Ice and lots of it
For a few days now we've been dealing with a lot of ice which has been slowing us down and making things difficult for getting around outside, but it's been managable. A couple of times I've crawled to get to patches of snow so I could stand up again, but nothing horrible.
Yesterday I had someone coming to the farm to buy chickens from me and I knew there was no way they could make it in our mile long lane of solid ice. We have a four wheel drive dual wheel pick up truck and we can't drive it... plus at least we know the road. For someone who doesn't, they don't know the bad spots, the winding turns, the beaver floods, the drop offs...
the base of the driveway, it would be great if you had a pair of skates!
So around 4 PM I loaded up eight birds and drove out the lane, very slowly. It was bad, but I was alright in the ATV. I met them at our first gate and as soon as I got there I was glad I told them not even try coming in the road - they were in a little tiny car.
We loaded the birds in their car, chatted a bit and then off they went. I got the mail which we hadn't checked in a few days, and noted how nicely the township road had been sanded... and then I headed for home.
For most of the way I was fine. I spun out a couple of times, but not in any place it was dangerous. When I was almost home, the mule slid sideways and into the snowbank that was on the side of the road. I wasn't really stuck but there was absolutely no way to get traction, so I used the remote control for the winch to pull the mule out, you need to be able to press the button and keep tension on the cable so it will come out at the same time. It took about 10 minutes to winch it out and it wasn't a big deal. Once I got home, the mule couldn't make it up the hill to the house to park it, so I got out of it and just left it where it was by the garden. When I started to walk up the hill to the house, I fell twice. I was able to break my falls so I didn't really hurt myself. But I was getting pretty annoyed by now.
Once I got home, I took the little dogs outside for a pee and I had to walk across the driveway to the goat yard gate, so I could give Flavious his dinner. I did that and on the way home, without even knowing it was coming, I fell hard and fast. Thank heavens the little dogs were not close to me. I let a cry out without even knowing it and poor Norman came running over to me panicking, licking my face, and crying. Douglas just panicked when he saw me on the ground and started running around in circles.
If I'd fallen on my butt, I would have been fine, that's what that cushioning is for after all... but I didn't. I fell hard on my back. It was one of the worst falls I've ever taken because I didn't slow myself or brace myself at all. I crawled over to the truck, so I could use it to pull myself up and then I slowly walked the rest of the way home.
This morning I woke up a lot more sore than I expected I would be, and once I managed to drag myself out of bed, (which took a lot of self talk and wild promises to myself of freshly ground hazelnut cream coffee and banana bread...) I noticed right away it was freezing rain outside. Oh joy.
the pond this morning (with Torn Ear standing by the garden ,I didn't even see him!)
the sumac's by our front deck
There was water on top of the ice, and it was freezing making it about 10 times more slippery than it was last night. Me and the dogs headed outside... I slid but kept grip on the porch rail, so I didn't hit the ground. Norman did fine since he walked right up against the house (and lets face it, if he slips, he doesn't have far to fall) but Douglas fell once and then figured out he should go where Norman is. After they had their pee, and I had a couple cups of coffee, I tried to figure out how I'd get to the barn without breaking something. Kevin told me to just wait, but I couldn't, I had to get the animals taken care of.
It wasn't easy. All the snow had a layer of ice on it now, which made everywhere a dangerous place to walk. So I crawled. I took a couple steps in the snow.... It was slow going. Once I got the goat yard fence I used it all the way to the barn to hold onto... I would have fallen several times without the fence to hold me up. The trouble is, all the fences, gates, trees, everything else was covered in ice to, so when you grab something your hand slides right off it if you don't have a good enough hold of it.
Once I got to the barn I knew I had to put Izzie the cow inside because she'd break a leg if she stayed out, if she ventured out of her run in shed it would be horrible. So I put her inside and left all the animals inside giving them triple rations of food because I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get back or not. They were fine, dry, pigging out, and relaxing.
Thankfully while I was feeding rabbits, Kevin showed up with the mule. He had pulled it out from where I left it last night, and was able to drive up the road to the barn. He waited for me and then helped me to the mule and then drove us home. Such a sweet man, he said he came with the mule because he was worried I had such a hard time getting to the barn, that I might just stay there and then who would cook him supper?
Once we got home it started to snow like crazy within a couple of minutes and that's what it's doing now. Which is good - snow is good. I really don't care if we get five feet of it, snow we can easily walk on, plow, shovel, we have equipment for it. For ice, it's a lost cause for the most part.
the road up to the house yesterday
Two days ago - it was fairly nice out. I wanted to check my trail cameras but didn't think the ATV would fair very well with the ice, and I didn't feel like getting stuck, so Douglas and I went for a walk and checked the two closer cameras which are about 1/2 mile from the house. We needed the exercise anyway. It was easy to walk where there was snow. Off our trails in the bush the snow was deeper, it came up to just below the knee... but on our trails there was hardly any.
Douglas ready to go
why are we taking a break here?
There wasn't much activity on the cameras so I pulled both of them and Douglas and I moved them to new locations.
come on lets run!
Douglas checking out the wolf tracks
These were not fresh, they were there before it rained earlier this week
even the deer were slipping a bit
on the way home it was really pretty out, quiet, peaceful. We had a really nice walk together.
Two days ago Deer Norman showed up with only one antler. Kevin searched a bit for it but it was almost dark when he went out and very slippery so he gave up. Yesterday morning we saw Deer Norman still holding his one antler, when I headed outside for my morning chores.
Not three minutes later because all I did was walk out the door, start the mule up and turn around, I saw him looking like this:
I dropped everything I was doing right away because I knew that antler had to be close by. I searched the yard first and it was no where to be seen. With the ice and frozen snow I knew the antler would be easy to spot since it would be lying on top of the snow and would not have sunk into it when it dropped.
I checked the edge of the yard and the marsh and walked through the raspberry bushes at the edge of the yard the wild turkeys usually sleep in. No antler. When I was coming back to the house, Deer Norman ran suddenly to the left of me and went up the trail that goes past where the little dogs do their business. Past there, there is a tree that he usually lies under in the winter time. It's directly across from our bedroom window.
Sure enough, there is was.
After my chores were done, Kevin and I headed out to look for the other one. We had seen him within 2 hours of loosing it, so we had hoped it wasn't too far away. We were right, it wasn't. It was lying on the other side of the creek to the right of the chicken coop at the base of a tree. I could see it from far away because it stood out so well.
So now we have Deer Norman's antlers from this year as well, a pair. Here are Torn Ear's antlers, Deer Norman's and the one antler we have of Leo's. We'll likely never find Leo's other antler, and the spike buck was gone for two days before he showed up without them so who knows where he was. I'll likely find more antlers in the spring when I can get out hiking more, but we won't be able to tell whom they belonged to, like we can with these antlers.
It's till snowing but we need a lot more snow than this to make it not so slippery outside. Hopefully the snow keeps falling overnight. We need to get out and get feed and a couple of people who had appointments at the farm are just waiting for the road to clear up. Usually the worst time of year for our road is break up in spring. Hopefully we won't be dealing with this much longer. I quite like winter, when it is winter. The warmer temperatures this year and ups and downs is what is causing us to have to deal with rain and so much ice in January... there was a time when that was unusual for here, but now it seems to be becoming the norm.
Now, I am resting. Now that most of the chores are done, it's time to rest, my body is not terribly pleased with the recent treatment of it. In a while I'll make some spicy noodles and pork for dinner. It's easy and it will warm us up for sure.