Thursday, February 3, 2011

At the Mercy of the Commish

Okay, so I readily admit that as a kid and then later as a teacher, I loved snow days. I watched the weather and then did a small dance when our district was announced on the radio. So exciting.

This is when I lived in town as a kid, near great hills, and had a mom who would make cinnamon rolls for breakfast in celebration (she was a teacher, too). Later, during my time as a teacher, and while I lived in the "big city" (well, not a huge city, but still), I took advantage of really good city snow plows, and would spend my snow days going to the gym, running errands, and maybe even shopping. They were glorious.

However, I never truly experienced the affects of a snow day until I was at home in 2006, with our four day old baby and 20 month old toddler (read: another baby), completely stranded on our drifted-over road. We had received over 16 inches of snow the first day we had brought our second child home. Having only lived in our home for six months, I was new to a lot of the aspects of country living. Our road was impassable, and I didn't understand why no one was digging us out. Where were our snow plows? Thankfully, that particular snow was light and fluffy, and the morning after it had fallen, Joe, who was still new to farming, without any livestock, had fun plowing through our road on his way to my uncle's and grandpa's houses.

Fast forward to this year, add in another kid and another pregnancy, 100 head of cattle (most of them who are going to calve here relatively soon), and then factor in an icy, heavy, drifting snow, and you've got yourself a true snow day. After seeing all my city and town friends' pictures on Facebook: cute kids bundled up, sledding, and enjoying the day off of work, all set against the backdrop of plowed roads, thanks to the city's snow plows, I reported in frustration that Joe had to leave his tractor and walk the rest of the way to the calving barn, as our road and even the field were impassable. While my girls have enjoyed playing outside, Joe and I (well, Joe mainly) are completely stressed out when he is unable to get to his calves. We were completely at the mercy of our road commissioner, and he was no where in sight. All day. And into the evening. For two days.

By late in second day, we were starting to get nervous. Joe was nervous about his new calves and heifers who were ready to go (And, of course, to punctuate a really nasty snow day, there was a calf born in the night. One that spent most of the day in the truck, warming up as Joe ran errands!). I was nervous because what if there was a fire? What if we needed an ambulance? What if I needed contact with people other than my FAMILY?? There was no way anything, other than something with a large blade across it's front could pass through our road. We even debated contacting friends with snowmobiles to get Joe to the calving barn. I always thought I was the control freak, but after last night's pacing and cursing our (I'm sure very nice) road commissioner, I'm realizing he and I are soooo much a like in the control-freak aspect of our personalities!

However, at about 6:30 last night, it was like a scene in a movie. Back in the distance of our little gravel road, coming up over a hill, the bright lights atop a large road maintainer were spotted! They lit the way for what would be our sweet freedom, and an end to Joe's panic. HE HAD COME!! Our superhero for the day, the COMMISH!!

Joe and I despise being at the mercy of someone else, especially when our livelihood is at stake. It is not only sad, but costly for us to lose calves, therefore, it is necessary for Joe to do his checks often. Being at the mercy of our road commissioner was enough to make us both crazy, crazier than a "normal" snow day antsy feeling.

Until I moved out here onto a county side road, at the very southernmost part of a really loooooong county, 30 minutes away from the metropolis where most of the plowing takes place, did I truly understand why school days are canceled due to snow. Roads can be impassable, and there's not enough time and people to get to all roads so that buses can pass through, and until we have a specific snowblower attachment for our tractors, on days like yesterday, we will be stuck.

Now that I realize we are at the mercy of someone else for our safety and sanity, I'm prayerful that Snowmaggedon, Snowpocolypse, Snownado, or the Snowtorious B.I.G. will NEVER happen again.

Or, I'll be better prepared with a hotel room in the city and a snowmobile for my husband.


  1. Remember those cinnamon rolls your Mom made? I bet the road commissioner could be enticed with some after his long days & nights in the plow! A little investment for the next snow storm.....and there WILL be a next I fear.

  2. I found your blog through Real Farmwives of America and I just wanted to say that I love reading your posts. I particularly enjoyed the previous post. We have cattle also and I get so frustrated when Oprah gets on one of her "kicks" about going vegan and the "slaughter houses" and so on. You summed it up quite nicely! Keep up the good work.

  3. In the summer, my husband wants a Polaris Ranger. In the winter, it's a snowmobile. Maybe someday we will be able to afford both!