Every since the sky dumped a couple feet of snow on our ranch after Thanksgiving, bringing with it days on end of sub-zero temperatures, all we’ve done is get stuck and pull each other out.
Yeah, that pretty much sums it up, except yesterday I got puked on all down my shirt and into the crevasses of the recliner in the living room by baby Edie who apparently doesn’t chew her strawberry pieces, if you know what I mean.
So here’s how it’s been going so far this winter…not great really.
Not that great.
So … winter has arrived. Look out your window.
I know you see it in the giant drift you had to dig through to get out your front door making a perfect pile for the kids to build tunnels in after school. Some of you might even have a snowman or two looking back at you.
And some of you have cleared your driveways and sidewalks down to the dry concrete already. I know because I went to the big town and saw for myself a winter phenomenon so far removed from the drifty, snow-packed, ice-crusted gravel road that is my life. I made my husband slow down so he could take a good long look.
“What, did they take a hair dryer to it or something?” he exclaimed, horrified at the site of such domestication and clearly not getting the hint.
That’s OK. He didn’t get my first hint either, the one where I tried to move the four-wheeler from our driveway up the road and to the shop where it belongs at least five times, spinning my wheels, using my best cuss words and nearly squashing the old lab in the process before declaring the hill un-climbable and returning to the un-shoveled driveway.
“You should have put it in four-wheel drive,” said my husband when he got in from finishing the job.
I thought it was in four-wheel drive.
And so that’s how we do winter here at the ranch. We (literally) rev the engine and plow through.
But that cowboy-in-coveralls mentality didn’t quite pan out on our way to feed the cows a couple bales the other day. I had been whining to my husband, telling him that since the baby came I haven’t been able to go outside as much, that I miss going along and being useful and getting my hands dirty. I said I’m not cut out for the constant inside chores like laundry and dishes and figuring out what to make for supper.
That I’d much prefer to be doing chores outside.
So the next evening he got home before dark, I bundled up the baby and we went along in the feed pickup. It was decent weather, enough to melt the top of those big snowdrifts — the ones that make us forget where the big rocks and deep ravines hide. Not that a big rock or deep ravine has ever stopped the men on this place from hitting the gas harder in an attempt to get the job done.
But do you know what almost always stops them? Three feet of heavy wet snow strung out over a quarter of a mile on the trail.
I know because these are always the times I get to go along.
And so there we were, sunk to the floorboards with a bale on the loader, a baby in a snowsuit, a sun dipping below the horizon and a good half-mile walk to the shop for the tractor I suggested we take instead.
I know those words came out of my mouth.
“You stay here, I’ll be right back,” were the words that came out of his mouth.
Ten minutes into trying to keep the baby from licking the dirty window I started my own half-mile trek to the house, not thinking he’d actually need my help, forgetting that someone needs to be behind the wheel of the pickup when the tractor pulls you out.
I made it 100 yards from the house, trudging through knee-deep snow in my winter gear with a squealing one-year old dangling off my hip only to be loaded up and taken back to the scene of the crime.
I was charged with keeping the pickup in gear, my foot on the gas and the baby content while my husband yanked us out of the hole he dug us in, only to watch him get us stuck again and then listen as he directed me to drive it back home on our tracks while he followed.
“If you get stuck, I’ll just nudge you with the tractor,” he said.
Which he only had to do once on the steep hill coming out of the driveway where I got the four-wheeler stuck.
Because this is winter at the ranch, and there aren’t enough snowplows (or hairdryers) in the world.