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When is this winter going to end?

When is this winter going to end?

Winter is not my favorite time of year. I don’t mind cold, I love snow. I just hate the color of my surroundings. I find the brown/gray color of the trees, depressing. I need real color, color wheel color. Elaine can find enjoyment in winters grays and browns. It shouldn’t surprise anyone; this is a woman’s whose favorite color is synonymous with a terracotta pot.

Things happen in winter that can’t happen any other time of year. Pipes freezing, snow and ice caused traffic accidents.

Winter in the mountains has its own set of challenges. Pastures die out. The livestock must have supplemental feed. They will eat the gray, brown dead looking grass and plants, but it provides little nourishment, so hay or grain must be supplemented into the daily food routine. The water in the tanks freeze. Oh yeah, we have heaters in the tanks, which 99% of the time the heaters keep the water thawed. It is that 1% of the time when something happens with the electricity that takes the fun out of it. What can happen to the electricity? Yaks will unplug the heaters by hooking the cords with their horns. Of course, there are the good ol’ power outages.

Wildlife go to great lengths to find food in winter; which brings me to the first half of my story.

Last Friday, Ivy and I decided to ride into the store together. This is one of the luxuries that winter allows the Sipes family. Construction is not as plentiful in the winter months and my lack of work allows us ride into the store together. In the three other seasons I leave the house much earlier.

We drive 11-1/2 miles of hilly, curvy, dirt road before we get to a paved road every morning on our way to the store. Friday morning, while cresting a hill and rounding a curve, we had the “pleasure” of having a deer jump in front of the truck. That, combined with bright sunshine will make a person forget how narrow mountain roads can be. Needless to say, I drove off the road, down into a ditch, through about 70’ of a rancher’s fence. If any good can be reported, it is that the deer walked away unscathed. I was able to keep the truck on at least three wheels touching the ground at all times.

The front of the truck was destroyed. The passenger side of the truck is scratched and dented from the front to the back, the tail light is broken. Ivy and I are fine. The truck can be repaired. The deer is most likely looking for food, hopefully, away from the roads.

Saturday, I spent the day repairing 70’ of the neighbor’s fence. The deer did not even offer to help. I know he was watching me. At least the weather was good. The temperature was in the upper fifties with little wind. As I finish writing this the temperature last night was -21 degrees F. This is winter in the mountains of Northern Colorado.

The second half of this story also involves the road, our truck, Ivy and me.

Dirt roads in the area are maintained by the county, with emphasis on dust control. Dust suppressant is sprayed on the road several times a year. The suppressant is an oily liquid that when mixed with dirt and allowed to dry becomes a very hard, paving like surface. Until it gets wet. Rain or melting snow turns the road surface into 2” of slimy, slick mud with the consistency of a milkshake.

Earlier this winter Ivy and I were driving to the store. It had snowed earlier, the temperature warmed, the snow started melting. The road was rapidly achieving a nice milkshake consistency. Coming down a slight hill the rear wheels of the truck decided to pass the front wheels of the truck. For a short time I was driving backwards down the road. Ivy was turning white and basically speechless. After a couple seconds of uncontrolled spinning I was able to turn the truck turned around and get headed in the right direction. That was about the time I realized and commented “OH, this is bad!” and slid into the ditch and up against a fence.

This time we didn’t actually destroy the fence. The barb wire was not broken, it was pulled away from a post. The truck didn’t fare as well. Ivy and I were fine. OK, it was a while before Ivy’s color came back.

By now some of you think I should slow down when I drive. I thought about it myself. However I have a better idea. I will not let Ivy ride with me again, at least not in the winter.

Our crazy lives


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