She takes great pleasure in turning the tables on me when I mistakenly ask her an OR question.
I am thinking the higher powers in charge of my life may have a touch of that same sense of humor.
I requested that we have some snow before we left our place in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and headed back to the Lowcountry of Georgia for winter. The first snowfall always lifts my spirits.
About a week before we were to leave we received a nice four-inch dusting. Enough to turn everything white, but not enough to hamper driving anywhere – which is an important consideration when we are fourteen miles of logging roads away from a county-maintained road. Indeed, I loved watching the snow come down and felt great that we were able to experience a touch of winter.
I should have thanked my overseers for that tasteful answer to my request, packed quickly and left.
But no. We had set November 13 as the date to leave camp and we kept it.
Jan and I have overwintered at our place. I have a Bobcat with a snowplow attachment—except I had already pulled the battery from “Bob” and the hydraulics weren’t operating. I reattached the battery but was going to have to rely on using the bucket to clear snow.
The storm was to start Monday morning and continue off and on through Wednesday morning. We were to leave on Thursday and did not have enough time to get everything done in order to leave before the storm hit.
Loggers are active in woods not too far from us, and normally by late Wednesday or early Thursday they would have made the roads passable to their jobs, leaving me maybe 2.5 miles of uncleared road for Bob and his bucket. It wouldn’t be much fun, but it would be doable. But this year rifle deer season opens on Saturday (yesterday 11/15) and, given the storm wasn’t going to end until Wednesday, there was a very good chance they wouldn’t bother taking care of the roads until after opening weekend – or later. (Pretty much the first week of deer season most of the logging shuts down because the guys are out at camp.)
I thought about calling him this time, but I know some loggers who are working about six miles from my place (they worked my selective cut a few years back) and are going to be working past me later this winter and hauling logs over my property. During the start of the storm, I drove to where they were working and convinced them to make sure that I could get out.
And then the snow came. And came. And came. I used Bob to clear my driveway up to the road and counted on the loggers holding up their end of the bargain. Tuesday afternoon they arrived in a Skidder pulling a mechanism that packed down the snow and pushed the excess aside. We had our one-lane path out through about 14” of snow.
And the snow kept coming the rest of Tuesday and Wednesday, adding another four-five inches or so. But we have a Subaru with high wheel clearance and it soldiered us out on Thursday without incident. Almost.
With twelve miles behind us and two to go to the first maintained road we met a pickup. No loggers had plowed the road, but there had been some dragging done in spots and lots of traffic of hunters getting out to their camps, setting up bait piles, etc. I pulled over to the right and the pick-up pulled over to his right – too far to his right. He felt himself slip a bit and made the major mistake of not continuing forward and correcting back toward the better part of the road. He stopped and when he tried backing up, his front end sluiced off the road.
So, we drove out—made it safely, although much later than expected. This experience has led some of my friends to question (yet again) my sanity in staying up north as late as we did.
But here’s the thing: Wednesday afternoon I was done with all the closing chores I could do, leaving only the final day’s tasks. That allowed me time for a marvelous snowshoe ramble through my woods. (Jan wants me to insert here that she was cleaning bathrooms and doing laundry…and I will do that since she’s reading over my shoulder. I will also mention that I was up two hours earlier than she in the morning…)
And that experience made all the rest worthwhile.
But next time, I’ll try to be a bit more careful how I frame my wish.