December 27, 2012 by Kriscinda Lee Everitt
So. Snow happened. Big A left the house at around 10:30am yesterday to pick up a few necessities and while he was gone, 6+ inches of snow fell. At about 1pm, I braved the blizzard to feed Murray, who wasn’t in the barn. I didn’t see little cat tracks to or from the barn, which gives me a little worry. I hope our little Ginger Balls didn’t leave the barn early and get caught out somewhere in the snow.
I filled up his pan (the mechanical feeder we’d been using, we learned, doesn’t want to turn when it’s freezing out) and then made my way back down to the house.
We were not at all prepared for a lot of snow, and we really couldn’t have been. Getting the house and having such a screwy schedule really set us up for a lot of falling behind. First, the mower went to hell on us, and so that one post on here that shows us mowing the lawn? That was the only time we mowed the lawn, back in October. And we didn’t even get to do the whole thing. So, underneath all of this snow is a lot of long, long grass. That’s one thing we will start off in the spring already being way behind.
We knew we’d be screwed if it snowed hard, too. And, there was a chance it wouldn’t, right? I mean, last winter was really very mild. Of course, winter 2010 handed us over three feet over the course of two weeks. I barely got myself dug out of the apartment before it dumped another foot on me. Well, we knew there was a good chance we’d get screwed. But, preparing properly wasn’t exactly an option.
We’ve got two cars: a 2003 Honda Accord and a 2005 Chevy Cobalt. Neither, obviously, are four-wheel drives. And even though I got winter tires a couple of years ago, they made me nervous the day I got them, so they really make me nervous now.
Sunbury Farm is about two miles out of Butler, Pa, up West Sunbury Road, a two-lane country road that twists, turns, dips, and climbs those two miles and beyond. After I fed Murray, I heard voices from the road and so made my way to the end of the driveway, past our most immediate neighbor. The tracks I’d made to the barn were already filling up. The driveway was gone, disappeared under 6-8 inches of snow. There was nothing when Big A left. When I last heard from him, he was maybe a mile away, picking up some groceries. There were three vehicles on the road just passing our driveway entrance—the one in front was a two-wheel drive spinning its wheels with two trucks moving slowly behind it. I knew Big A was going to be in some trouble.
I walked back down the driveway toward the house and our neighbors Jared and Marly caught me. This was actually the first time I’d spoken to either of them (we had just never caught each other before then). We have been really lucky in terms of our closet neighbor. She was out shoveling their stoops and he was gassing and oiling up the snowblower. But, see, they don’t really need to use it. They both have four-wheel drives and can get in and out of the driveway without much of a hassle. But he thought it’d be helpful for us, our house being further back and having two useless-in-the-snow cars.
He had told us back in November that he had had an arrangement with the previous owners that he would deal with the driveway snow if he could store his four-wheeler in the barn. We were, obviously, more than happy to keep that arrangement. Now, it’s really paying off. In fact, we feel little bad about it—he’s doing all the work so we can get in and out of the driveway, but storing his four-wheeler costs us nothing. So, we will make it a point to at least offer to pay for the fuel for the snowblower and certainly, they’ll be receiving some baked goods.
They don’t know this now, but come spring and summer time, we’re going to be able to pay back their kindness, hopefully, many times over. I’ll be starting a ton of vegetables plants from seed and will make sure I have extra to pass over to them (they have a garden out back as well), and, of course, there will be—again, hopefully—lots of surplus. I’m thinking next Christmas they will be getting a big basket of home-canned from us.
Before Jared went to prepare the snowblower, he said that if Big A needs assistance getting up West Sunbury Road, to let him know. Lo and behold, not five minutes later, Big A calls. He’s at a standstill. So the neighbors got into their big truck and fetched poor A from the side of the road, along with our groceries.
I shoveled the walkways while I waited, took some pictures. I let Moggy go out and explore like the crazy snow-panther that he is. He seems to love the snow. He won’t quite run around in it, but he likes to slink around and dig in the fluffy whiteness. When Big A returned, we shook off the snow, brought the groceries in, and had a lunch of pita and hummus, with nuts and oranges, and hot cups of green tea. Then Big A called AAA to see about getting his car home.
Our new home is definitely new terrain. We knew we weren’t prepared for winter—and really couldn’t have been, with the low funds and the short time frame—but we figured we’d get through this winter and assess the situation based on that experience for next winter. Already, there are things we need. We need to trade one of the cars in and look into a four-wheel drive, maybe even a truck, what with all of the things we need to haul (we have a running list). The lawn tractor needs to be fixed. There is a small plow for it in the barn. A couple of tire chains and we could probably take care of the drive ourselves (save Jared the work, and of course he’d still get to keep his four-wheeler in the barn).
Over the course of the evening, Big A fought to get someone, anyone, to tow his car from about 100 yards down the road to here. Because he was not with his car, no one would do it. For some reason, tow truck drivers seem to think it’s perfectly safe for someone to walk down a road with no shoulder at night during a winter storm. Obviously, Big A wasn’t doing that. It is interesting to note, though, that when you call and ask someone to tow your car to you, their policy is to not do it unless you’re with your car, however, if you’ve parked somewhere you’re not supposed to, they will absolutely tow your car without your presence. Funny how that works.
Anyway, this morning, we’re up at 7:30. Jared is a construction-type who, apparently, drives a plow overnight. When we woke up, our driveway was plowed. Big A struck out for his poor abandoned car to find that…it was gone. What did I say about tow companies happy to tow your car when you’re not there if you haven’t called them? Who tows a car that’s clearly on the side of the road because of a snow storm? An asshole, that’s who. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it was one of the companies he called last night who refused to tow it because he wasn’t with it. Lesson learned: Neighbors are good; strangers are assholes. Next winter, we’ll be better prepared.
Here’s a little All the Cold, a Russian ambient black metal bad, with Kingdom of Snow. According to the Encyclopaedia Metallum, this band’s “lyrical themes” are: “coldness, winter, nature, despair, and hate.” I suppose this covers “getting your car stuck in the snow and then having it towed 12 hours later.”