For the first time in what seems like forever, The Engineer and I are home for the weekend. There is a ton of stuff I was looking forward to doing this weekend, and I had big plans. It’s Spring turkey season, so I really wanted to get some friend time in. I have some furniture that needs to be refinished, and the loft needs to be organized into The Engineer’s man cave. Currently up there its just a hot mess of things that need to be put away or are waiting to be unpacked after the move.
But then the blizzard came, and instead of working on furniture in the garage, we took a nap and watched Netflix. I did briefly perk up to notice our development being plowed. It seemed like a slightly futile effort as it was still snowing and blowing quite a bit yesterday afternoon. Everything was supposed to end last night around 10, but I woke up to more snow and wind this morning. Thankfully, everything has stopped now and it has gotten a bit warmer…..for now anyway.
If staying at home during a blizzard isn’t your thing, you can do like The Engineer and I did last night and attend the annual Ducks Unlimited Banquet with some friends. All day long I thought for sure the event would be cancelled, everything else in the state and surrounding states was closed, cancelled, or postponed….but I guess duck people are a different breed. I should have known when they changed the name of the Facebook event notification to “Snow Party” that there weren’t going to let Mother Nature push them around. So, against the advice of the city, state, and everything our parents told us growing up about being out in winter storms, we threw the big scoop shovel in the back of the truck and headed out. Now it’s only 10ish miles between our house and where the event was being held, but those weren’t 10 in town miles…..they were 10 out of town highway miles on roads that they county gave up plowing 8 hours beforehand.
The roads weren’t as bad as we had anticipated them being, and all things considered the visibility was actually very good. We all made it to and from the event without incident. The real tragedy of the night was that The Engineer and I came home without any new treasures. No guns, no commemorative prints or decoys….not even at hat! I did snag some turkey calls, but that doesn’t technically count as they weren’t my raffle win. Our friends won them and re-gifted them to me as they don’t go out turkey hunting. I had never been to the banquet, and I have to say it was way more involved than I imagined. Once you’re there and see all the food, raffle prizes, people, and planning involved in the event, it makes sense why they decided to press on despite the weather. It is all for the ducks after all!
Worse than the thought of us making a quick drive through the blizzard is the thought of the blizzards effects on livestock and wildlife. Late Spring or early Fall blizzards are typically more deadly than just your ordinary Winter blizzard. They usually begin with freezing rain and sleet and then progress into heavy blowing snow that sticks and builds up thanks to the base layer of moisture. A few years ago, cattle herds in the Western part of the state were decimated by an early Winter storm. This time of year, a storm of this quality and magnitude can be even worse. Many farmers and ranchers are already done calving for the year, and the reality is that calves just aren’t designed to withstand this kind of weather. If an adult herd can’t make it through a storm, the little babes don’t stand a very good chance.
This is the reality that we live with in the Midwest. Mother Nature isn’t kind and doesn’t care if you think you’ve planned out calving or planting perfectly. Around here she can change on a dime, and it can leave farmers and ranchers scrambling to provide safety and shelter for their herds and hoping that their crops aren’t destroyed. Beyond domestic livestock, birds who migrated back North are sometimes trapped in weather they try and avoid. Any nests that have already been laid probably didn’t survive the cold and wet the last few nights have brought to the area. The reality is that not every Spring baby will survive into Summer. The farmer who took the picture above reported to the local news that though they saved the calf in the picture, they did loose one last night. I’m sure that calf wasn’t the only babe lost to the storm, but hopefully the numbers statewide aren’t anywhere near the 100,000 that was the estimated loss during the 2013 storm.
It was an odd irony for me last night at the Ducks Unlimted banquet. I couldn’t help thinking and worrying about a little duck couple that have made their home on my development’s pond this Spring. The Engineer assured me that since they are always out wandering the development as a couple that they probably haven’t laid any eggs yet, so here’s to hoping that’s the case. Hopefully they found a warm, dryish spot in the reeds out of the wind to weather the storm.