Saturday, January 2, 2010

Snowed In!

It started snowing on Friday so the county closed all the offices and I went home at 3:00. We decided to dash out for a quick meal and by 5 we were stuck on our very long and snowy driveway. Lee went and got the 4 wheel drive mule and up we went. We decided to wait until the morning to pull the 2 wheel drive blue truck up to the house. By morning there was 18 to 30 inches on the drive and the ditch beside it. Lee had to get the tractor out to plow to the barn so that I could get the mule to the barn. The horses stayed in, much to their dismay.

The mule got stuck at the steepest part of the hill and so I backed down to go out the bottom drive and it slid off the road and got stuck. I hoofed it to the house...uphill in the snow. Trista was coming so Lee did a quick plow out the bottom and took the 4X4 orange truck that way to see about pulling out the other truck. It slid off the drive into the ditch, partly blocking the drive.

The Chapman's had a snow plow on their ATV and came over to try to clear the drive a bit. Their ATV slid off the road and the heavy plow dug into the slow and it wouldn't get out. Lee got the tractor and pulled the mule out and we went around the bottom drive to see about the ATV. We were finally able to dig it out and use the tractor to pull it free. On the way down the drive in reverse ( no room to turn around), the plow grabbed at some snow and slid the ATV into the ditch, AGAIN. By this time Lee had gone to get some tools from the house and Bob Chapman and I used our nylon tie-downs to pull out his ATV. It was very heavy, but he was using his brand new and very beautiful 4X4 truck, Rose driving. One of the hooks unbent and sent the other hook flying, to put a very small ding in his bumper..Good thing it didn't hit me, but then I would heal and his bumper now has a small but significant ding....sorry Bob! We finally got his ATV fixed and sent the Chapman's home. We didn't want to wreck any more of their stuff!

We spent the rest of the day digging snow. It looks light but isn't. We got the tractor to try to get the orange truck out of the could get us to the airport. It is a farm use truck and looks like it, complete with rust and hay in the cab, but it drives on snow! And they still hadn't even plowed the road...assuming we could get to the road! We couldn't get any traction for the tractor to pull the truck out. We were still a foot from solid ground. In desperation, Lee drove the tractor around the truck and came in with the front loader facing the truck. He wanted to lift the front of the truck up enough for the rear wheels to be able to back out of the ditch. He lifted the front of the truck with the front loader...yes, I know it did nice things to the orange truck, but we were desperate by this time. No use calling AAA they were still getting cars with people in them off the interstate! He had to put the tractor in the ditch to get the right angle and no go. Lots of spinning tires, no movement. We decided to go to the house and get cleaned up and have the Chapman's pick us up at the base of the drive and take us to the airport. We could take the mule and then use it to drive up with Trista. When we tried to squeek by the blue truck still in the middle of the drive, the mule got stuck. We dug it out twice and twice it got stuck again. We decided to abandon the mule and walk up. We were too beat to do any more digging. We now had 4 vehicles stuck in various spots on our drive...sort of like the 81.

The Chapman's had offered to take us to get Trista, but it was now dark and we didn't have enough time to get dry clothes on and get to the bottom of our drive and still get her on time, so once again they came thru' and went to get her. They dropped her at the base of the drive and Lee and Tara walked down with a sled to carry her things up. Poor Trista had to walk up the hill after flying from London!

The next morning Lee got up early and got the mule out. That was great because I did not look forward to driving down the hill to the barn and feeding the horses and then trudging back up the hill. I had scooped the stalls the day before, but hadn't dumped the muck buckets because I couldn't get to the compost pile...too deep for the mule. As long as I had clearance under the center of the mule it was OK, but got bogged down if it was deeper than that. We decided to dump the old and new droppings and shavings and hay into the bed of the mule and use it for traction under the tires of the three remaining vehicles. We got boards and the shovels and went back down the drive. The tractor was the first priority as it was the only thing we could use to pull the others out. We cleared under and behind, layed down boards and poop and Lee was able to get it out!

With the tractor free we dug and boarded and pooped behind the truck ( not a pretty picture and you know what I mean!) and Lee hooked up to the rear bumper and I drove the truck out and down to the bridge at the base of the drive that Lee had cleared while I was digging and KNOW what I mean! We were now no longer snowed in!!! Next we went to get the blue truck, but even with me driving and the tractor pulling, it got caught in the ruts of where we had been working and slid off the road and got stuck. We were too tired to do any more digging and the truck was far enough in the ditch so that we could get by. We figured when Travis got here, he couldn't drive up the driveway anyway and so we had him park at the base with the truck and we used the truck and the mule to haul Travis and Vanessa and Orlop up to the house. They were good sports about the whole thing, even the cat!

Lee spent the next day scraping the drive. It takes many passes with a scraper. It doesn't have the weight of a snow plow and it is pulled behind the tractor, so you have to take a bit at a time , over and over to get to the road bed. Which is dirt and gets all chewed up and when the snow melts, it is a muddy mess. It is also narrow so that it made a small narrow drive sunk into the hard snow. Needless to say, I had Lee drive me to work in the orange truck for the week! I didn't want to chew up my car and I certainly didn't want to get stuck at the bottom and not be able to get up the hill as had happened the last winter.

So that is our snowed in story. It might help some to get the road paved, but I think the best thing to do is get another 4X4 vehicle next time. And put the scraper on early when a snow is coming. And don't get the truck stuck on the road to get a quick bite. That was the biggest obstacle, I think. And next time we have a big snow, we shouldn't have guests coming. That way we can stay in and enjoy it!

The best thing to do is not to pray for snow so that the visiting kids could go sledding down the hill in a nostalgic longing to revisit our trips to Lake Tahoe in winters past. Be careful what you pray just may get it!


  1. What an adventure! Luckily you weren't snowed in for too long. Sledding was the best, those hills are really made for sledding! It was funny when the horses decided to imitate us sledding by running really fast down the hill, in exactly the same path we sledded in!

  2. Karan from CaliforniaJanuary 26, 2010 at 9:24 PM

    I was laughing so had I had tears running down my cheeks. I will definetely not come in the winter. I'm thinking late spring...