A brave knight errant and his trusty companions were out for a stroll through the wintry wood. Over deep drifts of snow and under low hanging trees they wandered in search of dragons to slay and noble quests to undertake. When, in the distance they heard a faint cry. Not sure of the sound they stopped, waited and listened to hear it again. Finally it issued forth once again, over the frozen meadow that split the deep dark wood.
The brave knight tromped through the snow in search of the creature that so desperately sought rescue. So speedily did he tromp that his troupe was left behind. He rushed on until a mere glimpse of pink was spotted above the snow, before it disappeared again. Making his way in that direction he saw it again peep above a snow bank and then gone. Finally the deep clutching snow of the meadow battled through, he made it to the crested drift of snow to find, there below, a fair and delicate maiden trapped in a deep dungeon.
“Oh, kind sir, I beg of thee, free me from this terrible fate to which I have been doomed. A great and fearsome dragon set a trap and caught me here in his lair. He goes now for his nap but will surely return soon, hurry, please and free me while there is time!”
The brave knight wasted no time but inched out onto the fragile ledge of snow holding her entrapped. His followers cowered back from the precipice watching in wonder of how he would accomplish the feat. Creeping, gently to the edge he held his strong arm out to the waif like maid. She grasped his hand, clinging to it’s safety and he wrenched her free of the clutch of the dragons lair.
Safe, away from the dungeon and free of the dragon, the brave knight and the fair maid went off to sled in the wintry wood.
After I left off last night we went to bed. All day the lights had been flickering and we heard reports of people with no electricity. But we still had light and they never went all the way out, at least not for long when they flickered so we didn’t do anything. As soon as we got settled in, warm and comfortable, the lights went out.
As we discussed the ramifications of that and the probability of them coming back on, probably not, and what should be done about it, the lights came back on. It seemed unlikely that they would stay on but we had also thought it unlikely that they would come back so what do we know. Still we decided that we should be prepared just in case. And my brave husband headed out into the great dark white.
I lay in bed awhile until the guilt of being warm and comfortable, and the uncertainty of wondering if he was ok and what he was doing, became too much and I got up to look for him out the doors.
He had gotten in his blazer, it started no problem but wouldn’t go into four wheel drive. He started my pickup, she always starts and was already in four wheel drive, I had been out driving around earlier. The windows were froze and could not be seen through. Starting the defroster he left it and went to try the blazer one last time. It went into gear! He drove it around to the front of the house and it stuck in the deep drifts covering the road. He walked the rest of the way down to the quanset and got the payloader. The door was drifted shut. He rearranged vehicles until it would fit out the other door and plowed the yard out, pulled the blazer out and put it back in it’s parking spot, then used the payloader to haul the generator back to the house along with jugs freshly filled with gas. Then parking the payloader in the qunset, backed in so it could dig its self out if needed, he walked home into the wind visiting with the curious horses who followed him along his way.
So, because of the work he went to preparing us for the worst, the electricity stayed on all night. 8 even slept through the night! We were moderately well rested the next morning when my Carhart clad knight was up and at it bright and early again. Walking through the snow back to the quanset he got the payloader and did some more plowing then went to find his parents who had holed up with his sister for the night after driving off the road in zero visibility.
He plowed her driveway and called around to see if anyone knew who’s cattle had drifted into her yard in the storm. They had found a large open shed and the shelter they had drifted seeking. There was a horse out with them who herded them back towards the shed when they started to wander. Apparently they had come from across the highway and down the dirt a ways, yet another reason not to be out driving in white out conditions, hitting a cow would hurt.
Then he, his father, a friend and a neighbor went to find the pickup. The neighbor had picked up his wife’s niece the night before and gone back to pull her car out already that morning. She had passed her turn before sliding off the road, unable to see it for the snow and he had a hard time finding her, she didn’t know where she was. When they reached the pickup it was precariously balanced between a metal post marking a culvert and the sharp drop off of the culvert, on the west side of the road they had been north bound on. A few inches to the side and they would have dropped the wheels into the culvert and hit hard. It took some fancy maneuvering with the payloader to get it lifted off the culvert to where it could be pushed out. They ran into other neighbors also pulling the car of elderly parents out of the ditch a little farther along. Everyone must have decided to go driving.
When he finally got home late in the morning he scarfed down a quick breakfast then went to finish plowing. The cousins came over and everyone went out to play. All day was spent sledding, climbing and playing out in the deep drifts hopefully they will sleep well tonight.
The morning started with rain. Freezing rain. There was a sheet of ice on, everything. Then little pebbles of snow and when The Goblin Child was getting her book read at nap time I had to stop to go check out the noises coming from outside. It was large wind driven hail.
That was when I went to check on the horses. My hard working husband had opened the gates earlier so they could get to the barn. They are not smart, they stood huddled behind the wind break. I have been working with Rusty on learning to go out around the wing fence and it payed off, he came running with the other two not far behind. I lead them up to and into the barn where they could be warm and dry. Onna refused. Coyote and Rusty came in but it didn’t last. I left feeling better that they knew the barn was open and they could go in if it got worse.
Immediately after I got in, it got worse. The hail turned to fine powdery snow. Visibility dropped to nothing and the drifts began to grow. Late in the afternoon I went out again. I had filled the bed of the pickup with hay in preparation and I backed it over to the barn. After going in the passenger side door because the drivers side was froze shut. The windows were covered with ice and the snow was blinding even if I could have seen out. Backing blindly across the yard was interesting to say the least.
When I got over there I was disappointed not to see the horses. Silly ponies, they were back out behind the wind break again. Wading through the snow a hand over my face to block the wind I walked out to them, convinced them to come around the wing fence again and lead them to the barn. Even Onna came in without hesitation this time. I forked the hay from the pickup in the door and spread it into many piles so everyone could eat. In their snow masks they presented a terrifying sight.
I left content once again that they were warm and safe and dry. I didn’t lock them in.
Tonight my fearless husband braved the storm again to shut the shop door that got left open when the in-laws took a pickup to go visiting for Christmas. He offered to check the horses for me. Of course they weren’t in the barn. I gave up. I wasn’t going after them again. They were in the barn, they knew it was open, they even had hay in there. Apparently they didn’t think it was too bad out.
Hopefully come morning the wind will have let up. Hopefully we will find the animals all healthy and having survived the storm. The cow heard is in the corrals with good wind break, as long as everyone came in. The calves aren’t as well protected. And the horses, well, they had their chance. The in-laws are at the cousins house, not heeding blizzard warnings they drove home in it, left the pickup in a ditch somewhere in between and managed to make it the rest of the way with the cousins. They wisely didn’t try the drive.
We have been busy around here lately, getting geared up for Christmas and with life as usual. We went in to the school over the weekend with my hard working husband to set up some microphones. The children, one in particular were more than happy to help with the sound test. I hope she continues to be as enthusiastic once she’s old enough to be in school programs and plays.
That night we stole Ava and took her along to look at Christmas lights and a live nativity. It was supposed to be a quick trip and we’d have her back for the dinner they were attending. We looked at all the lights, they were very pretty, then drove to the beautiful little country church that was having the nativity. It’s the same one that we love to go to for their candle light, with real candles!, Christmas eve service.
We pulled in and parked. Over a little hill, down a path lit with tiny white lights was the manger scene. Sheep, cattle and horses flanked the barn where a very cold group of angles, wise men and of course Mary and Joseph stood. It was lovely. And so was the propane heater blasting as much warmth in on them that it could. Not expecting it to be a get out of the car sort of thing I hadn’t bundled the children as well as I should have, it hardly slowed them as they checked out the sheep. We don’t see very many of those. Then they petted horses. Then everybody went inside to warm up with hot chocolate and cookies!
Inside the children ate and ran and played and generally created havoc. It was so much fun, and we stayed so much longer than we meant to. Ava never did make it to her supper. We probably wont be allowed to take Ava again or be invited back to the church, but they and we loved it. It really is a great little church I think we should try to get over that way more often.
We got all dressed up for church and decided it was a good time to get Christmas pictures out of the way. Here’s a sneak peak as they helped get ready.
We were glad for all the dressing up once the service was over and it was time once again for the kids to close. We were sitting in the middle and had a pretty good view for once. So of course she went and stood in the back. If you look really close you can see her between the two girls in the front row.
Play at the park and eat green chilly stew!
Sorry that was bad. But we did do both. Everyone was complaining about the cold but when we got the pickup, car also thought it was too cold, and went to get The Goblin Child from school it was so nice out! There was no wind and the sun was shining.
After lunch we ran to the grocery store and while paying and eating their suckers they asked to please go to the park. I said no. I had plans to go home get bundled up in snow suits and really warm clothes to go play out on our swing set. But it was so nice out. So we went to the park.
They were bundled with hats and gloves. I was wearing a sweatshirt. So I figures that as long as I was warm they were probably fine. It was exactly what they needed, so much pent up energy. They ran and played and climbed and chased each other. It was great but after about an hour we were all ready to get home.
My recipe for green chili stew:
Cook a roast in the crock pot, well covered with water and with all the trimmings, carrots, potatoes, onions whatever sounds good. Eat roast for a couple of days. When you’re tired of roast smash any remaining vegetables to a pulp, they will add healthiness and thickness. Get in there with a fork and fingers and shred the meat well. To the remaining water from cooking the roast add a couple of cans of green enchilada sauce, green salsa, roasted green peppers, a can of tomatoes and chili beans. Let cook all day serve with lots of shredded cheddar cheese and Fritos.
My hard working husband had gone to water the cattle. I stayed home warm, cuddled on the couch. It’s colder out today than it was yesterday, even though the temperature is higher. He called and told me to look out the window, thick, black smoke was billowing up from somewhere not too far north of us. The cousins live up that way and although we knew for a fact that they weren’t home it was still concerning. He was going to look did I want to come with?
I did desperately want to come, I inherited the ambulance chasing gene fair and square from my grandma. But apparently my mothering gene is stronger, I declined stating that I was unable to leave the sleeping children. He stayed on the phone as he drove giving me a play by play as we tried to guess where it would be.
The cousins house and the church we were married in were quickly ruled out when he reached the highway. I was hoping for the house that is sitting empty waiting to go up for sale with it’s owners moved out of state. It seemed the safest, guaranteed that no one would be home or needing a place to go.
Instead it was the camper parked in the yard across the street. We had, it seemed, just driven past it coming home from town but it must have been about an hour before. Was the fire already burning then with no sign showing yet? We had looked at it as we passed, wondering why, if you were going to live in a camper in someones yard, you would put the camper right next to the highway instead of towards the back somewhere.
On the way into town we had been talking about this miserable cold weather and how it makes fires so much worse, water lines, hoses freeze making them harder to fight. And space heaters make them so much more likely. I’ve been seeing picture after picture of burnt, melted extension cords and power strips. How does one heat a camper made for temporary summer living through below zero temps?
Flames were visible nearly from where our road meets the highway. When he got to the fire there was nothing left of the camper but the frame barely visible through the fire. A handful of cars were parked along the road watching and calling it in. As he stopped a friend who is a sheriffs deputy pulled up. He said the siren in town hadn’t gone off calling the volunteers in to man the fire trucks. 911 had called him personally, he was working today. He and my husband began calling people on the fire department.
But the camper was already burnt. A fire truck and water was only going to protect the yard and do some clean up. As they stood there calling frantically, and only then, someone ran out of the house. They had only just noticed the fire. We can only hope and assume no one was inside, surly they would have done more than run back into the house if there had been.
With nothing he could do but watch and assured that it wasn’t the cousins house my husband returned home. The only thing we can take from this, two things really, is to be very careful with space heaters and any electric outlet really. Never plug a space heater into and extension cord of any kind! And shut things off when you leave home, or go to sleep. How much worse to be home sound asleep.
And love, but worry a little, about your small town volunteer fire department. The siren never went off. As the camper crumpled into ashes there was still no one even headed to the station. One would think in this age of cell phones that there would be an automatic call that would go out. Apparently there is something like that set up but word never got to the person who has to start it. Not sure why the 911 dispatcher wouldn’t be the one to send out the call? But they will get there and those guys will get out in the freezing temperatures and do everything they can to help. They are awesome, once they get there.
It was so cute, 8 kept getting snow flakes on his eye lashes. He would blink lots and look up at the sky, which of course got more snow flakes on his eye lashes, then he looked at me in wonder and smiled.
It was the last warm day before we drop below freezing and stay there. While it was still warm and sunny this morning I decided we were going to the park after lunch. By lunch time the snow flurries had changed into outright snow fall. I didn’t see any reason to let a little thing like that ruin our plans.
The kids were bundled up warm in their coats and gloves. Their jeans soaked through quickly and 8 only had thin knit gloves. I was worried they’d be cold but they were running so hard they didn’t seem to notice. The slides were coated in snow and ice. 8 was the first to go down and flew off the end of the slide to land on his butt many feet away. He looked a little stunned but it must not have been too bad, he was up and at it again in no time.
They played while I tried to take pictures without ruining my phone until I decided 8’s hands must be getting too cold caked with snow as they were. We stripped off wet clothes in the car and covered up with their car blankets. Once home they cuddled and played together in front of the fire. Today, if no other time 😉 , they are entirely to adorable.
We made a rare night time trip to Chadron for the parade of lights. We were reminded why when we nearly hit a deer on the way in, but at least it wasn’t an elk. We had a quick supper in town, leaving in a hurry when a friend we ran into pointed out it was time for the parade to start.
Parking in an open spot on the highway we hurried across the street to find a spot to watch from. Before we made it far we ran into some paupers on the street corner selling chestnuts roasted on an open fire. They were dressed beautifully in period clothing with coals glowing warmly in a barrel. Handing out the toasty nuts in a cone of news paper they allowed everyone a taste of this rare fashioned treat. They were… different, kind of mushy with some hard spots. I liked them though and they felt so good holding the warm newspaper in my chilled hand.
We meant to walk farther but the parade was there already so we sat on the corner and watched. It was good. We were surprised at the candy thrown out, discussing it on the way in we had decided there probably wouldn’t be any. In typical small town fashion there was abundant supply of tractors, more exciting than the lights for all small, and large, boys watching. I was sad not to see any horses. I said we would bring Coyote and Onna next year, cover them in battery powered lights, my husband not as positive as me that they are perfect in every way my husband has some doubts. It was a great little parade, as good as the trunk or treat.