Lessons Learned from the October Blizzard

Over the past few days it has been a little bit crazy around heah, but things are getting back to normal again – whatever normal is.

Recovering from the October 2011 Blizzard was actually a lot easier than we thought it would be, especially since the temperatures got into the high 40s and low 50’s. However, we did learn a few things that we either need to fix, replace or simply keep an eye on as a result of the blizzard.


One of our old dead white birches laid across the power line cutting off the electricity during the high winds on Sunday afternoon and was the reason we didn’t have power the second time. The power company chunked it and left laying there. So we went out and cut, split and left it to dry (some was pretty rotten though).

Also we removed a few limbs that were laying down too much in the driveway.  There are a few trees in the yard where the power line comes up that next spring when we have the tree company come that I want to get rid of. They are not problems now, but in 5-10 years they could be as they grow larger.

Snow Removal

I was glad that I cleaned the roofs off with the roof rake, because they are all clear now and surprisingly my shoulder managed to stay relatively pain free – just a little RICE treatment. All the exercising I have been doing over the past few months is paying off, last year clearing that much snow off the roofs, would have just about killed me.

Keeping your roof cleaned off is one of those things I have learned over the course of living a few too many years in snow country, to reduce the load on it as much as possible. I have seen too many flattened garages and a few homes that didn’t heed that rule. Could I have gone without cleaning the roofs – yep, but it is nice to have a dry run, to check all the things you need to do during the winter to see what works and what you need to fix or replace. Including how your body reacts to the increased workload. Tired but fine.

The roof rake is looking battered (lots of white lines on the plastic), so I might need a new one before the winter is over or more likely I will adapt the aluminum one that was given me to the handle of the other one – a good project to get done on rainy/snowy days over the next month or so. Better to have it ready and not need it, than need it and not be ready.

The snowblower worked like a champ, but like me, it is starting to get a little long in the tooth and battered looking, so we need to keep an eye on it.

Need to have

We did learn that we need to have more water on hand, for when the power goes out and that has been taken care of (we filled a lot of gallon jugs) and for longer term power outages we have the hand pump setup. The other thing we would like (not a need) is one more electric lantern. The single one was nice, but another one would be nicer 🙂


Also we have to replace the septic system pump, which means $$$. We limped along with it being on an extension cord for most of the summer (it trips the new GFI outlet every time you plug it in-so something is wrong internally). With winter coming having an extension cord running to the pump is not a great idea and I hate the idea of replacing the pump in December/January when it is colder than a witches’ tit (been there done that) and the repairman doesn’t like it either. So the storm was a good reminder to get this done. They are coming Friday to replace it.


Yesterday were very lucky to have three dump trucks of high quality loam delivered to the house. However this also means a lot of wheelbarrow and shovel time to get it where we need it for landscaping and filling in the lawn depressions that have formed over the years. Especially, those places beside the driveway that have become ditches. The ditch beside the last utility pole seems to be getting deeper and if we slide into it during a storm with one of vehicles, we will have a hard time getting out of, without a tow truck and might also damage the utility pole. So we will fill in those areas to make them less of a vehicle trap or small ponds when it rains.

Vehicle trap beside driveway
No I am not complaining a bit about getting the loam and the work that it will mean, but at the same time I am not really looking forward to this addition to my daily exercise program. However, if I only do an hour or two a day instead of trying to do it all at once (getting smarter in my old age), maybe I can get those six-pack abs – shoveling dirt is a great all-body workout – go out and try it, the next day you will know that you did something. I know that I feel having to move one of the piles back about 10 feet from where it got dumped yesterday.

The reality is that

we got power back pretty quickly, unlike many other people that were hit with the blizzard, which was a good thing for us.  It also provided an opportunity to check out our winter storm readiness and figure out what stuff we needed to work on, while the weather is not quite so miserable as it will be later.

That was a very good thing.

Living the simple life in the country does not mean there is nothing to do :-).