At Al-Mara Farm in Midland, Va., the Leonards began preparing early for Jonas’ arrival. With forecasters predicting the nor’easter could drop two feet and more of snow on the Mid-Atlantic, Jeff and Patty Leonard shored up barns, plowed in preparation for Sunday’s milk truck, and provided their animals with extra rations, just in case.
“We started giving them a little bit extra so their bellies were full going into the storm, just in case we couldn’t get out there,” said Patty Leonard. “We also put out extra bales of hay,” dropping some in ravines and other spots where their beef cattle might take shelter.
“You prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” said Patty of the pre-blizzard work at Al-Mara, which has a 100-cow dairy herd and a 180-head cow-calf operation.
To prepare their animals for January's massive snowstorm, the Leonards gave their cattle extra rations in the days before the storm.
Nearly 27 inches of snow later, Patty’s happy to report no major problems at Al-Mara from Jonas, save a delayed milk truck on Sunday. “We lucked out,” she said. “It wasn’t too bad.”
The milk hauler was a few hours late to the Leonard's farm due to the snowstorm, but it still arrived on Sunday as planned.
Others weren’t quite as fortunate. In Kentucky and Tennessee, Jonas brought freezing rain, ice and snow, making roads too treacherous for milk haulers.
In Point of Rocks, Md., the storm simply brought snow—36 inches worth, in fact—to Rocky Point Creamery and Farm, near the Maryland/Virginia border. (Click here to see a drone's eye view of a very snowy Rocky Point Creamery and Farm, courtesy of Chuck Fry.)
“They kept telling it was going to be big and bad,” said Rocky Point’s Chuck Fry, who also pre-fed his animals, stocked up on supplies, and shifted animals to the barn, just in case. “You get everything under roof and you just pray the roof doesn’t collapse.” That’s what happened to Fry in 1996, when a January blizzard also dropped more than two feet of snow on the Mid-Atlantic.
Twenty years later, Fry has a neighbor dealing with a similar tragedy: all that snow from Jonas caused a barn roof to collapse, killing six cows. “There’s not much you can do,” admitted Fry, but as someone who knows how terrible it can feel, emotionally and financially, to lose livestock, the Maryland dairy farmer plans to help his neighbor clean up after the recent disaster.
With his own farm safe after the weekend’s historic blizzard, Fry has been busy digging others out from Jonas. One of his feats: plowing out a 400-home development in his community, just as a gesture of farmer goodwill.
“I’ve never had the opportunity to be a hero for the neighborhood before,” said Fry, who has received appreciative comments and photos on Rocky Point Creamery and Farm’s Facebook page for his efforts. “I never would have thought a snowstorm would end up being a great public relations event for an ice cream parlor that’s closed for the winter.”
Rocky Point Creamery and Farm's Chuck Fry plowed out 400 houses in his Maryland community after Jonas.