, and Milk. All We Need to Survive.

snow dogs

Photo by Jim Thomason

Walk to the bread isle of just about any grocery store in the Tulsa area tonight and you’ll find nothing. Absolutely nothing. Well, I did find hotdog buns, but that was it.

Bread delivery truck strike? Nope. Giant sandwich festival? Nope. Snow in the forecast? BINGO.

Apparently we are facing snowmageddon and that requires everyone to stock up on bread. Why? Because if the earth freezes over and we all end up stranded in our homes—orphans of the storm—at least we can enjoy toast. This is my best guess. Yes, let there be toast!

The other apparently all-important items on the we-have-no-idea-how-to-handle-snow must-have list are kitty litter, milk, and toilet paper. The litter is to be kept in the car in case you get stuck and need to create traction (For the record, I have never seen this actually work. The litter tends to just mix with the snow to create sharp little projectiles that shoot out from spinning tires to torture the poor soul trying to push).

The milk is because, because…you should just always have milk on hand. Don’t question it. The toilet paper, well, you know. You do NOT want to be stuck at home in a storm, having consumed massive amounts of toast washed down with milk, and not have a good supply of TP. ‘Nuf said.

So let’s just admit it, Okies do not handle the threat of winter weather with anything that remotely resembles grace or good sense. All week long the weather forecasters have been predicting a “major winter weather event.” It was to kick off with a coating of sleet to give the roads a nice slippery base that would then be covered by snow. Lots of snow. (if you look up “lots of snow” in the Okie dictionary it will be described as anything ranging from 1/8” to four feet…it’s all the same to us.)

The reaction to the threat of snow around here is completely ironic because toss a good tornado warning at native Okies and we all run outside to watch for the damn thing.  But God forbid you threaten us with some fluffy frozen water vapor. It becomes the end of the world as we know it.

This storm was supposed to start by 8 a.m. this morning. Then they pushed it back to 10:00. Then 11:00.

At exactly 11:00 a.m., the sleet did start to fall (meteorologists all across the area immediately started high-fiving and slapping each other on the ass). It continued off and on all afternoon alternating with a dusting of snow. Aaaaaand then the real fun began because if there is one thing that rivals our tendency to overreact to the potential of snow, it is our general inability to drive on the stuff once it arrives. Fasten your seatbelts, start your engines, and let the demolition derby begin!

I swear I heard reports of no fewer than four fender benders within an hour of the start of the “winter mix precipitation.” I, however, was not afraid because I knew “the Duke” would see me through the storm. Yes, I do name everything. The Duke is my Jeep and this is our first snowfall together. I am happy to report that we made the whole drive home in perfect form. Not one slip or slide. Way to use those four wheels Dukie!

So when most people arrive home after a long day at work on a miserably cold day, they run into their cozy homes, immediately change into flannel jammies, heat up some comfort food (I recommend mac and cheese), and curl up under their favorite blankie by the fire, right? Well, that scenario is probably accurate for many people, but not for me.

No, when I got home today, I got to change into my Carhartts (if you live on a farm where the weather gets cold, you surely know what these are…if you don’t, they are super warm, very ugly coveralls and jackets) and headed out to the barn to help Jim get the animals situated before the full force of snowmageddon arrived.

Now, I categorize farms into three types:

  1. A working farm. (Provides for the greater good/nourishment of America)
  2. A hobby farm. (Provides for the family and/or provides specific products for a cross-section of America)
  3. An E-I-E-I-O farm. (Provides no real value other than joy and an occasional backache to the resident humans)

Our farm is the latter, but proper preparation for freezing weather is equally important. All of the animals have to be fed. Round bales of hay have to be moved into the pastures. These are big suckers. Moving them involves the tractor with a huge hay spike attached. Potentially a lethal weapon in my hands, Jim handles the drive-the-tractor responsibilities while I man the gate. With him driving, I feel very sure I will not be impaled. I do not inspire the same confidence in him.

Water troughs have to be cleared of ice. Our two hogs have to have lots of fresh straw so they can burrow.  Our two elderly horses need their blankets—first time for blankets this year and the gals weren’t quite down with it, but we worked it out. There was a little cussing involved.

Last, but oh-so-certainly not least, we put out some extra food for our recently released to the wild young squirrel. He’s in for a big surprise tomorrow…do squirrels get excited about playing in snow for the first time like puppies do? We shall see.

Ok, barn chores completed, we finally did get to come inside to get into those warm jammies and decide on a comfort food for dinner. We actually went with soup…BUT there was chocolate cheesecake for dessert. Good call, Jim. Good call.

And now we hunker down (That’s Okie for stay inside) to await the big storm that could deliver a few inches of snow overnight. Oh sure, you people who live in the great north and other places that experience snow on a regular basis can snicker all you want, but that amount of snow will pretty much bring northeastern Oklahoma to its knees. Seriously. The schools have even already waved the white flag and cancelled classes for tomorrow and there is nary a flake on the ground.

I do not know what my day will hold tomorrow. If the snow does fall as predicted, my business partner and I will have to decide if we will delay the opening time for our dog care facility or if we will just suck it up and mush on in. Of course that trek will happen after Jim and I check in on the oink-oink here, and the neigh-neigh there, here a baa, there a bray, everywhere a bark-bark menagerie that defines Tails You Win Farm.

As for now? I’m tending the fire as humans and dogs wind down for the evening—except for Edie the cattle dog, I swear that dog never sleeps—to  await the onslaught of Old Man Winter. According to Jim, who is napping on the couch (yes, he is under there somewhere), it is apparently a four dog night. Thankfully we have plenty of dogs to go around so we should both be toasty warm.

Yes, we are ready. We not only have bread, we also have bagels and English muffins. Bring it on, Mother Nature. Bring it on.

Author’s note: Technically, I am forbidden to post photos on the internet of Jim sleeping. If I breach this agreement, he will retaliate by posting sleeping photos of ME and I am NOT one of those pretty sleepers. My face gets all slack and my mouth hangs open. I can’t help it if my nose doesn’t work. A gal has to breathe. However, since you can’t actually see Jim sleeping in this photo, I think I’m safe. I think. I hope.

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