The purpose of winter is to:
- Cull the weak from the herd.
- Prepare us for Valhalla.
- Both 1 & 2.
If you answer #3, you’re still wrong. Winter exist to teach us humility and acceptance.
While I was fretting about freezers, a storm blew up and all hell broke loose. Curmudgeon Compound got snowed in. Meanwhile I’ve been battling some sort of cold that’s either a minor hindrance or aliens slowly chewing out of my ribcage. (Either one is plausible and both have the same symptoms.)
Allow me to define “snowed in” with greater detail: Many people think of “snowed in” as a euphemism for “I don’t feel like brushing a dusting of snow off the Prius“. This is why three flakes of snow brings Manhattan to its knees. When I say “snowed in” it means we’re well and truly totally unreachable by wheel based land transport. The only things that could get from my house to civilization would be a snowmobile or a helicopter. Except helicopters can’t fly in whiteouts. Also I don’t own a snowmobile. In short, I was screwed.
I bundled up like Ralphie’s brother and braved the elements. (See video.)
Time for a Curmudgeonly Gem of Insight:
“Two is one and one is none. If you’re working without a net, three is one.”
To my joy and delight, all three of my snow escape devices fired up pronto. In accordance with my “Al Gore can suck it” policy, I let two idle (warming up) while I used the third (a snow blower) to clear a little space in front of the barn. Half an hour into clearing snow I had just about cleared an excellent place to turn my antique tractor around and point toward the driveway. I mentally patted myself on the back and WHAM the snowblower sucked up a rock and ground to a halt.
Man down! (Actually machine down!) I hate it when that happens but life is like that. It’s also why I have three snow moving machines. The blower was toast (at least until I can get some tools and work on it) so I wheeled it into the barn where it could rest after its dutiful service.
The tractor was idling nicely. (Old tractors idle on really small quantities of fuel. It’s one of their good points.) I backed it up, swung the little beast around, dropped the backblade and tore off into the drifts. Immediately I knew there was too much snow for the backblade. Instead of sliding off the end it was gumming up the works and soon I was dragging around a lump of well packed snow the size of a lawn tractor. Nevertheless I trundled all the way to the road , swung wide (dropping a load of snow the size of a lawn tractor in the middle of everything), and careened back toward the house. I looked back at the big heap of snow. Anyone dumb enough to try driving on the unplowed road (and it would be more like “try” than “do”) would crunch into the pile. They would think unkind thoughts about me… possibly while sliding into the ditch.
The transmission had issues but I got turned around to undo my mess. Just as I reached the end of my driveway the county plow roared by and tossed everything (including the lawn mower sized lump) back on my driveway. There was no way my tractor could get through that. Well played!
Rather than mess with the laws of physics I slapped the tranny into reverse and spun, slid, careened, drifted, and crashed all the way back to the barn. Now I had a 5′ wide path down the driveway with a beartrap at the end. This was progress but certainly not the end to “snowed in”.
The ATV was idling and ready for battle. Formerly I thought of ATV’s as toys. Mine is old and small but far more valuable than I ever expected. I crashed out of the barn and started hammering on snow willy nilly.
An hour later I had a respectable path to the plowed road. There was much more to do but I was beat. I called it a day, thanked my tractor, my ATV, my wounded snowblower, my heavy jacket, and the benevolent forces of the universe that facilitate piston engine power for jobs that are well beyond the ken of a shovel. Then I trudged through the drifts to the back door in greedy anticipation of my woodstove’s heat.
Back inside, Mrs. Curmudgeon asked me if I was ready to drive to town and buy that freezer we wanted. After all, the driveway was clear and the road was recently plowed.
I decided that commercialism plays too big of a role in our lives and it’s better to read a book instead. There’s nothing like several hours of hard labor in the snow to convince you to stay inside.