You know that scene in “A Christmas Story” when Ralphie opens his window on Christmas morning and he’s all, “Wow! Wake up, Randy!” and there’s fun little bells ringing/jingling in the background as he marvels at the beautiful winter scenery?
That works perfectly for the movies but when farmers wake up to that stuff? Forget it. Oh, we can see the beauty, you bet, but there ain’t no magical bells jingling. No, no, we hear the Imperial March, man. Ice and snow weighing on trees means fence problems. Sure enough, our first obstacle was a tree that fell across the road by Peggy and Delmar’s after I loaded mineral at the house. That was fun because I had to belly crawl up the steps and across the dock at the seed shed to get the mineral due to it being a solid sheet of ice. I had to slide the mineral bags across the “ice dock” because there was no way I was going to be able to walk across it with 50lb bags over my shoulder.
While I finished that Kopp got Tina ready for me and we packed on our winter layers and headed up the hill to cut this frozen tree up. As soon as I stepped off the mule onto the road next to our tree my legs went into the splits. I managed to land on one knee with my other leg behind me and I pulled myself up using the side of the mule. That was close!
I got steady on my feet and Tina and I got to it. We did a fantastic job cutting. We loaded up the pieces into the loader bucket and Kopp dumped them over the fence. However, there was one rather large piece of the trunk that we couldn’t lift so we decided we’d just scoot it into the bucket. Kopp lined up with the trunk and I tried to roll it in. Unfortunately there was a small “y” at the end and I couldn’t get it to roll over. I kept repeating to myself what my coach, Anita Altemeyer tells us when we lift; “Rib cage down, use your legs, get underneath”, etc. Since this sucker was covered in ice, my training wasn’t cuttin’ it. Fine, I’ll push it in with my legs like a squat, only sitting. I tell you what, I thought putting socks on was a struggle when I was 9 months pregnant but not so much compared to getting on the ground while stuffed in a pair of Carhartt overalls and winter coat like a can of split biscuits. Good Lord, I felt like Ralphie’s little brother, Randy, when he was likened to a stuffed tick when getting ready for school in all his winter gear. I managed to get on the ground and was hell bent on getting the S.O.B. in the bucket but for every inch I pushed that trunk in, the farther back I slid on the ice! I huffed and puffed, scooted and pushed until I finally got it. Purple faced and practically hyperventilating, I won!
Now I had to muster the strength to get back up without skidding to my death on all the ice. I rolled over on my stomach, grabbed a hold of the edge of the loader bucket with my arms and hauled my fat butt up to a standing position. Kopp was, as usual, laughing and shaking his head at me from the cab of the tractor as I slowly rose from the gravel ice rink below him. He popped his head out of the nice, warm, dry tractor cab and says, “Well that was fun to watch!” I just smiled back and thought, ” I bet it was you sum-b****”.
No matter, we got it all cleaned up, finished walking fence line to check for more trees, fed the heifers and the bulls, filled everyone’s mineral and headed home. No rest for the weary, I tell ya, but it feels good to take care of our animals. They feed a lot of people.
P.S. Tina got her blade sharpened for working so hard! And, yes, I absolutely pimped out my safety glasses.