Friday, February 11, 2011

Our Snow Adventure - Part 3

So the yaks still don't have hay. Quantum managed to get some, but it's in the back of the truck, which is a couple miles down the road, stuck in a snow drift.

The girls are eating straw which we'd originally used to make a windbreak for them. They actually seem to prefer it sometimes, but I don't know how nutritious it is.

Its Sunday, Super Bowl day for people who give a damn about it. I could care less about football, but I realize it means we're less likely to get help towing the car home. We have Mom call RY to see if he can help us with that, but he says his truck won't make it out. The roads are major bad.

Quantum and I suit up and head out across our eastern neighbor's field. The snow is very deep now. Maybe 2 1/2  feet. Another storm system is said to be coming.  Someone had given CK a pair of snow boots, which are a bit too small for him. Combined with a couple thick pairs of socks, they fit me loosely. Definitely better than the thin boots I'd been wearing.

Or not. By the time we get 2/3 of the way down the driveway, I have to go back and put on my regular boots. The snow boots weigh about 20 lbs EACH and I'm stumbling and can't lift my feet. My hips are screaming from doing this two days in a row. I realize I'll be exhausted before we get out to the road.

Back in my thin boots, I go off after Quantum. He's taller than me, with longer leg. It's almost easier to break a new path than to follow his long strides.

We're about halfway across the 1/2 mile or so of fields when we notice a tractor plowing snow. Now we've only had two encounters with this neighbor. The first, back in September when we were trying to figure out how to get onto our land. At the time, the wife had been a bit standoffish. Although I suspect that she was just startled at our appearance in front of her house. The second, Quantum had met him in town, and helped him push his truck (mechanical problems or out of gas.) He'd invited Quantum to come visit the next Sunday, but RY had some trouble that day. A friend in need had to come first. We have the impression that our neighbor is a bit jealous of his privacy and we're not sure how he'll feel about our traipsing across his land. The only thing to do is brazen it out.

We wave to him, tell him we're trying to get to our stuck car. He tells us to come over where he is and he'll give us a ride. This means slipping down a cow path that crosses the gully where the stream flows through his land, and climbing up the other side. Naturally I go on my butt.

We make it across. We climb onto the tractor with him, balancing on the steps and holding on to anything that doesn't look like a moving part. We think he's going to just drop us by the road.
"How far is your truck?" he asks.
"Just around the blind turn, I think." Quantum says.

Our neighbor, M, drives us up to his house and gets us in his pickup. He's actually going to drive us to our truck. He's friendly. A lot nicer than we'd hoped. We drive to the truck. It's a lot further than Quantum had thought, almost two miles. Thank gods we have a ride!

We also get to meet his two dogs, an older black lab and a chocolate lab puppy. Both sweet. The puppy is adorable, and wants to love on us.

When we get to the Blazer, M offers to drag us out. He passes our truck and finds somewhere to turn around and ACK! gets stuck in a ditch. The two of us hop out, start pushing, and we manage to get him back on the road.

We pull out the winch, hook it up to our cars, and get it pulled out. It's actually much more dramatic than I'm writing. Consider that by now our hands are frozen. My gloves are wet. I'm trying to put on the semi-dry second pair while controling the winch button.

No sooner do we get the truck out of the ditch, than the snowplow comes along. Quantum backs up, trying to get out of the plow's way, and gets stuck in ANOTHER ditch. Just great. More winching, more freezing hands. Now the winch hook keeps slipping off M's truck. Once again we manage to get out of the ditch.

Our plan had been to get the truck up the road to a place just past M's meadow. M says "if you leave it on the road, they'll strip your truck." He tells us to put it in his driveway instead. So we reach the hill before his driveway, and there in the middle of the road is a herd of cows. One of them is standing on three legs and licking her butt! Quantum blows the horn. She gives him a dirty look and continues licking her ass. We're loosing traction.

Another pickup comes along, and asks us what the problem is. "They'll move out of the way," the guy says. He goes around us, tries to get the cows to move. Meanwhile we have to back downhill to get the truck some traction and momentum again.

Have I mentioned that Quantum never really drove in the snow? I'm from upstate NY a good part of my life, so I've dealt with snow. Quantum is clueless. He's spinning the tires like mad, getting nowhere and turning the snow beneath us to ice. But of course he doesn't want to hear how to drive in snow from me. Fortunately M explains that he needs to start slow - feather the gas and not give it power until he's got out of the patch of ice. Thank goodness Quantum takes instruction from him.

We get past the darn cows - they're still standing on the side of the road, taunting us - and to M's driveway. We follow him up. The truck can't make it with our bald tires and no chains. We're sliding again. My feet are wet and icy. "If he invites us in for something warm, say YES," I implore.
"We've got to get back with the hay and CK is probably worried by now," Quantum says.
"I don't CARE! We're going to get frostbite if we don't get warm."

Finally we back the Blazer down, find somewhere to park. We hike back up to his truck and he drives us up to his house.

He leads us into a huge quonset hut, filled with antique cars. He starts a fire in the woodstove. "You hang out here, by the woodstove," he says to me. "I want Quantum to play a game of pool." The two of them go to the upstairs of the hut. "You got a lighter?" he asks Quantum. "I do, I say from below."
"Come on up then."

I do so. Upstairs there's a pool table, poker table, a bar. I can tell that M wants some time alone with Quantum. Partially a male-bonding thing, partly I think he wants to question Quantum alone.

After a few minutes he takes me downstairs, to meet his wife, and goes back to play pool with Quantum.
I should probably describe them. M is short and barrel chested, somewhat bald and tanned. His eyes sparkle and there are mirth lines around him. M's wife, G is tall and thin, white haired and elegant. Both of them are career military, now retired.

G is shy at first, but friendly. Yes, she'd been startled the time we went up her driveway. They don't get many unexpected visitors, and I get the impression that when they did it wasn't a pleasant experience.

Their house is lovely, vaulted ceilings and almost the exact kind of cabinets in the kitchen that Quantum and I have been thinking of for ours - light knotty wood, very plain - both Quantum and I end up remarking on them at different times.

G turns out to be a writer, and is planning on joining a writer's group that's starting up. I'm thrilled, and will probably be joining - though probably nearer to spring, since the roads are touchy now.

Quantum and M return from their game and we hang out for a while longer. They're intelligent, interesting people. It's starting to seem that we have a huge amount in common. M is strong into the survivalist/self-sufficiency thing. We talk about science fiction, heirloom seeds, terra preta earth, the fact that he wants to raise goats again, and make cheese, he invites me to pick plums from his grove and to garden on his land. "I have running water, it'll be easier for you." It seems his plan - a self-sufficient cooperative - is about the same as we've been working toward.

By the time we're ready to leave we're in love with these folks.

We get back into his pickup and go down to our truck. We get some of the groceries and a bottle of propane out through the back hatch, but the side doors - where the hay is - are frozen shut. There's nothing we can do about it, we'll have to come back in the morning.

We get back in his pickup and go for a slide towards our fence that is on par with the rides at Disneyworld. His truck is slipping, sliding, and a couple of times we think it's going to roll over. Finally we make it to a hundred yards or so to the fence, and we tell him we can walk the rest of the way.

"I'll plow this in the morning," he says, "and here's my phone number in case you have problems - if you can get a signal anywhere." I give him a hug and we slog off through the snow. It's nasty deep here. We find a place to leave the propane bottle - no way we can drag it all the way right now, and stumble and slip through the snow.

By the time we get home, CK is out looking for us, and nearly frantic. "I'll call off your Mom. She was about to phone the sherrif."

No comments:

Post a Comment