Winter Arrives On the Mountain

It started snowing Monday and was so beautiful. But the dirt road to the bus stop was really messy and my Adventure Man said he had a hard time in my big car. He was going out of town for a few days and was kind of freaking out. He stocked me up on wood for the fire, but then told me not to use it unless the power went out. As if! He shoveled all the walks only to have snow slide off the roof and cover them all up again. Poor guy! Plus it was still snowing. I was going to drive him to the airport in Big Town, but he decided to just take his pickup. As it turns out, gas would have cost more than the long term parking does. 

When I went to pick up the girls after school I got out of my car to find the bus was stuck! They had plowed the main road and graded our dirt road, but no one had plowed the bus pull off! She had gone off the road maybe two feet and had gotten stuck. 

My girls got in my car with the little ones and I flagged down the first car to pass. Luckily we have lots of traffic (laughing), well for us, because it's hunting season. The hunter had a tow rope that he thought would do the trick! I have a tow rope... but it's really little... I bought an emergency car kit from Eddie Bauer once (hey! It's "City Girl gone Ranch Mama" give me a break!) and the tow rope that is came with would pull a Prius!  Well the first pickup worked on pulling and the bus just spun and spun. We shoveled and dug but nothing. The next pickup came by and I asked if they wanted to push. That was a jackpot pickup because 4 big men got out and pushed and she was out. They said now you can say a bunch of hunters from New York helped!  Well, I said it! I told the bus driver my kids would stay home the next day. 

At first I was wondering if that was such a smart idea. It was pounding when I said it, but shortly after dark it stopped snowing altogether! Then, right when I would have been off to the bus stop it was a total white wash outside. I felt it was the right move to make. The county seemed to be taking it's time in prep for winter.

The next day was a school day. I told the kids not to give me any of that because they WERE going to school. I loaded them all up and we headed out. That was when I realized that the snow had drifted. But that was not when I realized I couldn't drive through it! I got stuck just outside of our gate. That was lucky because I only had to walk back to the house a few yards and Bunny was in the car seat, and Bear in PJ's without shoes on. Here is my parking job at 7:15 yesterday morning!

 It took our maintenance manager (my personal hero), all morning to clear the roads and get my car out so I could try and get down the road to school. I was feeling really down on myself for how quickly I managed to get stuck, but after I spoke to our neighbor I learned that there was a 4 foot drift down the road and there was no way we would have made it out to the school bus stop. We were snowed in! (This is when I thank the Lord for my food storage, no matter how humble it may be!)

 We had lunch and I was hopping that the county had cleared the road by now, so we could at least make it to Faith In God Girls. But then an employee called and said she made a 2nd attempt to come in and this time was following the snow plow! "Yay!" I thought, then she said that the plow couldn't even get through it!!!! So she wasn't coming in and hopefully the county can get the right kind of plow up here. She had called to make sure I was Okay. We were all fine, we have rations if things got bad but for now we are still using up leftovers. (yuck.)

I finally got another call at quarter to seven that night to let me know that the county finally made it through! They had to use a back-how and a dump truck to get rid of it all. We made it to the bus stop this morning. Adventure Man gets home this afternoon and has already made it back to the Montana mud. It is snowing again and raining in Little Town so we are sure to have more road conditions to tell about! Who knows what will happen tomorrow. 

Staying warm on the mountain. Oh, did I mention that we got 3 feet in one storm while Little Town only got inches! 


The Sound of Night

It is dark. Darker than you could ever imagine. The lack of street lights makes that an obvious state. At times it is quieter than you could ever imagine as well. The stillness can feel as if you are the only one on the face of the earth. But tonight it is the sound of ghosts and monsters lashing at the trees. The sound of the ocean trying to claim the ship. It is a wonder that the children can sleep through it. I checked to make sure I had the bottles for the midnight feedings and the howling was of wolves at the window. I had opened the window yesterday to ask Adventure Man a question as he left and had forgotten to latch it. The wind grabs the edges of the pains and pulls. It whistles when it can and this is it's favorite game.  It is alive and far beyond the playful wind who pulls down laundry from the line or knocks over lawn chairs. This wind is mean. It makes work for us. It pulled the rack that holds the pool cover out of the cement. It pushes cars from the road. This wind would strip the forest of it's leaves. It has. Just a few days after our parents were here enjoying the autumn brilliance the color was gone. In one night it was swept from the trees and the forest floors. Where did it go? In it's place was winter's gray in the distance. The Witch's forest.

Each morning I think I will wake to winter's glory, but if he makes an effort it is only to remind us of his chill and annoyance by icing over the cars. There is a powdered sugar dusting over the high mountains. This has brought the deer to our door. They watch me through the window as I watch them. They stand alert and watchful. A wise practice during hunting season. We tossed our Jack-O-Lanterns over the fence to the field and smashed them for the deer. We watch them kick and fight over them. They remind me of my children when they are naughty. But it is the mother's who fight and the little yearlings who eat. What example are we demonstrating for our little ones. As I think on these thoughts I am grateful not to be scrounging for my families food. What would it have been like to be an early settler here in this harsh land? How did they survive the winter?

The wild still whips the sides of our sturdy home. It tries to wake the children, it tries to get in. It tosses the windchime. Trying to sound scary. Trying to make afraid. Now it roars with frustration and the house shutters. It only succeeds in lulling me to sleep. My eyes grow heavy.