EN Report from the Blizzard

Thanks to regular EN reader Yvonne Lucas of Red Moon Farm for sending this report in, and thank you for reading.
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“In my area, we had 36″ of snow on 2/6/2010, with drifts to 50”. (In Eventer terms, that’s Novice height, with drifts to above Advanced.)  
 
It’s clear my 2WD 45hp tractor can’t handle driving through anything much over about 6″ of snow, at least not with ME driving! (I’m pretty good with equipment, but 36″ of snow is been beyond my skills!) I keep getting it stuck!
 
I happened to meet someone, a complete stranger, at the feed store this AM who volunteered to come over and get my tractor unstuck from where I’d lodged it on Sunday trying to move some snow with the front bucket. Which he did! He then used it to scoop out a path to my barn so I could unload all the feed. *He* had no real problem doing that. *I* would probably have made a mess of it. That was humbling.  
 
A bit later, I got the same tractor stuck again trying to put out a roundbale. (Many bad words were “uttered”.) I obviously lack certain skills in driving a 2wd tractor on the snow ;->! But I think you need to be born here to acquire them, and I’m handicapped by my California heritage. Perhaps if *I’d* been driving a tractor since I was old enough to reach the pedals…. Excuses, excuses.
 
My neighbor came to my rescue with his John Deere 120hp 4WD enclosed cab tractor (one of his many toys!), and towed me out of the HUGE (rolls eyes) 18″ snowbank my *one* front tire was “mired” in, the one that had caused my rear tires to spin helplessly, both in forward and reverse. Sigh. He plowed me a path to drop the round bale over the fence, which I managed to do without getting stuck again! Yay! And waited around to make sure I could be “Mr. Balky” back up the little hill and back into the equipment shed, which I did. Yay!
 
I also shoveled walking paths, thawed the 100′ hose, and dragged it here and there over 5′ drifted snowbanks to fill the tanks for three fields (11 horses). During which I discovered that some horse had snapped off, at the stem, the drain plug deicer in one of their two water tanks, so I had to dump it and put in a regular plug, as I’m out of heaters. Sh*t-head. Sweet, innocent-faced sh*t-head -> Yes, I know who you are!
 
Oh, and then there was getting the sliding doors open to access to round bales in my hay barn. Another neighbor had cleared as much in front of the doors as possible on Sunday, just after the snow, but dummy me, I didn’t immediately shovel away the rest of the snow around the doors and runners. So on sunny Sunday and Monday, all the snow melt from the roof had dripped down and re-frozen around the doors, and I had to break it up with a MATTOCK!! That’ll teach me for spending the time shoveling off my back deck so it wouldn’t collapse!
 
I’m learning a *whole* lot of lessons about dealing with a farm in heavy snow. Not things I would’ve known, being a California girl, or that living in Virginia for 10+ years had taught me yet. “Yay” for learning new things ;-> Yay, yay.
 
I learned:
  • Getting a 4WD instead of a 2WD tractor is a worthwhile expense.
  • Don’t put sliding doors under the eaves of a roof – use roll-ups instead.
  • A snow-blower is NOT a luxury item.
  • Have a way to put chains or weight on the rear tires of your tractor.
  • Shovel the snow while it’s SOFT. Pay someone if you can’t get to it yourself.
I hope everyone affected by the snow is OK, and I feel for those who lost power for extended periods. Usually that would be me, so I’m knocking on wood that my good luck will continue.
 
For those that don’t know mw, and have read this far, I run a 28 acre, 11 horse facility all by my lonesome. It’s peaceful in the good times, but overwhelming when things get tough.
 
Which I why I bless and treasure my neighbors and local folk: I’d be in a world of trouble without them.”

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