Visiting Neighbors…Almost

I woke up on Sunday to see grey skies and heavy snow falling outside my window, not the ideal weather for the outing Richard and I had planned. John Finley, a neighbor of ours on East Fork Road, bought two tons of alfalfa hay from us for his cows. Richard agreed to deliver the hay as a part of the sale. When Richard asked if I would like to accompany him on the delivery, I jumped at the chance, as I have never seen John Finley’s place up close. The Finley Ranch has been owned continually by the same family for over one hundred years, which makes it one of the oldest family-owned ranches in the state. I was excited to see it, even if it meant driving a truck and trailer filled with hay through the 6 new inches of snow and then watching Richard unload all of the bales at the Finley ranch (my gimpy knee is not yet ready for tossing hay bales around).

After lunch, with snow still falling, we loaded Gupta, Whistle and Hyena, Bayard’s black lab, into the Big Red Ford and headed out. As we were driving up the switchbacks, I mentioned that I had my camera because I was thinking of writing a blog entry about our afternoon at the Finley Ranch. Richard chuckled and said, “I wonder what kind of comic relief I can provide for the blog entry today.” Within seconds of these words leaving his mouth, we turned a corner, the truck slid a little bit and we stopped moving. This sort of thing is not uncommon, so we both laughed thinking we would be on our way in moments. Here is Nonchalant Richard, thinking this was merely a hiccup:

Richard locked the hubcaps, put the truck in 4 wheel drive, hit the accelerator, and….nothing. Wheels spinning, we did not move an inch. Somehow in the midst of the turn and the slide, the trailer had jack-knifed  (meaning, it made almost a right angle with the truck), so it was situated horizontally across most of the road:

Nonchalant Richard became Serious Richard at this point, and he got out of the car to shovel snow from the wheels to give them more traction. Serious Richard with the very tiny shovel we happened to have in the truck:

After shoveling, we were still stationary with snow falling all around us. At this point, I suggested getting another truck. In the past, when a truck has been stuck, we have purposed a chain to attach a second truck to the stuck truck and used the power of both trucks to get the truck unstuck. (Did I make a tongue-twister there, or what?) We were about 1.5 miles from the ranch, so acquiring a second truck meant a hike through snow back to the ranch. We decided to leave the Old and Infirm in Big Red Ford, while the Healthy went after the second truck. The Old:

The Old and Infirm:

The Healthy on a mission:

Fortunately, I had a book and a dog to pet to pass the time. Keeping an eye on the window, I finally saw our great hope coming around the bend…….Archie, with a chain and snow shovel on board!

It was a multi-step process. Because Big Red Ford and the trailer were taking up the entire road, we first had to use Archie to pull Big Red Ford backwards. We needed to make room for Archie to move around the trailer and get in front of the rig. Richard unhitched Big Red Ford from the trailer and Archie masterfully pulled him backwards:

Archie then swung in front of the trailer. We reattached Big Red Ford to the trailer, chained Archie to Big Red Ford and gave it a whirl. We put both trucks in four wheel drive and hit the accelerators. Look at Archie strain against that chain!

Did it work? Not even a little bit. Some jobs are too big even for Archie. Wheels spun, and Big Red Ford sank deeper into the snow. At this point, I gave up hope that we were moving the trailer or getting to Finley Ranch. Serious Richard, now having become Determined and Focused Richard, was not to be deterred. He got out the snow shovel and started throwing snow around like a mad man. Look how deep the snow is around his knees and the wheels:

We tried again, only to have Archie sink into the snow and send dirt flying. Richard read my mind when he commented that we ought to stop because we were on the verge of getting both trucks stuck. Determined and Focused Richard was now Sad Richard. He does not like to be beaten by snow or trucks, nor does he like to call neighbors and tell them we cannot bring them their hay because the trailer is stuck in a snow bank. We unhitched Big Red Ford for the last time, and the Old and Infirm caravaned behind the Healthy back to the ranch, leaving the white trailer in a snow bank and some seriously deep tire tracks in the snow:

Maybe we will have it out by the time our guests come in the spring.:)

As we were about to drive back to the ranch, Richard asked me if he had provided enough comic relief for the blog entry. I told him I thought he had done an excellent job. What do you think?