Exfoliating with ice

When working outside in an ice storm you can feel the ice pitting itself against your skin. Tiny little sharp pellets. No blood is drawn of course.  Though no self respecting animal would be caught out in it, just the mad dogs and New Zealand woman.


I walk with a gloved hand up as though to shield myself from the sun but it is the blowing ice in my face I am trying to avoid (we have not seen sun in days) so I hunch into my farmers jacket shoulders,  slightly turned shoulder to  the wind  – to present less of a target.

ice in tree

The ice storm raged for hours. The big trees (the poor old Dutch Elms that are rotting from the inside out due to their fatal fungal disease) lost many limbs. The ice gathered around the branches until they were so heavy that when a good gust of wind hit them they were sent  sheeting to the ground. They are sharp, like chandelier glass and carve their names into the big branches and bushes as they smash through the garden.  The noise as the branches fall is incredible like an avalanche of broken glass.  I ducked my head and ran when I heard that sound of breaking glass above me.  But the trees are between me and my barn so it is pretty hard to avoid these trees. One just has to hope for the best.

The high winds and rain and sleeting ice kept up the pressure for almost the whole day. I have no idea how many inches of icy rain we received but we are now way beyond soggy.  The fields are lakes. The power went out and because we had to keep the sump pump working in the basement, which was flooding, we had to drag the generator through the muck and out to the Rat House and plug it into the Three Phase power thingy out there. The power was not out for long, about eight hours but noise of that generator was pressure all by itself.

Luckily no cows are allowed on the pastures so all the electric fences are turned off. Doubly lucky as a tree came down at the West Barn ACROSS  TWO electric fences.  There are a few other trees down too in the area – sad but  firewood for next year.

winter garden

So yesterday the animals just slept in their warm corners. Oblivious.  (Though both Tahiti and Sheila are limping). We humans gave up the fight and retreated to the comfy chairs around the fire.


Last night was wild. We will look for any more damage when the sun comes up today.

I hear many of you had similar weather?

Let’s hope today is a lovely day.

Love celi


78 Comments on “Exfoliating with ice

  1. The BBC News is primarily about the weather in America. Makes a nice change from the usual mayhem. We, if you can believe it, saw wide swathes of blooming daffodils yesterday in town. Too early. Too early. What will remain to announce the arrival of spring? Stay warm, my friend … xx >

  2. Stay safe. I got up at 6 yesterday and headed to the St. lOuis airport to go back to Virginia. Came back to myMom’s about 12 hours later with a flight for Wednesday! Luckily, I was able to get another rental car and it was just rain and fog on the highway. I know that breaking glas sound as ice falls!

  3. Here in Texas we have had (west to east) snow, tornados, and flooding. Sheesh. Where I live we got off lucky (just very soggy) but so many others were not so lucky. Reading this post I am, once again, heartened by your fortitude. I hope today is mild and that you don’t discovery any additional damage!

  4. Was thinking of you when I watched the news last night – I could see you were getting hit hard. Lucky that my little piece of this land it is only rain. But rain we can do without now as everything is just mud. We did have a fantastic day on Sunday – got to 73! But that is worrying too in it;s on way, as yesterday my garden was full of a flock of Robins – never seen so many in one go. Poor things think it is spring! Going to get colder later this week which is fine if it would only stop raining.
    Take care my friend and I hope the clean up isn’t too bad.

  5. So sorry to hear about the ice in your area. That is always the worst. On the Maine coast we are getting snow right now, but it looks like it will change over to sleet or freezing rain at some point, just don’t know when. School vacation for me, so at least I am not expected to be anywhere, outside of chores. I have no way to really lock my goaties into their housing, but they usually have no desire to be out in it, wicked smart they are! Good luck! We also will be spending out time near the wood stove today.

  6. Our news reports are full of USA tornadoes and storms and the huge floods in the UK. I would be happy if we even had half the rain you guys have had! I think it is even raining more in Aus than here. Your photo’s today are beautiful, just such a pity the weather is so inclement to be out in. Hope the sun finds you today. Laura

  7. You captured the feel and seriousness of the ice storm. The power of nature. Hope things improve soon.

  8. I hope there’s not too much damage.. Stay safe! 🙂 I’m practically living in another part of the world where we have never experienced a winter as cold as 2-6 Degrees Celsius till last year.. This is the first time it’s so cold here and we are enjoying this weather, hoping that it even snows some day in the future! (Although scientifically and geographically it isn’t possible) 😀 😀

    • Ha! Dangerous territory you walk in when you say things like that, that it is not possible for the weather to do something, anything…… lol Tempting fate, you are. Nothing is impossible — highly unlikely, maybe… possibly… probably… but never impossible — LOL 🙂

  9. We had a lovely day today: it RAINED ALL DAY! We have news features showing farm children standing in the rain and screaming with delight – they had never seen rain before… Whole families: fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, babies and grandpas playing in the mud. It’s wonderful! And even better because the heat has reduced by nearly 10°C, so much easier to work and sleep.
    I hope you don’t find too much damage today, and that you’ve all survived warm and safe. If you lose power, you could always bring Sheila indoors to keep the place warm!

    • Never seen rain before? My goodness, that’s hard to understand. But, for sure, that would be very exciting… dancing in the rain, I’m sure. I know you’re in Australia, but what part? You see, *snehanvg’… anything is possible 🙂

      • Parts of central Queensland have been drought declared for SIX YEARS. There are plenty of farm children in the outback who have never seen water fall from the sky, who have never swum in the creek or danced in the rain. Water has been a precious, precious commodity, and not one that came for free from the sky. I’m in north Queensland, on the coast, so I’ve seen plenty of rain; it’s the inland areas that are so dry.

        • Wow… just amazing, especially to me where water is all around us, with the Great Lakes system and billions of smaller lakes all over the place. I guess I had momentarily forgotten the enormous desert in Australia… but even so, to think children of five or six years to never having experienced rain is very thought provoking. Thanks for the update.

    • Oh, Kate, this is such a touching story. Have my eyes full of tears… Thanks for sharing ! ❤

    • Wow! I echo the other replies — it’s astounding to think of school-age children who have never experienced rain before. I’m glad that it rained for you!

      Here in the UK, there has been too much rain and more storms are forecast.

  10. Good morning! Gee, you really were hit hard by this storm! Here, in Toronto Canada, it didn’t begin to even snow until supper time last evening. We have ended up with what appears to be two to three inches of the stuff. By late evening the temperature began to rise and the precipitation did turn to ice rain, which has added a crusty topping on the snow. According to the weatherman, we are meant to get milder temperatures later on today, up to about 4 c. (so I guess that’s around 40 f.) and hopefully most of this stuff will melt and flow away. Not too much wind right here in the city, although it was predicted to be bad. It seems we got off easy here; I believe the outlying areas were hit much harder. But it really has been our first blast of winter, so we have been very lucky weather-wise this year.
    It looks like you have a big clean-up to do there — hey, might be a fun diversion to have a bonfire with all the smaller stick-lets that have fallen from the trees, while doing the gathering up of them. Get the Cadet over and pull weiners and marshmallows out for a lunchtime treat!
    Most of all, keep warm and dry! ~ Mame 🙂

  11. Ice adds many levels of trouble. Much of Illinois was affected. We expected a lot in eastern IA, but were spared the ice. Instead, we got 3″ of snow and sleet pellets. They don’t stick to trees. It is a dense layer on the drive and walks.

    I hope the damages aren’t too bad.

  12. Stay safe, Celi. Ice storms are dangerous! We have no ice here. No snow, either. Rather than our typical 40s, we’re in the 70s. We wore shorts on Christmas. I am ready for the weather to make up its mind. My rhododendrons would like to bloom again soon if the temps aren’t going to drop.

  13. Yuck!!! Yes, the weather here is horrid. People keep joking that in 4 days we have seen all 4 seasons – Christmas Eve – summerish up to 88 and down right hot and muggy. Christmas – we had a cloudy fall like day with a high of 70. The day after – WHAM! Spring Storms with an F5 tornado that hit my cousins neighborhood (Rockwall Texas) His home is okay few shingles missing – pickup a mess – but 3 doors down – the houses are GONE….. He was so lucky, and then yesterday – we woke up to SNOW….

    Anyway – on another topic – Mom’s cancer treatments started yesterday. Radiation…. Chemo begins tomorrow IF they can get the port placed today.
    Warning Soap Box is coming out:
    HOSPITALS!!!!! Her port procedure had her reporting to the hospital at 6 am today – at 7 am – they told her the x-ray machine that is used to locate the port placement is broken with NO eta of when it will be fixed. Now you know it was broken yesterday, so why didn’t they call her and tell her this YESTERDAY??? She is 78 years old, lives an hour away from the hospital and has cancer….. She had to get up at 4 to make a 6 am appointment. GRRR!!!

    Now – I’ll give up my soap box to someone else…. Stay warm & Dry y’all!!!!!

  14. Two times in my life I experienced that phenomenon too. And out we went, the whole familiy to the river, to the fields and into the woods. So beautiful. Nature can be so great. They called it “glass rain”. And my father took the best photographs ever then – oh I miss him when I think of the good times we had together…
    Poor you. What a bad experience you have. Love to the mad dogs and the New Zealand woman. ❤ Take care…

  15. “Glass rain” – perfect way to describe that sound. We had a terrific ice storm in our area in 1998. Days of freezing rain. Then, quite suddenly, the sun came out. That’s when we wondered what that sound was … we went out to find ‘glass’ raining down all around us – in the yard – in the woods – along the road. I walked out to our road and looked toward the village. People were coming out of their homes to listen to it. It was a day I’ll never forget. Hope your area somehow gets some sun to help with the clean up!

  16. Experienced my first ice storm a few years ago. It was beautiful in the end, but also so very destructive. We lost many trees, and so many others were damaged. Just last summer did we finally get all of them pruned and looking somewhat normal. And the sounds as the weight grew heavier and the branches bent more and more until finally…SNAP and BANG as 1/2 an entire tree gave way.

  17. Mother Nature so doesn’t know what she is doing this year. It is so crazy everywhere in the world. Please be safe my sweet friends. XOXO – Bacon

  18. I’m happy to hear the tornado’s missed you once again. I know ice storms and they are treacherous too. Been in a few. We have another day of rain here then a week to 10 days of clear, cold weather. It will be nice to dry out a bit. Maybe that will head your way. I try to send the rain down to California as much as possible. They have been in dire need. The world has gone wonky and weather patterns are changing. Glad you had a generator and all your animals are safe. It seems always one extreme or the other.

    • Our winters are always pretty inpredictable – we are on the cusp of the real cold and a little further south and it is warm.. Weather patterns do change I think it is impossible to expect the same winter every year.. c

  19. Oof, dangerous weather! What a shame that glass-shattering sound means trouble, because your description makes it sound so pretty. On weather report the other day announced, “Weather Watch, twenty fifteen!” with dramatic music and all. You know what we were expecting? Scattered showers. Not real rain, and not everywhere, just a 5 minute light sprinkle in a few lucky places, with overnight lows close to freezing but not quite. Weather Watch indeed. If icicle-laden branches started to fall here people would think it was the Apocalypse.

  20. It was nasty here yesterday, cold, rain/freezing rain/sleet/snow all mixed up and blowing a lot. Smoky didn’t want to be out much, did his business and happily came in, I didn’t want to be out either. It turned to all rain later and what ice had accumulated on the tree branches melted, which was just as well. Driving was difficult. We’re left with crusty snow and cold temperatures (34 F/1 C) but things don’t seem to be melting. Hope you don’t have much damage to clean up. Stay warm.

  21. Glad you’re still standing and able to report on it all! Stay safe, m’dear. Flooding, ice, and tornadoes hereabouts in the last several days, but we Sparkses were utterly bypassed ourselves, despite the wreckage so close by us. Lucky, lucky us. May all of your farmy crew continue to escape injury or harm from the storms, and may the ice dissipate quickly and without further cruelty.

  22. Hello from Miss Ann. love your blog. My daughter lives in Chicago.She is a southern gal. But she has got use the snow,cold weather.But it took her awhile.my blog is bobbyanddasd2boysblog.wordpress.com you will see what it is like for the boys up north..Thank You

  23. I hope you are okay and that the weather calms down. There is very severe flooding in parts of the UK at the moment, and I saw news footage of tornadoes, flooding and snow in the States. Stay safe! There’s some crazy weather around — on my walk today, the birds were chirping and it felt like spring.

  24. It must be incredibly trying for the animals to be confined to barracks, and I shudder to think how miserable you must have been while trying to do your chores in those conditions. I should have made your hattie waterproof and re-inforced! It’s been a lovely day here, but we are settling in for a period of severe gales here and more monsoon rain on the poor beleaguered North of England.

    Stay warm and dry as possible, and above all, stay safe
    lots of love,
    ViV xox

  25. when we lived outside of Portland Oregon we had ice storms almost every year- and the sound of trees losing limbs and also falling over was like being in the middle of a war-like battle….very noisy.
    Now we live in the mountains of Upper Northern California and after 4 years of drought we are experiencing a real winter! Snow and more snow up high in the mountains…and some around our home. Fortunately no ice storms.
    Why are Tahiti and Sheila limping? Hope they are ok. Cheers and Happy New Year- stay warm and dry!

    • Hi Kathe, Sheila often limps in the winter – she has arthritis is the hip that was injured when she got in a nasty fight with a boar, but Tahiti has ripped one side of her hoof, into the quick and it is very hard to get any medications on it – she did this a few days ago so I am hoping it will heal in its own time.. c

  26. Oh, how I remember the ice storms in Ohio. I certainly feel for you and all the clean up you have. We have only had big winds this week, that broke a large branch out of a tree on our boundary, but which belongs to the neighbour. These Eucalyptus trees are ‘widow makers’ with the branches they drop! Best of luck to you.

  27. The photo of the ‘ice tree’ is excellent even though I think an ice storm sounds more dire than anything else. You are as prepared as it’s possible to be at least. For us, finally moved out to the hills of the coast the news reports of various extreme weather seem quite far away at the moment. It could just quite be perfect ‘Goldilock’s porridge’ weather. With enough rain here and there to top up the tanks. But I feel for those whose lives and homes are affected. It could happen to any of us.

  28. I am hundreds of kilometres south of Ella, but in Goldilock’s territory also: not a cloud in the sky, winds 5-10 kms and top temp expected a very enjoyable 29 C: my main ‘problem’ to find time to water my large gardens . . . That ‘ice tree’ looks so beautiful, but don’t know I’d like the rest . . . has anyone ever written a ‘Prairies Weather Book’ ? Tornadoes in December – I thought they were a May-June phenomenon . . . and here in my undulating countryside there are always plenty of trees and hilly landscapes to break the force of inclement weather . . . am truly thinking of you . . . Looking forwards to the biggest ever Sydney Harbour New Year fireworks . . . perfect weather forecast also: twice during the night – our 9pm and midnight . . . your daytime: please come and visit!!!

  29. We were predicted to get the freezing rain and 2-4″ of snow, instead we got about 9! Ohmygosh, it was like trying to move semi set concrete this morning. For about an hour last evening it sleeted and rained hard then turned back to snow. The snow had started late morning and with 40-50 mph winds it was right blizzardy out there. I too did the sideways, ouch ouch my face crab walk while doing chores in the afternoon.

  30. I’ve come to the point where I am never surprised by how many obstacles Mother Nature puts in your path….I think farming on the prairies is only suited to pioneer Kiwis and their ilk. Full of admiration. I only came near to experiencing an ice storm once, when we went to New York for New Year’s Eve some 30 years ago. Jenny had taken her fur coat to wear as she thought it would be the only opportunity to wear it. As it turned out the weather was so warm that we ate lunch in Union Square, sitting outside in T-shirts! As we flew out, the ice storm arrived and paralysed New York for a couple of days. Back to the fur coat…there’s an apocryphal story of a woman in a fur coat being accosted in the street by another woman who said “Do you know how many animals were killed to make that coat?” to which the lady replied ” Probably a lot less animals than I had to fuck to get it” …….best wishes for the New Year and hope the weather is a bit more clement:)

  31. Ice storms are very scary – especially at night when you can hear all the snapping. Despite the worry and clean up once you can get out, the ice sleeves on wire, branches, – ice coats on everything -those are a bit beautiful to examine.
    Hope the sun comes out. Sun helps everything.

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