December 11, 2009

Blizzard and Snow Days

I should have posted something days ago but here in Iowa we have been in the midst of a blizzard and today is our 4th snow day from school.  Last weekend the weather forecasts were reporting that we would be getting a tremendous storm with possibilities of it being a blizzard.  It was snowing on Tuesday and it continued to get worse until finally the winds came and we had a full scale blizzard on Wednesday.

Tuesday morning I went to the grocery store early to pick up some milk, which was all that we needed. At that point we were having what I refer to as a regular storm.  We live only 6 blocks from the grocery store so if need be, we could walk.  By Tuesday evening and into Wednesday, businesses closed including banks.  Plows could not keep up with the snow so they were ordered off the road and our small city (approx. 10,000 in population) declared a snow emergency.  This means that all vehicles could not be parked on the streets so the snow plows could do their jobs.  When this occurs two things happen:  everyone stays home and hunkers down for the storm, and neighbors help their neighbors or even strangers. 

By Wednesday night the temperatures plummeted and wind chills were 25 degrees below zero.  The snow was tapering off but the wind was making the snow drift several feet and the temperatures were dangerously low, so again we hunkered down.  In the end it was the worse storm we had in 38 years. 

We had a lot of "neighboring" in our area.  A neighbor one block away came down our street with his snow blower and helped my husband get our side walk and driveway cleared out.  I had just baked some banana bread and I took a warm loaf out to him to thank him.  He continued down our street doing sidewalks and driveways before going back home.  I believe in paying a kindness forward.  We have some college students living next door to us.  They are nice young men.  The university (William Penn University) had been closed due to the storm and yesterday classes were delayed in the morning.  I baked cookies in the afternoon and my son delivered warm cookies to them.  They were thankful.  On Wednesday I saw two young men shoveling their walk and driveway for them.  They were friends of these college guys and wanted to help them out.

Mail carriers and newspaper carriers couldn't get out until yesterday.  When they deliver to the elderly they take the time to make sure they are okay.  It is what you do in a small town.

For us, the stockpiled pantry was in the words of Martha Stewart "a good thing".  I had plenty of food with the exception of milk.  I did have evaporated milk on hand that I could have reconstituted if the need arose.  I will buy some powdered milk the next time I go to the store for such an emergency and to also use in homemade bread and cracker dough.

We did run out of dog biscuits, which is a necessity in our household.  I made some dog biscuits Tuesday afternoon and now I think I will continue to bake them on my own as the dog loved them, they are healthier for her and cheaper on our budget.  Basically the recipe is a wheat cracker with beef bouillon and extra vegetable oil.  I am now saving my leftover beef fat to use in place of the oil the next time.

So here we are survivors of the biggest storm in 38 years feeling blessed that our power didn't go out, that we have heat in this somewhat drafty old house, that even with snow days our son was called into work and able to earn some money, that we had plenty of food on hand, had plenty of blankets, clothing, oil lanterns and candles in case of a power outage.

I will be going to the grocery store today.  There are two things on sale that have been on my list to stock up on:  ground pork ($1.39 lb.) and chicken hindquarters (39 cents a lb.).  I use ground pork to replace hamburger in many recipes, for pork burgers and also in my own homemade ham loaf mixture.  It is an Iowa thing.  The best part of grocery shopping in this weather is that when you need to go to a few stores, you don't have to make a stop at home to drop off the frozen or refrigerated items.

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