Thursday, February 28, 2008

In A Rut

There is no photo with this entry.

There are some moments that you realize are historic, but nevertheless should NOT be documented in film, pixels, whatever. Neither should names be named nor identity in any way be divulged. Those of you who guess the characters in this story, bite your tongues, keep your confidence, and do not EVEN haze them about it!

Such was the nature of the first use of Pinwheel Farm's new circle drive.

One of our partner businesses is storing some items at the new barn. They came and got some of said items this morning, then returned this evening to put them back in storage.

Meanwhile, the temperature had been above freezing all day, though it was cloudy and not particularly pleasant. Despite the chill in the air, some thawing of the frozen ground had occurred. The only time our soil really gets muddy is when the ground still has deep frost in it, but the surface is thawed and there is water saturating the soil down to the frost layer. Such was the situation today...especially since we have had so much snow melting that the puddles spanned a goodly portion of the back yard.

Every step I take, I risk sinking into the dark slurry until my foot finds the frost layer. As soon as the ground completely thaws, all that extra water will drain out in a matter of minutes, and the ground will soon be as firm underfoot as it normally is. Meanwhile, I carefully pick my way from tussock of grass to stick to patch of unthawed snow, trying not churn up too much of the lawn.

But one does not comprehend this from a truck. Not at the end of a long work day. Not when the ground was solid enough (barely) to drive on mere hours ago. No, one just drives the truck and trailer down the neighbor's drive to the point where the barn drive branches off through a narrow gap between shed and tree, and keeps going....

Maybe. Suddenly the mud had absorbed all the forward momentum available, and there sat the truck and trailer in the narrow gap, firmly mired in deep trenches. All motorized efforts at un-sticking failed.

You can try to push a truck out of a mud pit, but pushing a truck AND trailer is some combination of futile and dangerous that was obvious to everyone.

Thankfully it was a little trailer. So they unloaded it by hand, carried things in, detached the trailer. Now there was hope of unmiring the truck....

But then what? The trailer was blocking the narrow gap because the truck was in the way of dragging the trailer into the barnyard.

So that became the occasion of the first vehicle driving through the farm's new circle drive. Thankfully the arborist came just yesterday and ground out the huge stump that had been blocking the new drive.

Gates were opened. I went back to attend the chore helper making his rounds...I've long since done my share of pushing trucks, esp. when there are big guys around to do it. The truck was pushed out of the mud and sailed merrily around the circle drive. From the sheep pen, in the twilight, I could see the headlights illuminate various buildings and trees as the truck circled...and then they never came out from behind the barn.

Soon, the sound of slamming truck door and tires spinning in the mud. Now the truck is mired in my side yard, digging ruts in the ice-bottomed sea of mud there. I'd walked it myself, judged it firm enough if they made a good run for it, but evidently I was wrong.....

Thankfully, about four winters ago we'd spent the winter using come-alongs to postion big round bales of brome hay for the sheep, since weather interfered with our normal bale-moving day with aneighbor's tractor (we have none). As a result we have lots of heavy-duty yellow webbing tow straps...enough, in fact, to reach from the mired truck to my truck in the gravelled driveway. And despite my lousy tires, I was able...just pull the other truck onto solid ground.

So the circle drive was celebrated by installing deep ruts, running in reverse of our planned one-way traffic flow, in circumstances no one wants to celebrate.

But, at least those folks aren't spending the night with us!

1 comment:

Catlady said...

Ah, yes... memories...of days of rain, of waterlogged grassy slopes...of trying to turn a truck around... of needing to ask a friend to walk a long walk in said nasty rain to get help....

At least, though, there wasn't mud then... :)