Thursday, February 13, 2014

Working in a Winter Wonderland

I can not recall when we had such a wickedly cold and snow packed winter on the farm. But no matter how crazy the weather gets, there is always maintenance that still needs to be done outside. Of course, first you have to shift the mountainous snowdrifts before you can begin to labor.

We have a short drive where we park the farm pickup. I emphasize short because you want the smallest distance to road. In the spring and fall, thick, gloppy mud threatens to suck your vehicle into the earth. And this winter, huge piles of snow wrap your truck into a wintry tomb. So you want the least amount of distance to get you off the property with the smallest amount of work, hence a short driveway.

After the blizzards that dumped a foot or more of snow on the farm, our neighbor was kind enough to use his large tractor with a scoop to push the white stuff to the end of the drive. We were so happy that we did not have to hand shovel it that we did not think deeply about where the snow was being deposited. This is a fatal error when you own a farm. You have to think about all the worst case scenarios before you commit to something or you are going to end up with a whole lot of back breaking manual labor to correct it. And that is exactly what happened.

When our neighbor pushed the flakes, he blocked in the trailer. Two weeks later, we needed the trailer which was surrounded by huge, packed, white soldiers who held our trailer hostage and mocked our tiny shovels. It took us two solid days, in which we labored like tiny ants, and slowly shifted the mounds bit by bit. There was much swearing, a few threats to abandon the job, and plenty of stiff muscles. And when we thought we were done, we realized that the gates and part of the fencing also needed some snow removal to be functional along with hauling of broken branches and repairing of cracked equipment with succumbed to the bitter temperatures. There is nothing like trying to use finer motor skills in -5 degrees.

But that is life on the farm. Constant maintenance everyday of the year. But when I look out and see our content horses and peaceful sheep, I know it is all worth it.