We had several inches of sleet and freezing rain with this storm. Mostly it was sleet here, which allowed us to maintain power throughout the whole thing. We really appreciated that!
At one point, we had about a half an inch of frozen accumulation on the power lines and trees. If it had gotten to an inch, they would have started going down. Then the storm changed to high winds with sleet. The sleet acted like sand blasting or something, because in a half an hour all of that half inch of rain went away, and the lines and trees and fences were clear again. Later, we got another half inch accumulation of freezing rain, so now we have that on everything, but, again, that is only enough to look pretty. It doesn't tear things down.
Nevertheless, we have at least four inches of a frozen mess out there. The sleet froze when it hit and then the freezing rain came on top of that. It is heavy, so it doesn't drift, but it also is slick as can be and you can't shovel it without breaking it up. It is as if we have a frozen pond instead of a yard. We got about two inches of snow on top of that, so in many places the snow is covering it and making it a bit less slick, but, basically, we have about a six inch covering of ice all over the driveway, yard, and pastures.
One of our two fourteen year old llamas had a stroke a few years back. He used to be a great performance animal in his day. He packed, pulled a cart, did parades, and was the best llama to have around little kids, the handicapped, and the elderly that I have ever known. He was Paul's first llama, and he showed him in 4-H for his first few years. His name is Flintstone.
We have three little sheds for the llamas. We used to have more llamas, but now we are down to six. Each shed sits in a small "catch pen". All of the catch pens are connected to another small, central catch pen that opens up into the pastures. We have the heated water trough and the feeding station in only one of the catch pens this year because we only have six llamas now, and all of them can fit into one of the barns, but I had not shut the other catch pens off before this storm. Flintstone and Tiramisu, 13, went to the farthest shed to wait out the storm. When the storm was over, the shed was entirely surrounded by ice.
This morning, Tiramisu gingerly made her way across the ice and back to the front catch pen, where the water and hay are. The other four had stayed there throughout the storm. (The way the sheds are turned, they got more wind there, but they stayed near the food.)
Flintstone, however, was trapped. He is somewhat unsteady on his feet since the stroke, but we believe that his biggest issue is that he is very nearly blind. He follows the fence rows every place he goes. With the ice everywhere, he was terrified to walk, but, worse than that, with the reflection from the ice, we think he couldn't see anything.
At first I tried to get him to follow my voice, but he only came a short way and then stopped. This was worse than being stranded inside the shed.
Llamas are very intuitive, and my herd takes care of one another. People always tend to think I am exaggerating when I tell them how my herd communicates and looks after one another, but I never exaggerate the care they take of one another.
The other fourteen year old, Lou Ann, is the boss. I said, "Lou Ann, Flinstone can't figure out how to get up here. Go back and get him." She looked at him and at me, but she didn't move.
She didn't have to. Tiramisu, the one who had been with him in the shed during the storm, went right back to where he was to show him how to get back. However, he couldn't follow her.
I helped Cannary across the fence and she went to him, but he couldn't follow her either. I was afraid to have her put a lead rope on him, because I thought he might fall on her, but in the end, she had to do that. She has great instincts with the llamas, which I find amazing since she never saw a large animal until she came here a little less than two years ago. I did have her stay all the way at the end of the lead rope in case he went down. It took them a long time, and he slid several times. When he would slide, he would stand for several minutes before taking another step, and she just waited for him to get his bearings and start moving again. She had to take him across several patches that were just ice without snow cover because he won't walk unless he can follow the fence rows as a guide, and there were ice patches next to the fence rows. It took her a long time, but eventually she got Flintstone into the catch pen with the water and the hay. He has stayed there ever since.