Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A White Blight

by Pa Rock
Farmer in Winter

The forecast this past Sunday was for snow in the afternoon.  That didn't happen, but not long after dark sleet began showering down at The Roost and by the time I got up - before daylight - on Monday morning, the ground was covered with several inches of the white stuff.  And it was beautiful, the first decent snowfall that I have experienced in several years.

Unfortunately, I had forgotten that there is more to snow than just the serene whiteness.

The first thing I do every Monday morning, before daylight, is to drag my trash out to the road for the garbageman who comes banging and clanging down my lane usually by 7:00 or 7:15 a.m. at the latest. I managed to stomp a path from my backdoor to the road and get the trash out to where it was supposed to be.  Yes, I knew the trash wagon would probably be late, but I needed to purge my refuse and was taking no chances.  When the truck still hadn't arrived by early afternoon, I called the trash company and asked if I should bring it back in and take it out again the next day.  "Oh, honey," the lady who answered the phone replied, "We won't get there this week, but if the good Lord cooperates maybe we can get it next Monday."

Two observations:  the older I get, the more women tend to call me "honey," and the farther back in the woods a person resides, the more apt "the Lord" will be responsible for more and more things.  I'm adapting!

The next thing of note to occur yesterday was that the county came down my country lane with the road grader, pushing the snow aside so that all manner of vehicles could resume flying by - even the trash truck if the driver so chose.  As always happens when the grader comes along though, he managed to push big banks of snow across the entrances to most of the driveways - mine included.  So I had a choice of going out and shoveling open an access point to the road, or doing the dozens of other things that need doing on a farm.  I had plenty of groceries, so I chose to spend the day taking care of my peacocks and chickens - and Rosie.  The chickens don't care for snow, so they spent the day in the coop laying eggs and scratching for bugs along the hard concrete floor.

The birds had a wonderful time socializing at the front yard feeder, with, at times, as many as eight male cardinals flitting about the leafless maple tree where the feeder hangs.  There were so many redbirds in the branches that, at times, it resembled some sort of bizarre apple tree with delicious red apples swaying on the winter limbs.  There was also one large red-headed woodpecker enjoying the feeder.  I dubbed him "the Pope," as he seemed to be the only bird out there who garnered any respect at all from the cardinals.

This morning I was again up before dawn, this time carrying fresh water from the house to the chickens and peacocks.    Everything seemed to be in order out in and around the coop, so I returned to the house and crawled back into bed.  I got up an hour or so later and headed to the shower - only to discover that in the interim since my first trip out this morning, the water had frozen up.  I quickly got dressed and headed out to the well house, where I discovered that the heat lamp had gone out.  I got that going again, and then headed out to find my shovel.

I needed the shovel because I had no bottled water in the house - other than one extra gallon that I had run earlier in the morning - and I was going to have to dig my way out and get to town.  Before I could locate my shovel, however, the neighbor lad showed up with his snow shovel and wanted to know if he could shovel the walks.  As soon as he had shoveled the short walks clear, I ushered him down to the end of the driveway with the instruction, "Dig me out."

He did, I made it to town, and now I have plenty of water.   The cashier at the grocery grinned at me as she was ringing up my purchase of several gallons of water, and said:  "Honey, I hope this doesn't mean your pipes have busted."  "No," I told her.  "Not yet.  Right now they are just frozen solid."

(Soon after I got home with the water, the pipes miraculously thawed.  Now I am doing a load of washing, dishes, and getting ready for that morning shower that I missed!)

Rosie, by the way, is a true snow dog!  She loves the white stuff and races through it with wild abandon.  I'm glad that one of us is enjoying it!

The forecast for this afternoon is for more snow.   Bring it on!

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