Trapped in a Polar Vortex in a Good Ole’ Redneck Town

Porch Swing in Winter

I don’t know about you but I have never heard the term “Polar Vortex” until about 3 days ago. It’s an Arctic Cyclone, similar to a hurricane caused by changes in our climate. And boy do these storms have some punch behind them. It started out about 30° yesterday and quickly became a blizzard. When the wind was at it strongest you couldn’t make out what was ten feet in front of you. I managed to wade through knee deep snow to take out the trash and fell once in the process. Why I wait until there’s a blizzard to do these things I’ll never know. Hubby got out the bobcat and started plowing the drive; which is a task in itself we have a 1/2 driveway. All I could see was a cloud of snow and an occasional glimpse of the orange Bobcat logo on the machine, luckily it is enclosed and has heat so hubby wasn’t out there freezing. 




My boys decided to go drift busting, and for those of you who don’t know what that is it’s where you and all your redneck buddies load up in your 4 wheel drives and crash through hugh drifts of snow on the side of the road. To me it all sound dangerous but to teenage boys it is all part of being young and having fun, so off they went. I really had no idea how horrible it actually was getting outside. I was tucked all cozy into the cabin working on some projects……until I got the call at 9:30pm. It was my 94 year old Grama saying her heat wasn’t working. I told here someone would be there to rescue her as soon as they could, so I looked at my hubby and said, “we have to try and get through this storm, there’s no way with the windchill -18° that she can wait until morning.” We both look at each other, I ran upstairs to put warmer clothes on and he starts gathering what he needs to work on the furnace. By this time my boys are coming up the drive in the 4X4 saying they have friends in the ditch and are taking the bobcat to pull them out. I’m thinking to myself this is all to much excitement for one night. 



Straw in the Snow

So into Hubby’s 4 wheel drive we go, the snow is to my knees and higher in some spots as I walk to the truck. My Grama lives in the same town, but when you live in the country there’s miles between you, it normally takes me 15 minutes to get to her but this trip took closer to 40 minutes. The roads were so drifted shut at times I wan’t sure we were actually driving on the road and all I could think was what will we do if we meet an oncoming vehicle? Luckily the only vehicles we saw were ones in the ditch, and they were all trucks….not a good sign. For some reason I started a nervous chatter that Im sure hubby was not happy about, so I quickly reigned myself in and just held tight to the dash for our white knuckle trip.  As we approached a truck in the ditch we stopped long enough to say we had to go do a furnace repair and would be right back to pull them from the ditch. Did I forget to mention these were all kids with their 4X4’s in the ditch, and on there sides.



As we rounded the last corner to my Gramas house hubby looked over at me and said, “Hang on, I’m not sure I can get through this drift”, this drift was level with the side mirrors of the truck. I held my breath as he accelerated, we slid sideways and came out on the other side unscathed. Now the next trip was to get up Gramas narrow winding 1/4 mile driveway. Alas we made it…we jumped out of the truck into a hip high snow drift and waded to the house. The problem with the furnace was the 5 ft of snow on the roof covering the chimney. So back out into the snow to get to the barn for a ladder, mind you everything we are doing takes lots of time and energy wading through these tall drifts. Good we found the ladder and shovel and hubby was on the roof (in a blizzard) shoveling it off around the chimney, me holding the ladder and getting snow dumped on my every time he flung another shovel full off the roof. Bingo that did the trick the furnace fired right up. One good deed of the night accomplished now back into the truck and brave this storm all over again just to get home.



Now don’t forget we have trucks to pull out on our trip back home. Part of small town, redneck living is the pleasure of knowing everyone by name, always having a tow strap in the back of your truck, and knowing everyone will stop to help. My oldest was already out with our bobcat pulling a buddy’s 4X4 out of the ditch that had rolled on it’s side, so we took the next truck in line. Hubby hooked onto it and as smooth as butter pulled him right out of the ditch and got him headed down the road to town again. One more down. The next truck had issues after pulling it from the ditch it wouldn’t start so we ended up pulling it all the way to the owners house. Finally it looks like the road was free of stuck vehicles and we could attempt to get home. One last huge drift to bust through and we would be home safe….by now it is midnight and I have had enough excitement for one night. I was never so happy to see our cabin all lit up, standing tall in the middle of a snow storm, ah home sweet safe home. 


I do have to say when tragedy hits there is nothing better than small town living, everyone pulls together and helps where they can. No one expects anything other than a good ole handshake, a slap on the back, and a thank you buddy…..and off they go.





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  1. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. says:

    Oh my, that was quite the adventure! Glad you are all safe and sound! Now stay inside and be warm and cozy!

    1. Sharon that is my plan, no more adventures for me for a while 🙂

  2. OMG Dawn, that sounds horrible. I glad that your Grandma is safe and warm, but I hope that you don’t have to go out in this when it is so bad again in a hurry. Take care of yourself won’t you! xx

    1. Amy thank for checking in. I sure hope nothing exciting happens soon, I have had my fill for a while now.

  3. So glad you made it through all of that safely, Dawn and that your Grandmother has heat. Stay safe and warm. We didn’t get much snow, but it went from 55 degrees yesterday to 2 degrees this morning. I am staying inside. xo Laura

    1. Laura, isn’t that scary when the temp can change so drastically so fast? We certainly have odd weather this winter.

  4. My goodness Dawn what adventures in such a short time. Thank goodness you were able to get to Grandma’s and get her furnace restarted and then to stop and help others get out of drifts. You certainly have had more snow than we have. But that Polar vortex (such a fancy term for Arctic air mass we used to use) is descending upon us too. We were at +5 Celsius Sunday evening and now we are dropping rapidly to way below 0. The ice rain we had turned to plain old rain and now there is a flash freeze warning and the roads will be like ice rinks. All I can say is THINK SPRING!
    Stay warm and safe.

    1. Linda, we missed out on the rain part it was strictly snow, if this keeps up we will have flooding come spring. It looks like another storm headed our way again. I sure hope it is uneventful 🙂

  5. Dawn,
    Your Michigan Winter so far is reading like a Novel you could write. It is so heartwarming that you all pull together to help each other out. Glad Grandma is safe and warm in her home and had you close enough to help her. We are getting the same Arctic freeze here and it is bone chilling cold and drifts of snow as high as the house. Hopefully in the next few days we will get above freezing and start to thaw a little bit. Stay warm and safe.

    1. Kris, I haven’t seen snow like this since the 70’s my kids are loving it and having a great time rescuing people. LOL Be safe and warm yourself. Just think Spring thaw 🙂

  6. Great rescue. I love small towns too. We moved once about ten miles more out in the country side and our mail found us anyway without telling the post office. That is a whole bunch of snow.

    1. Olive yes in our small town you don’t need much on the envelope, and zip and sometimes only first names (my hubby’s is unique so mail always find us). I love small town living 🙂

  7. You really got dumped on!! Our temps are going to drop to near -40 tonight, but we didn’t get the snow that you received. I love a good storm when I can stay inside where it’s warm and safe, but not so much when I’m driving on the treacherous roads. We’ve got 2 more days of the deep freeze and then finally temps above zero! Stay safe!

    1. Vickie that’s our temps in the day right now and the snow just continues. It looks like we’re in for a harsh winter.

  8. Geez…I just stayed in and hunkered down Dawn while you were having a big adventure. As bad as our storm is I know you got hit harder being a little further south. I’m so glad you were able to get your grandma’s heat working again, I can’t imagine being on the roof trying to shovel with the winds whipping and the wind chill well below zero. Stay safe.

    1. Char, yes we were hit hard and it doesn’t seem to be letting up. I can’t believe how cold it is out. So glad you are warm and safe 🙂

  9. Wow, that is crazy- I’m sure that you were so relieved to make it back home safely! That’s so great that you and your neighbors (and your Grama) all have each other to count on! Now bundle up and stay inside 🙂

    1. Susan I haven’t left the house since the heat rescue it is so bitter cold I just can’t make myself.

  10. I will not complain about the 6 – 9 degree weather here with blue skies and no snow…you certainly have had quite the adventure..I am so glad that no one was hurt…I cannot imagine being in that much snow…a good thing that you and your hubby were able to help so many people!…

    1. Shirley I love Michigan and snow, but not to excited when we have to risk our lives being out in it.

  11. I could feel that snow on me while you held the ladder…it’s -2 here in Pa. today, schools are closed. Yes, there is nothing like small town help:)

    1. Rondell with the windchill it was -35 here today. I will be glad when that lets up, the teens will feel warm again. lol

  12. I grew up in a town like you described in upstate NY. It was terrific how everyone just pitched I to help when there was a problem. I really miss it!

    1. Sandy, I could never be a city girl I would be just miserable.

  13. Dawn….thank you for sharing this with us……I miss the small town kindness. Hope you all are doing okay and that your grama stays warm.

    1. Pat, it is so cold I am ready for the subzero temps to let up.

    1. Deb what a sweet comment 🙂 We have very large snowbanks now they are to the top of road signs, and it looks like freezing rain coming our way for Friday 🙁

  14. Oh my goodness, thank heavens you all made it home safe & sound! And so happy to hear your Gram is toasty & warm again. I grew up in a small…village…it wasn’t big enough to be called a town..so I know exactly how neighbours come together during good and bad times. Hubby grew up in a small town too…although both of us have lived away from home longer than we actually lived home!
    Stay warm in your adorable cabin…do we dare even think thoughts of spring? Supposed to be +8 here on Saturday!!

    1. Charlotte I actually live in a village also, population 1,000. I don’t think we better wish for spring yet, we still have lots of winter left. We reached 18 today and it felt like a heat wave, but back to freezing rain on Friday.

  15. Gosh Dawn, you guys are the greatest!
    Anyone would be happy to have neighbors like you and your family.
    I’m so glad your g’mother is warm again and you!
    Just think if you hadn’t had to go out no one else would’ve had your help
    getting their trucks safely out of the ditches!

    1. Kim, you are to kind and right God is in control and we were meant to be out there.

  16. Oh my gosh Dawn! I was sitting on the edge of my chair reading about your grandmother’s rescue! I have never seen so much snow as you describe and I’m afraid that I wouldn’t have the skills to survive in it! You, your husband, and your kids are true heroes in my book!

    1. Thank you Jane, if you can’t depend on family who can you count on?

  17. Wow! That’s a lot of snow! And a lot of cold excitement! Stay warm!

    1. Yvonne thanks for dropping by. It looks like we will be warming up some now for the weekend.

      1. Now, with all of the snow, if it gets warm quickly I hope you guys aren’t where it floods! Oh Boy!

        1. Yvonne, me too. They are calling for rain but I hope it’s snow instead.

  18. Carole Alden says:

    Earlier, you mentioned having a pellet stove. How did that work out? Do you have fuel oil or natural gas up there? My son has a generator but I haven’t a chance to see that work yet. He only has one, and it would seem that the barn would need one for water for the stock. Come to think of it, that’s probly why I haven’t seen it.

    1. Carole, We loved our pellet burner and it heated our whole house (when we resided in our now guest house). There is no natural gas near me just propane but our furnace is a geothermal unit. We did get our generator back from being fixed and it was only $70 so we now have a back up plan again.

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