Here in the Northeast, temperatures are expected to hit 40-degrees Fahrenheit today, but with drenching rains and high winds up to 40-miles-per-hour - all from the year's first nor'easter.
Yesterday, my outdoor grounds crew worked tirelessly to prepare the farm for the storm - they secured all the building doors and windows, checked that all the animals were safely tucked away in their shelters, and made sure all the equipment was ready for any cleanup process once the storm was over. It's very important to be well-prepared for any big storm system - additional tips include: having a good supply of food and water— at least for three-days, knowing where all the flashlights are kept and making sure they are equipped with fresh batteries, keeping a battery-powered or hand-crank radio on hand for weather reports, stocking the first aid kit, and checking that all vehicles are filled with gas - a full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
Here are photos from some of the tasks we completed. Enjoy, and stay safe.
The skies over my Bedford farm remained heavily overcast yesterday. The forecast called for strong winds and up to three-inches of rain.
By late afternoon, more clouds had moved in, and the majestic eastern white pines, Pinus strobus, had started to sway because of the gusty winds.
My donkeys, Billie, Rufus and Clyde, were bridled up and brought into the stable a little earlier than usual.
Here’s my stable manager, Sarah Levins, walking the three amigos back to their stall. It’s important to move pets and livestock to sheltered areas before a storm, and to ensure they have access to plenty of food and water.
Despite the pending storm, the donkeys are still very friendly and curious – I think Clyde is also very hopeful – he looks as if he’s waiting for an afternoon snack.
My darling Friesians were also kept indoors for the night. My horses love to stay outside in their paddock, but I feel better knowing they are safe in their stalls.
Here are Sarah and my Fell pony, Banchunch. Banchunch is getting his daily grooming before returning to his stall for the evening.
Charles checked all the doors on all the houses and outbuildings to make sure they were all closed and latched properly.
Charles also checked that all storm doors were closed, so strong winds wouldn’t blow through and damage any glass.
The peafowl and chickens are usually kept outside until it gets dark, but because of the pending storm, I wanted to be sure all the animals were safe and secure before night fell.
Here are my young peafowl walking toward the coop on their own.
These youngsters are about seven-months old now. They love to venture out of their coop. It has been so exciting to see them grow.
They generally walk into their coop by themselves once they see the warming light turned on. It did not take long at all to get them inside.
Charlie also makes sure the adult peafowl are secured in their coop – always be sure to count animals, so it’s clear they are all safe in their enclosure.
At the chicken yard, here are some hens and roosters walking toward their house – I have four coops in the chicken yard.
Here are my two Pomeranian geese. These geese are very protective of the flock and often scream at unfamiliar visitors.
They also have their own enclosure – a heated hutch on one end of the chicken yard.
Pete decided to add a little more to the pigeon feeder, so they had enough food for the night.
And then Pete secured all the doors to their coop.
Including the openings to the aviary, so the birds were warm and protected from the strong winds.
My Kohler stationary generators are very dependable, but we wanted to check the engine oil, and conduct test runs. The primary hazards to avoid when using alternate sources for electricity, heating or cooking are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock and fire. http://www.kohlerpower.com/
The inside panel on a stationary generator will flash alerts if any service is needed, so it’s important to regularly check for messages and adequate oil levels.
As in a car, there is a well-marked dip stick located just inside the top door.
To check the oil, pull the dip stick out and look for ample, clean fuel.
My outdoor grounds crew inspected all the equipment in case tree branches fell overnight. Our leaf blowers and chainsaws are ready.
We made sure our no-spill gas jugs were filled, so we had extra fuel on hand.
My catch basins are covered with bluestone caps. The grated drain openings are on the sides. If you have catch basins or storm drains on or near your home’s property, be sure they are also checked and cleaned before a storm. Mine were recently cleaned, so all of them are in good order.
The great Boxwood Allee is enshrouded in burlap and protected from damaging winds.
The boxwood near my Winter House are also well-covered.
Ryan checked all the greenhouses, and made sure everything was well fed and watered.
Everything is in place – we’ve battened down the hatches. We’re ready for the storm. What are your top storm preparations? Share them with me in the comments section below.