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The Best/Worst Snowstorm in Years

People in Northern Colorado are suffering from a drought. It is inevitable, that conversations between friends or strangers will include some talk about the drought. “Holy cow, it is sure dry this spring.” “We sure could use some moisture.”

Mother Nature was listening. I think she was tired of all the complaining. She gave us the most snow since 2003. And she rammed it down our throats.

Last Monday, Elaine called the store to inform Ivy and I the weather conditions were deteriorating quickly at home. She thought we might want to close the store early, grab some provisions and get home. Ivy and I did some last minute shopping and headed for home.

The last eleven and a half miles on our journey to our house are on dirt roads. Throw in a couple steep grades, sharp curves, deer crossings and a couple ranchers driving cattle down the road and we are home.

Monday, the ice, snow, mud and poor visibility made the driving all the more fun. (Well, I was enjoying the fact that Ivy was terrified and could not sleep.) On one particular steep hill with numerous sharp curves, our truck could not decide if it wanted slide backwards, slide into the ditch or last choice, find its way up the hill. It took twenty minutes to drive 1/4 mile up this hill. I was glad we had full batteries on our cell phones, because I was sure we were going to need them.

A few miles down the road I could see the snowplows ahead of us. What a relief. The sad thing about that is they weren’t moving. One of the plows had lost sight of the edge of the road and slid down into a ditch. The second plow was trying to pull the first plow back onto the road. The plows had the road blocked in both directions. Ivy and I were forced to wait until the road open all the while the conditions are getting worse.

Another 20 minute wait and we were on our way. It actually worked out, we got behind the snowplows and let them lead us home. Unfortunately, county snowplows do not stop for residential driveways. They take the snow from the road and put it right across your driveway. We were home but we couldn’t get into our driveway. I waited in the road for the snowplows to turn around and plow back down the road. I stopped the plows and asked the drivers to open our driveway. They opened our drive; we made it home.

We fed the livestock and snuggled in the house for the night. The snow depth was 15″. By morning the snow depth was 21″. The snowfall had slowed, but it continued falling. The Twins’ school called to cancel school for the day. My employer mentioned I should stay home. (I told you I have a great job.) A snow day! I actually brought out my cross-country skies and snowshoes. (The first time in 9 years.) The family played outside until late afternoon.

Around 5:00 PM, Lizzie (the less than brilliant Great Pyrenees) decided she was not finished playing outside. She hung around for about 15 seconds before heading east. Heading east in snow that is now 25″ deep. Walter (the less than brilliant Great Dane mix) looked around and said, “Well I might as well go with her. Hey Lizzie, wait up! Oh forget it, I will just catch you.” They took off in the snow. Followed by Ivy, and then Boy Twin, and then Girl Twin. Me, I sat down, put the snowshoes back on and headed east after the group.

Chasing kids chasing dogs through 25″ deep snow will wear a senior citizen (like me) out. I chased the kids down about a mile away yelling at them to return home, “The dogs will come home.” Of course the kids ignored me, and continued the chase. At least Girl Twin came to her senses (at Ivy’s insistence) and returned home. The rest of us continued the chase. Almost two miles from home, the dogs allowed themselves to be caught. We can start heading back to the house. Two miles, 25″ snow, exhausted dogs, but we can head for home.

Lizzie decided she might need to rest awhile. She laid down. I wanted to lay down with her, but I wanted to lay down with a television. The “Great Dog Chase -Spring 2013″ lasted two hours and I was tired and wet before it started.

By Wednesday morning, the snow was 30″ deep. No school again. I couldn’t get to work either. (I didn’t try very hard.) The roads have not been plowed. We’re stuck here. The Twins instinctively realize we cannot get to town. They start drinking orange juice and milk faster than they ever drank in their lives. Food was being consumed at four times their normal rate. I was going crazy from being snowbound. I was unable to stop thinking about “The Shining”.

I needed to get out of there. I started plowing the driveway. Plowing the driveway, with the snow now blowing. I lost the edge of the driveway and slid into the pasture. I was stuck. We had exhausted our hay supply, with the animals hungry and trying to walk in the deep snow. Thank God, we were able to borrow hay from a neighbor. He delivered the hay with a four-wheel drive tractor. This was when I realized, “Hey, this snowstorm is just not fun anymore.” OK, I realized this before, but I hoped it was going to get better.

Thursday! The wind is blowing 35 mph. We have snow drifts over four feet high. However, the snow plows have reached our driveway. I am able to get a truck to the road. A truck I seldom drive. A truck I seldom put gas in. Yep, I ran out of gas, half way to the nearest gas station. Ivy and I hitched a ride into town. We open the store for the last two hours of the day. My employer “loaned” me another truck that was better in snow conditions. I picked up some hay and more groceries. Ivy closed the store and we headed home.

Remember the wind? The wind that was blowing the roads shut, again. Arriving home our driveway is impassable. We loaded our hay on the Twins’ sled, put on our snowshoes and drug the hay down the driveway to the livestock. The same driveway that is 1/4 mile long, now drifting to depths of four feet. Yes, this is turning better every minute.

Friday, the school bus was stuck on the unplowed, drifted over roads. No school again. Ivy and I snowshoed to the road where the truck was left the night before. We drove the truck through the drifts on the road to get to town. The store is open at 10:00 AM for the first time since Monday. I am at work for the first time since Monday. Friday the temperature hits 45 degrees. We are finally getting the moisture from the melting snow. This is what we wanted. It was the other “adventures” I could live without. I will never complain about the drought again. Mother Nature does not have a sense of humor.

I can’t leave yet. Do me a favor, say a prayer for the people of Boston. Please, hug and hold someone you love. God bless you guys.

Our crazy lives!


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