First Winter Salvo

This morning it is 17° F. Yesterday it was 16°. On Thursday we had snowflakes sifting from a dark grey sky off and on all day. All the mountain ridges are frosted white. (Double-click to enlarge.) Winter is firing its warning shots across my bow: Get ready! I’m bearing down on you with big guns trained!

At the moment the horizons are beautiful, but unnerving if you have work to do outside. Tick, tock; tick, tock. The ground is starting to freeze and at any moment we could have a snowstorm that blankets the ground until May. I am not ready. I am never ready.

Today will be Grunt Labor day. Yesterday morning my friend Mike dropped off a truckload of brush for me to burn for him. Mike has done a million favors for me, he lives on a small lot in town, and I’m happy to have a chance to do something for him. Unfortunately in the dark he dropped it in the wrong place, dangerously close to the cabin and bunkhouse. I’m hoping I can somehow lasso the whole pile with some of DH’s old climbing rope and drag it out into the center of the cleared knoll. If not, I’ll have to throw it all into my truck piece by piece and offload it the same way, before torching it.

Meanwhile last night on his way out to go hunting D dropped off a truckload of sand for me. The entrance to the paddock from the barn is six inches deep in mud. It would be best if I could scrape the mud away and lay down road mix gravel and stones (here called “crusher run”), but I have neither heavy equipment nor $325 for crusher. So D, who works near the dump, kindly picked up ten dollars’ worth of bank sand there for me and brought it out. Due to the mud he could not bring the heavy truck close to the barn. He was concerned that he would get stuck.

“I’ve got some chains. I could pull you out with my truck.”

A snort. “You ain’t gonna pull me out with that toy.”

In the end I told him to dump the 8 tons of sand twenty-five feet away from the worst mud, where the ground was still hard.

D was dubious. “Long way to move it with a shovel.”

“Oh, no problem,” I said cheerily. “I moved 20 tons of gravel by hand inside the barn.”

I didn’t mention that was back in 2008 when I was a sprightly 49. I think I may take ibuprofen before I head out today. And I will try not to worry too much that neither one of these projects was even on my already long Get-Done-Before-Winter List.


7 Responses to First Winter Salvo

  1. Beth says:

    Oh, boy, I can relate to your lifting, moving and muscle strain experiences. We just finished shoveling three tons of gravel and sand onto the road that goes up to our farm. Irene had taken most of it out. Even my hips felt that one! Yes, too, this lovely snow you mention is quite stunning to look at but when I skidded on my butt down the slight hill to the henhouse, I cursed Jack Frost loud enough for the gnomes to hear. My neighbor swears it’s all in the footwear, but he wears cleats. Heh.

    • adkmilkmaid says:

      I am feeling like a battered old wreck today but have about six more hours to go. Then I’ll crawl into a hot bath and bring out the Ben-Gay!

  2. tricia park says:

    OMGosh We got snow before YOU??? Really??? we had 3 inches on Thursday!!!! It is melted now. A really heavy frost this morning.

    • adkmilkmaid says:

      We had the same snow on Thursday but no accumulation. The ground and the roofs were white but it melted by 10 AM. We’ve been having really heavy frosts also. The ground is hardening rapidly — hoar frost 3″ high in the mud holes.

  3. Missy says:

    sounds cold! what’s hoar frost?

    • adkmilkmaid says:

      Missy, hoar frost is very pretty ice crystals that look almost like the sugar crystals you grow in 7th grade science. I will often find it at the edges of mud puddles (2 inches high!) or along my water trough, where the steam from the warmed water rises, hits the cold air, and freezes in a thick rime.

      • Missy says:

        oh wow, that’s really, really beautiful. I doubt I’ll ever see hoar frost, at least not here. Enjoy it for me!

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