1.24.2015 Blizzard Back Therapy

Tuesday morning something happened that has not happened in a very long time. My lower back went into a major spasm. When this happens, I walk like an ape, knuckles dragging. There’s a lot of panting and hissing, and I am quite prone to vulgarity. Since this happened before morning chores, and my husband had already left for work and my son was about to leave for school, I was in a pickle. An immediate double dose of ibuprofen and 30 minutes of stretching got me upright enough to get through chores – hauling water to all my animals mostly.

When I got back to the house, I spent the next several hours crawling and ape walking about, tearing the house apart like some desperate crack addict looking for a fix, only I was in search of the electronic pulse massager. (Bought this past summer to help my husband through a back episode.) I made a huge mess. I didn’t care. I said vile things about my family members who are always rearranging my filing system of stuff. I texted my son. I texted my daughter. Time for the Hail Mary. I texted my husband, who in the 24 years we have been married, has never known where anything was located.  He casually replied, “It’s in a shoe box under my dresser.”IMG_1700

Hallelujah! At last! Sweet relief. Electro shock therapy and a heating pad. This combined with all the water hauling has pulled me out of this episode faster than any other I’ve ever had. But it was shoveling snow that took the final twinges out of my back. And wow, did we get some snow!

It started Friday morning, just after we finished putting the horses out and stocking the main barn with enough hay for a week. The first flakes started falling as we brought hay bales down to the rooster pen to block the wind. At first, we only put bales on the north side, but as the storm progressed, I added bales to the east (because the storm was a noreaster), and then to the western side because when the winds really started howling, they came out of the northwest. The bachelor pad had become the bachelor bunker. The ducks and chickens I never let out of their pens. Chickens wouldn’t have gone out anyway. Ducks would have hunkered down next to the house and gotten buried.

Then every three hours, I went out and swept the off the hoophouses. We were getting roughly an inch of snow per hour. From 9 am to around 6. My husband and I did evening chores together. (I had given my border the evening off.) At that point the wind picked up and the sleet started. I set my alarm for midnight. Got up and checked the hoophouses again, but the wind was howling and keeping them clear.

The sleet had changed back to snow by the time the sun came up on Saturday and that wind was still howling and miserable. My husband helped with the morning chores. Since wagons and wheel barrows won’t go through snow, my hubby warmed up the tractor and we used that to haul hay down to the rooster pen to finalize the touches on the bachelor bunker.

The Rooster Pen - a chicken tractor hemmed in with hay bales on three sides.

The Rooster Pen – a chicken tractor hemmed in with hay bales on three sides.

Then Hubs made several passes around the farm, compacting the snow in our work areas. The tractor finally got a name today.  “Honey Badger,” because the Kubota simply doesn’t care what you ask it to do or in what conditions it must work.  It just does the job.

Blazing trails. Moose the dog just wants chores to be over. "Can we go inside, please! This isn't fun anymore."

Blazing trails. Moose the dog just wants chores to be over. “Can we go inside, please! This isn’t fun anymore.”

Well, sort of.  The wind promptly filled in all the packed tractor tire ruts. There are some pretty horrific drifts out there. The snow on the east side of old hoophouse is hip deep, but most of that is what I swept off the top.

The snow was finally easing off when it came time for Saturday evening chores. As I was filling water jugs, my border came trudging up the driveway and another neighbor arrived by pickup.   Both were going a little stir crazy from sitting through two days of snow doing nothing.  Four people to lead in four horses that were anxious to get out of the weather.

Ever since I started serving hot alfalfa tea, Pony is always the first in line at the gate come dinner time.

Ever since I started serving hot alfalfa tea, Pony is always the first in line at the gate come dinner time.

That worked out well and chores were done in no time. Sometime between 6 and 10 pm, another couple of inches of snow blew up onto the steps. I shoveled it off and took a tape measure out into the yard.

Here’s my best guess. 10 inches of snow yesterday. Followed by an unknown amount of sleet. And then 5 inches of snow today. Definitely not the 18-24” forecasted, but more than enough.

This week was mostly about nursing myself out of that back spasm, storm prep and getting all the animals through said storm. But I have permission from my boys to make this again. Soon. Lima Bean Stew with Tomatoes and OlivesIMG_1689

And here a few bunny trails I came across this week, thanks to the Alton Browncast #59. Do with them what you will.

  • Aged Eggnog
  • Salt-cured egg yolks
  • Homemade Beer Vinegar

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