Friday, January 30, 2009

Winter Fun

Here is Lytton in the yard after the most recent storm. He is standing on the ice, and the fence is almost half burried in snow. This allowed all three dogs the chance to jump over the fence to harrass a woman walking by with her German Shepherd. I've seen this pair before, many times, and I dislike both of them. The grounds for my scorn are only that the dog is one of those new German Shepherds bred to look like they have a full diaper. Their back ends are dragging in a permanent crouch and they walk as if they were in constant pain. They look unnatural and bizarre. It's a crime to do that to a dog, and in my book a crime to foster such genetic tampering by owning one. I took my time getting the dogs' leashes and going after them as the woman screamed, "Get those dogs out of here!" My boys were hysterical, barking and racing around the two of them, but by the time I got out there they had tired of the game and came back for their breakfast.

When I saw the extent of this storm I wanted to stay in the house for the rest of the winter. The thought of digging my car out again overwhelmed me. Nevertheless, once I accepted the inevitability of my plight, I dressed in layers of clothes, grabbed the shovel, and set to it. When I hit the snow with my shovel, it just bounced off. The top layer was a good three inches or more of solid ice. I had to hack away at it with my garden rake to crack it, then jump on it to dislodge the block I had made. I couldn't lift the ice with my shovel, so picked up each one and threw it to the side. There was snow underneath, and with what strength I had left, I cleared a path for the car.

That was the easy part, as it turned out. After the car was out, I crept along the side of the house to take food to the chickens. When I got there, I saw that their water had frozen solid. I have a heater under the container, so I was puzzled and distraught, wondering how much a new one would costan where I would find one. Then it dawned on me that their light was out, too. It had to be that the electricity was out. I remembered that the day before a man had come to clean the furnace. He had to pound the ice and snow off the bulkhead to get into the cellar. The electricity for the chicken house comes from the outlet in the cellar, through two long extension cords threaded through a hole in the side of the bulkhead. The man must have somehow unplugged the whole business and not put it back.

Now, imagine me for the rest of the afternoon (3 1/2 hours) smashing ice off the bulkhead door. I knew that somehow I had to get it open, but it was frozen under a huge drift that completely engulfed it. I couldn't even see where it met the ground. At times I was on my stomach with a screwdriver trying to chip the ice. At other times I was pounding the mound of ice with the shovel, the hoe, and the rake, which wasn't equal to the task and broke. Eventually I learned that the best tool was the claw end of the hammer. Once I had chipped away enough to get the hoe under the door, I used it as a pry bar. Each time I was able to dislodge about three inches of ice. It was an anti-climax once I got into the cellar, walked over to the outlet, and plugged in the extension cord, which was lying on the floor beside it.

On the way out, I dropped the door on my foot.
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