6 Days in the 9th Circle

Remember how it already snowed 6 inches in my corner of central Texas back in January? Texas got wrung through the iciest wringer in the state’s recent history (meaning since weather has been recorded here back in the late 19th century) starting with Valentine’s Day. And then President’s Day. And this extended through an entire week — 6 days below freezing, 6 days of ice and snow, and wouldn’t you know it, our federal regulation-free, independent little power grid almost collapsed catastrophically! 

Along with many, many trees. So yes, as I am sure you have now read in the news, Texas went through days of “rolling blackouts” which were just straight up blackouts for some, no rolling about it. I stayed up all night without power the night it was 5 degrees at the lowest, snuggling Conrad under 5 blankets and drinking hot beverages periodically because the gas stove could at least be lit with a match to heat water. I have rediscovered the deliciousness that is percolator coffee. I was lucky, as my house stayed just above 50 degrees and we got power back before many people. And I never had a water issue, but I am sure you have also seen the news — Texas is in a water crisis as a result of the “rolling” blackouts. Water treatment facilities lost power and left 14 million Texans without potable drinking water. FOR DAYS. Some had no water at all. 

No, snow is not fucking pretty. No, we do not have snow plows in central Texas (Dallas has a few). No, we do not have snow tires, crampons, pipes buried eight feet deep, or taboggans. (We can’t bury pipes 8 feet deep in central Texas anyway because just below a thin layer of crappy topsoil you get into our limestone karst systems — our ground is a mix of solid sedimentary, fossil-flecked rock and hollow caves that live and grow and store water for some of us.) Why I bought snow boots years ago I have no idea, but it made me the designated backyard guardian so I cleared small areas for Conrad to relieve himself and for birds to eat birdseed. I regularly tromped through icy, crunchy, deep (for Texas) snow and I NEVER want to do it again. And compared to many, I had it easy.

People died here because of this weather. It started with a heinously nightmarish pile up in Fort Worth caused by black ice and ended with children and the elderly freezing to death in their homes, or dying due to lack of access to medically necessary life-saving treatments like insulin and dialysis. And but for Texas’ obstinate independence from federal regulation of electric utilities, these deaths were preventable. 

Like I said, I am one of the lucky ones. Conrad is totally ok. Eli is totally ok and was in the best care for the worst of the weather and it’s already spring-like here again, the kind of Texas winter Texans know and love. I may have gone 6 days without seeing my horse because of hazardous road conditions (and a car that did not want to start so that was a’ whole n’other thing), but I knew he was safe where he was.

Eli’s opinion of snow seemed pretty low, after he licked some while grazing – it produced the flehmen response so I’d say he is still indeed a summer horse. He finds the white stuff bewildering and of course there was too much ice along with the snow for safe turnout. The turnouts dried out enough fairly quickly and he’s had sunny outside time again. I am keeping tabs on him closely though, since stuck-in-a-stall time for 6 days other than hand-walking is not his favorite and I hope he is not getting ulcery again from it. 

So …. yeah. 6 days of the 9th circle here in Texas. I much prefer it in the 1st circle … or even the 6th is probably ok for me personally. Anything but entombment in this much ice and snow ever again. 

14 thoughts on “6 Days in the 9th Circle

  1. I kept thinking of all my “friends” (via blog only) in Texas last week. I’m so glad you and Conrad and Eli all made it through ok. And that it’s sunny and warm again.

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  2. ugh as i said we didnt have it as bad in TN but still was way too much snow, ice and cold for TN (especially in Memphis!). It was a mess. We also never lost water and we were so lucky with power but it was exhausting nevertheless. I cant even imagine not having heat on those cold nights. It was cold enough for us and on the coldest days and nights our heat bill was over 40 bucks a day and closer to 50 which is CRAZY. UGH. It is 70 here today and LOVELy we are going to get rain this weekend for days but as long as it stays in the 50s and 40s I will not complain. Conrad is a good hot water heater to snuggle with tho 🙂

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  3. I despise snow and ice, but at least we’re able to be prepared for it up here. So sorry you all had to go through all of that! I’m glad things are warming up down there and that you’re all safe!

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  4. I can understand what a disaster this was. In Ontario we have massive snow plows, snow blowers and thermal underwear and down coats etc etc. We also have wood burning stoves in case the power goes out. My horse has a arctic turnout blanket with a neck and belly band. He has a 400 weight stable blanket with a belly band. We are used to it and life goes on. I hope Texas will recover from this weather catastrophe and perhaps something can be done to improve the grid in case it happens again. Good to know Conrad and Eli are fine.

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  5. Definitely sounds like an awful experience for you and so many others. I keep hearing about the continuing suffering as folks attempt to recover from the effects of the cold snap and power/water outages. Glad to see you, Conrad and Eli came out the other side and are able to enjoy the increasing temperatures finally.

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