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Just came in from plowing. Linda left for work @7:00AM and I promptly got a call from her that trees were down on our driveway. I don’t have what most people call a regular driveway, mine is 2 miles long until you hit the county road.
She was about a quarter mile from home and stuck behind the first downed tree. It took about 20 pulls on the chainsaw to get it to fire because it was freezing out, low 20’s in fact. After the saw fired I started cutting the snow ladened tree. One down and many more to follow. Over night we had nearly a foot and a half of new snow and that was on top of the two foot dumping of snow we got on Wednesday.
Luckily I got my wheeler and snow plow back last night from Jason Meyer my trusty ATV mechanic. Before the last dumping of snow my 1998 Polaris Sportsman 500 stopped running, just what you want when it is the only piece of equipment I have to keep my road plowed. A good friend of ours, Bob Dardine came to our rescue and brought over his tractor to open up our road for us. The wheeler problem turned out to be a grounding problem which only took Jason 2 hours and $120.00 of my money to rectify.
Back to my story.
As I sawed, Linda pulled the snow ladened trees off the road. The larger ones I had to give her a hand with but it was mostly me on the Stihl and her hucking the logs and branches off to the side. We handled about 20 trees when she tried to sneak under some low hanging branches and got our 4 WD truck stuck. Not stuck in the sense of hanging precariously off the side of a mountain stuck but with the 2 feet of powder, a sideways sitting truck and sheets of ice under the snow she was stuck.
I sawed branches to place under the tires, no luck. I wheelered back home to get a shovel but the way the truck sat, plus the slick ice, we were still not going anywhere fast. Bob to the recuse once more (I love this guy, just wished his political aligned more with mind) but that is one of the things that make living in north Idaho so cool. He drove his Kabouta tractor over and in minutes Linda was on her way to work.
Bob left and I returned home to start to plow. I lowered the winch which allows the plows blade to scrape the snow and drove about 500’ and as I raised the winch to back out of a pull out where I pushed the snow, SNAP, the 1/4” winch cable broke. I can’t drive with the blade in this position without the chance of getting the wheeler stuck so I lifted up and tied the blade with rope and drove back home to do the repair.
Have you ever felt “this” close to being able to fix something but you lacked just one small part to do the job. Yup, that was me. I needed one cable U bolt to make this fix happen and I couldn’t find one anywhere. So I jumped on the bike and drove a mile down the road to a neighbors house to see if he had what I needed. His driveway is rather short compared to mine but I got a quarter of a mile in and guess what, freaking stuck again. They don’t leave their property much so they didn’t plow the snow from the past two storms so I tried making my way through nearly 3 feet of snow and no dice.
I walked the rest of the way to their house and the whole way hoped that they didn’t mistake me as an intruder and shoot first and ask questions later which is a distinct possibility where I live but they recognized me and invited me into their home to discuss my predicament. Tim had the part I needed and about a half an hour later my winch was fixed and I did a 3 point turn in their narrow driveway and headed home to plow.
Just as I got back home I looked at my phone and noticed Linda had called. She was taking our two new shelter rescued kitties to the vet this morning and with all of our road excitement and a sick kittie she decided to come home early. I just had a feeling that she might be down on our driveway stuck behind another downed tree so I grabbed my saw and headed back down the road. Sure enough about 1 1/2 miles from home, there she was with a small limbing saw cutting away at a 7” diameter tree so she could get through. I didn’t even have time to laugh as she sawed away, I just fired up my chainsaw and a few minutes later we were both headed home so I could finally start plowing.
How many times can an already spent country boy like me get his wheeler stuck while plowing his own driveway in one day? I stopped counting at 7. Here’s how it went. I’d push the snow as far back into our push outs as I felt safe doing so without bottoming out in the deep snow and about every 4th or 5th time I’d sink in and have to walk up and get my truck to pull myself out. After the last time, I knew I had enough snow off the road to make it passable, not pretty like I like but passable so I parked the wheeler back in my garage where it will stand ready for the next time I need to plow, which by the looks on my NOAA weather station should be again tomorrow.
And just think, last week I was camping in the desert of south Arizona finishing the last of my art festivals for 2012 and I flew home to this. Kind of a shock to the system but over all, just knowing that we survive and mostly prosper in one of the harshest AND most beautiful places on his earth of ours makes me feel OK.