in my big, green tractor… Or so goes the Jason Aldean song.
And here, on the ranch, one of our two tractors is a Deere. Someday, I imagine we’ll have two or three John Deere tractors. And yes, I do think the tractor is sexy. It takes hay to the cows; hay to the horses, works the arena ground flawlessly, has pushed my pickup out a snow drift; and as recently as last week (Wednesday to be exact) pushed two other people’s cars out of snow drifts. Wasn’t that during a blizzard you ask? Why yes, yes it was! Those are funny stories in and of themselves.
Zach’s cousin, Danial, had come up to our house at around 1pm on Wednesday, as a couple days earlier we’d decided, he and I, that a blizzard sounded like a good excuse to have a Lord of the Rings Marathon. Who wouldn’t want to watch the smokin’ hot Vigo Mortenson and Orlando Bloom for nearly 12 hours of action? I’m sure that Danial wasn’t watching for that reason. Maybe I don’t either. Maybe the two of them are just a bonus? Anyway, several beers, spiked hot chocolates, and 1 and 1/2 movies later, Danial decided it was time to head back to Guthrie’s house, where he lives. Guth is Zach’s younger brother- they’re 3 years apart in age and Guth lives about 1/4 mile to the east of us, on the other side of the road. He had already said he had to time the entry to the driveway of our house, just right when he came in that afternoon so I wasn’t sure he would be able to get out of the driveway in his car- I’d managed to get my 4×4 pickup stuck in the drift left there by the Christmas blizzard. So I watch him pull down the driveway, and then I see him get out, and walk around; I thought he was assessing the drift. Next thing I know, he’s back in the house and in his words, “stuck bigger ‘n shit.” In the meantime, Zach had been out feeding the cows, in the Big Green tractor, and was going to be heading back to our house at any moment. I wanted to get a hold of him so he could either a) bring the tractor up himself, or b) have his youngest brother, Bud bring it. Because either way, I didn’t figure that with as hard it was snowing and blowing outside they’d want to be out there with a shovel digging him out.
However, I couldn’t get ahold of Zach. I don’t know if he wasn’t getting the calls (cell service here is spotty at best), or couldn’t hear the phone or what, but by this time it was nearly 8:30 and I was getting worried because he had called me around 6:45 and said he was out feeding one last time. I thought gosh, that phone call came a long time ago, I hope he’s okay. Because when it’s blizzarding it’s not like you can see past about 10 feet in front of you, so despite the fact that the tractor lights up like a Christmas tree I wouldn’t have seen him in the pasture anyway. At around 8:45 I see him coming in the pickup- and next thing I know, he’s shoveling away. By this time, I get a text from Bud’s wife, Kirsten (the only other woman on the place, besides, Zach’s mom, Granny), who says that Bud is bringing the tractor up to rescue Zach who’s stuck in our driveway. I text her back and say, well, it’s not Zach that’s stuck, it’s Danial. I wasn’t sure that Zach knew that Bud was coming with the tractor- why I assumed he hadn’t called Bud was not in my realm of possibilities at this point, so I bundle up and head out to tell Zach that Bud was bringing Big Green up to help. As soon as I get dressed, I can see Bud in the tractor, coming up the road. I figure, what the heck, I’ve already got all these clothes on, might as well brave the outdoors with the boys.
As soon as I get there, Bud goes to plowing the snow drift off the road. It’s not so much plowing as it is using the big scoop shovel and pushing the snow off. But let’s not split hairs, okay? They decide they have the road cleared enough for him to get out so they say, “hey, Jenn you wanna drive while we push?”
“Um, me? Sure.”
I jump behind the wheel, they push, and we go nowhere.
Keep in mind, while we’re at this, it’s blowing snow everywhere, is in single digits at best, with negative wind chills in the double digits.
At this point they decide they’re going to use Big Green to push the car out of the snow. So Zach jumps in to drive the tractor, Bud jumps in the pickup to move it, and Danial jumps behind the wheel of his car. I run over and get in the truck with Bud, and he says, “Well bless your heart, you tried.” I’m like, “gosh, I realize I’m not a super snow driver, but that’s how we say F U in the South!”
He says, “Oh, I didn’t realize you weren’t Danial! There’s no amount of good driving getting anyone unstuck from a drift like that.” Whew. I feel better now!
While the two of us sat in a warm pickup opining the cold air, discussing how tomorrow night we’d be able to throw warm water outside and have it turn to frost before it hit the ground, we see Guthrie head up the drive from Granny’s house to his house; and then we see him…wait for it…wait for it… get stuck. We’d already planned to have Danial follow the tractor home because during the last blizzard we had to plow Guthrie’s drive as well. Bud, being the uber smart ass that he is, texts Guth and writes, “you might want to wait to go up your driveway, you might get stuck.” Yes, Bud is funny. You can stop laughing now.
Meanwhile, Zach drives around to the back of Danial’s car, dumps the round bale that is typically on the hay fork in the back (of course it wasn’t when I took pictures of the tractor!) and then picks it up again in the bucket and grappling hooks so he can use the big hay bale to push the car out of the snow and not damage the car. That plan, well it worked. Danial’s car came out of the drift, because Big Green didn’t give it a chance to lip off about it. Once they got Danial’s car out, Zach proceeded to plow the driveway. By this time Danial had joined us in the pickup and we’d started looking for the bottle of Skyy Vodka that I’d left at Bud’s house a couple nights earlier. We were just about to start tugging on that, (because really, what warms you better than shots of vodka?) when Zach backed the tractor up next to the pickup. Bud got out because he figured he wanted something; pops back in and says, “he wants female companionship” so out I go.
Just in time to miss the vodka shots. Darn the luck!
Zach takes the tractor up the road and we head off to rescue Guth. Fifteen minutes later we had moved enough snow to let them get in and out of the driveway, and we pushed Guth out the same we we pushed Danial out. I have to mention here, however that it was so cold, that despite the fact that the heater was running in the tractor, the windows were iced over on the outside, making it really hard to see. The heater just couldn’t keep up.
Bud and Zach traded vehicles and we headed for home. I had forgotten, in all the hubbub, that I had been re-warming short-ribs from the day before; so Zach’s supper was slightly burnt by the time we got home. But he loves me, so he ate it anyway and said it was better that way- because the onions got caramelized. I’m sure by now, some of you are thinking, well why didn’t you wait to plow Danial’s car out? Well for one, Zach couldn’t get in our driveway, but for two, if we’d have left it, it would have been an even bigger mess by morning with more snow piling up around it, and would have taken hours to get it unstuck instead of just the 30 minutes we spent on it that night.
See, life in the middle of nowhere, nowhere isn’t boring. Ever!