Saturday, February 17, 2007

A Taste of Real Winter at the Homestead

We were supposed to be at my step-daughter's wedding in Mississippi this weekend. But Old Man Winter had other plans and dumped about 3 inches of snow, covered in 3 inches of ice on Shenandoah Valley. We had planned to drive down, and that little bit of a winter blast came at exactly the wrong time for us. We're pretty unhappy about it.

Since we can't be in Mississippi this weekend, we decided we needed to come out to the homestead and make sure the ice didn't bring a tree limb down on the house or cause some other disaster that needed tending to. We worked Friday and then took off for our homestead immediately after arriving at our home in town and throwing a few things in the truck.

Bernie has a Ford F-350 Diesel Duely. We call it the Big Growlie. I honestly didn't give much thought to it as we headed towards the homestead until Bernie said "I sure hope we can make it up our driveway." Gulp. I had not thought about the last 1/4 mile that would bring us to our little home there. The driveway is curvy - and it's got a couple of steep hills. And we had a fair amount of ice. Oh boy. This could get hairy. And it did.

Bernie made it to our driveway just fine. The first thing he encountered was a steep hill down. He put it in 4 wheel drive and took it very slowly. We did pretty well - no real slipping or sliding. He made the sharp turn to the left with little trouble and then started up the incline. We only made it a few yards before the wheels started spinning and we stopped moving. I had managed to NOT say a word (very unusual for me) and to just about tear the arm rest off by holding on so tightly. Bernie backed down the hill a little and then gunned it forward. We were sliding a fair amount, but he kept it under control. It took quite a few minutes to make it up the steep hill, but he did it! I almost passed out from holding my breath, and my hand went numb from clutching the arm rest so tightly, but we made it safe and sound. Whew!

We unpacked the truck - which was not as easy as it sounds as we were skating on ice the entire time. The ice was so thick we didn't even leave feet print!

We weren't expecting to be here this weekend, so we had very little groceries. We decided we needed to go to town and buy a few staples. I ran around and took some pictures of our Winter Wonderland, while Bernie went down to check out the road. He came up to get me and let me know he would feel better about it if we spread some gravel on the steep hill that goes up at the end of the driveway. So we grabbed the Trail Blazer, loaded it with gravel a couple of times, and spread it on the hill he was concerned with. He also decided that he would leave the truck at the beginning of the driveway when we returned. So when we finished with the gravel, he drove the truck down, and I followed him in the Trail Blazer. He made it up the hill just fine!

We got the necessities we needed at the grocery store, which mainly consisted of beer and the ingredients for lasagna, and we headed back to the homestead. As planned, we left the truck at the front of the driveway, loaded the Trail Blazer with the groceries, and headed up to the house.

I've got the lasagna on now and it's snowing again to beat the band. But it's a long weekend for us here, because of the President's Day holiday. So we'll have all day tomorrow to shovel snow and do fun things like that.

By the way, we checked on the bees. I was actually pretty scared when we first saw the hives. They were covered in ice, and the bottom openings were sealed with it. But we removed all the ice and put our ears to the hives and could hear them angrily buzzing inside. These poor little girls are obviously NOT cold weather creatures. I told them it makes no sense to me - they are RUSSIAN bees for heaven's sake. That seemed to make them buzz even more angrily. I quickly removed the ice and left.

Bee Free,

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