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  • Writer's pictureJulie Nelson

TX SNOVID 2021, a personal glimpse

Wow, what a ride! A frozen ride! Thought I would give you a little personal glimpse of what things looked like at our little 3 acre farm just outside of Austin last week during SNOVID 2021.

First of all, there are a lot of Texans who had it much worse. There were folks that went many days without power and/or water. Of greatest concern were people with health issues, people with flooded homes (some from the ground up, some from the attic down), our Austin homeless population, nursing homes & animal shelters without power or water, cancelled COVID vaccinations ... the list goes on and on. And still goes on and on as everyone needs a plumber and grocery store shelves are still barren.

Here at Katy Bird Farm, we had a couple minor power outages - that was easy until our well froze. We were able to un-freeze the well (our only source of water) - that took many many buckets of boiling water & hot blankets rushed from the kitchen (we have a gas stove - life saver) 40 yards to the well house. Then we had the power out for about 36 hours, that's when things got serious. We had to shut all the water valves down, quickly "winterize" the pool (with phone help from our pool builder friend, John), wrap and cover any and all exposed equipment with blankets, comforters, towels, sleeping bags, anything we could get our hands on. We were blessed to have my sister & BIL with us for 3 days ... they had to leave their rental in Port Aransas (no power, the house was 38 degrees) and barely made it here (there were no hotels available near them) to weather the storm ... the extra hands & ironically quality family time helped smooth things over.

Oh, and the animals! As you can see from the photos, we have a bit of a menagerie over here. The dogs were fine & love to snuggle in extra blankets. Kitty Jet was a bit PO'd that he couldn't go out. The 3 ducks were quite happy in the cold, no problem with their down jackets. The chickens ... well, we moved them into the house (dog crates in the laundry room and a take-over of our designer shower) ... besides a mess, this was actually a huge stress reducer. We had quite a setup for the 2 miniature donkeys who are 24 years old and not great with the cold. We had to run an extension cord from our neighbor's workshop (afraid of blowing our circuit) to assist with 3 heat lamps in their stall ... we had to switch this setup to a gas generator (we actually own one from an RV we no longer own) and that entailed getting up at 3am to refill with gas. Oh, and bringing buckets of warm water numerous times each day for many days. We used the pool for the majority of this water source.

Oh, and the fallen cedar ... everywhere! Looked like a bomb went off around our property. We had one broken pipe near the pool equipment and this resulted in a hurried repair to temporarily cap the line. We actually had the part, one neighbor had the PVC glue, one neighbor was offering back-up parts. As crisis-competent as you may think you are, neighbors helping neighbors & family helping family makes all of this work and delivers a heaping dose of appreciation for good people.

We're still a bit tired. All the fallen cedar has been chain-sawed, half of it hauled off with so far 3 trips to the compost farm. We still need the pool company out to assess and the rainwater collection guy to repair a couple broken PVC parts. We are going to participate in a Master Gardener year-long study to document plant & tree damage & recovery ... that's pretty cool. I'll write a separate blog post on how Realtors weathered the storm and some things we have learned and are dealing with there.

Enjoy the photos below ... it was quite beautiful. And now we're back to 74 and sunny.

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