If Snow is Poor Man's Fertilizer Than ...

pfarms pfarms at alltel.net
Thu Dec 28 07:54:58 EST 2000

If snow is Poor Man's fertilizer than having two ice storms in three weeks
will give us 10 ft high corn.

In Arkansas, we have been hit by our 2nd ice storm in three weeks.  The
first one, the week before Christmas look out about the power for about
215,000 homes due to freezing rain which changed to ice and brought down
power lines and/or tree limbs that took out the power lines.  We were
fortunate in the rural area where we live 40 miles north of Little Rock to
have only blinking lights.  My brother in Little Rock was out for 24 hours
and then they came up only to have a line snap that served his house and the
one next door and be out for another two days. He has gas heat and city
water and these weren't an issue.  He actually has a battery powered TV and
watched TV by candlelight (sort of how Abe Lincoln studied when he was a

We lost our well in an unrelated (we think) incident when a pressure tank
failure led to a pump failure.  For 6 days we hauled water (hauled water is
the correct term) in 5 gallon buckets for the animals and to flush toilets
and 1 gallon jugs that we keep filled due to frequent power losses for small
periods.  At least we had power and thus our electric heat was working.  The
cold weather required that we haul water to the chickens, cows, sheep,
horse, and burro.  We got our well back on at 6:00 pm on Saturday (12/23).
Because of the holiday schedule, we went to the local Lowe's and got the
pressure tank while the plumber went after pump and motor parts.

While at Lowe's, we saw a non-vented kerosene heater and since we had
another ice storm in the forecast, we bought it along with a 5-gallon can of
kerosene.  We also brought "feed bread" and bags of feed.  Talk about a
loaded SUV.

Tuesday we woke to freezing rain and a lot of ice.   Initial reports
indicated wide-spread power losses and as the day went on, the area hit
included Little Rock and Pulaski County, the area in the state with the
highest population.  As the freezing rain continued, more and more area were
hit and finally our power went out at 9:00 pm on Tuesday.  Wednesday
morning, we did the minor assembly of the heater and got it working.  It
worked fine.  The telephones also went out and in our town, the local water
systm which uses a number of wells and a gravity feed system, went out early
Wednesday morning.  There has been a lot of discussion about increasing
tankage in the water system but perhaps some generators would be in order.

Since we have our own well and use electric for heat, a power failure
destroys all of our utilities. With the loss of the total water system, we
couldn't get to the location at town hall where we filled our water
containers earlier. We set them up to fill off the water dripping from the
roof and that worked.

If you have animals and haven't done so, you might want to check with a
local bread company's outlet shop for what we call  "feed bread".  We bought
four trays at 50 cents each.  The cows and chickens love it as a supplement
to feed.

A call to the power company indicated that they hoped to have our area up by
January 2nd. The power came back up at 6:00 pm Wednesday evening and we have
refilled all of the water  jugs just in case.  Clothes and dishes have been

There are about 300,000 out of  power and a lot of those don't have water
either.  They are now using the date of January 6th to have everyone back

For those of you who live up north (we spent 13 years in New England), ice
is a normal winter issue in the lower Midest (AR, MO, and surrounding
states).  The normal high temperature this time of the year is 45 degrees
with a low near freezing.  The homes are not highly insulated like those "up
Narth".  In a rural state, animal care becomes a priority (the animals get
the water before we do, we can always move away and you can't put a 1200 lb
cow in the car and even if you could, where would you go).

Purrfleece Farms
Mount Vernon AR
pfarms at alltel.net

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