- February 9th, 2011
As I walked down to the barn last night to do the chores I suddenly had a feeling that I was in Norway, or at least what I imagine Norway being like. The trees are plastered with snow, the pine's boughs bent to the ground under their load. The field is nearly featureless under the depth of the snow, the 5 foot electric fence showing only the topmost strands. And it was snowing...again. And blowing brutal cold. I told David my fancy and he said sourly "Not Norway, Russia" I can remember one winter that was worse but I don't remember worrying quite so much about it then. There is easily four feet of snow on the barn roof. It usually sheds it but the temperatures have been so low that every bit of snow that has fallen this winter has stayed. A couple of weeks ago we had a night that was 18 below not counting the wind chill. They had to cancel school because none of the school buses would run. Last week after a two day storm a local barn roof collapsed and with another storm on the way there was a run on roof rakes. You couldn't find one to buy for love nor money. Fortunately those horses in the collapsed barn survived because their stalls were built under the hay loft but we began to give our barn roof the hairy eyeball. It is fairly flat on the shed extension and it needed repairs this fall, which I did myself since David had a broken leg. I thought I did a pretty good job of it but now I'm getting nervous. I have been diligent about it this winter, raking the snow off three or four times as far as I could reach with an iron rake and my freaky long arms, but it was still only about half the depth of the stalls beneath. Normally it isn't much of an issue since I am married to a monkey boy who will climb up on anything. He would usually be up there with a scoop shovel and just take care of it but since he is just now beginning to walk without crutches, well, we are both a little bit sensitive about safety. So on to the hunt for a roof rake. After about an hour of phone calls we actually found a place that was out of them but were planning to pick up an order the next day. If we wanted one we needed to go down there and pre-pay for one. This hardware store was a real hole-in-the -wall. It reminded me of Starr and Bullocks from Deadwood. You could hardly move in there, it was floor to ceiling with all kinds of weird things. There were metal buckets hanging from the ceiling! I wouldn't have been surprised if they had the stuff you needed to pan for gold. There was also an moth-eaten old dog sleeping in the corner that had a dirty price tag stuck to the pad of it's paw, which entertained me to no end, and about eight other people jammed into that little space doing the exact same thing we were doing...pre-buying a roof rake. Well, we managed to get one and spent the next two days pulling snow off of various structures on the farm, ugh, it's wet, cold, miserable work. I actually like winter which is good since this year, because of David's injury, I have spent much more time out in the elements that I usually do. Our own private Norway has it's wild beauty. Some times it's a glittering fairytale land with sugar frosted horses but other times it's raw and rather dangerous. You can't see in the blowing snow and you get off the path and become mired in the drifts and the fairytale sugar horses become snorting, prehistoric- like beasts, their shaggy coats rattling with icicles. Every once in a while I think I'd like to live in town again but then I think, no, not yet.