Thursday, March 12, 2009


Tuesday we had another blizzard. Another one of those sounds-looks-feels-tastes-like a blizzard but only brings six inches of snow. Yet with the ferocious winds that came with it, those six inches turned into drifts nearly three feet high. Thankfully our homestead comes complete with a living windbreak, likely planted when the house was built in 1912. Homesteaders back then knew the value of a good windbreak. And as windbreaks go, our grove is superb. Only, the wind breaks a sharp right and dumps everything at the end of the drive.

One of our neighbors drove by while we were shoveling and took pity. Just after hubby had come inside and begun to peel off snow-crusted layers, we hear a loud rumbling from outside. Our neighbor has brought over his tractor and is making quick work of the high drifts to either side of the drive. My husband goes out to greet and thank him. "You should have called your neighbors," Mr. Melcher says. "That's what they're for." He's right, of course. Old urban habits die hard. Tomorrow I must remember to stop by his house with some eggs and homemade jam.

Our neighbor took time to proudly explain how his snow-blower tractor attachment was built. Mr. Melcher bought it from an old machinist by the name of Hanson working in Graceville, Minnesota. The blowing unit came from an old combine, the part of the combine that blows the chaff out the back. The turning power comes from a rear driveshaft from an old Ford truck. The two augers were hand made, and the whole thing was welded and bolted together. And - get this - it was built in 1973. That's 36 years ago. And it's still running like a charm. Ingenuity and skill like that just boggles my brain.


Karen said...

Poor hubby. That's backbreaking work!! Any chance of your snowplow working soon? I seem to remember shovelling my kids out last Easter!! I'm hoping for a warmer visit this time...see what you can do!

Jo said...

I'll work on it!

So far hubby's back is holding out. Hopefully next week's thaw will melt everything away.

Then we get to deal with mud.

Kathy said...

Good thing I'm not bringing the furry beast. I always feels so bad when she tracks mud into your house. And when she chases your chickens. (Hey - it only happened once! And she wasn't technically chasing them, she was just running to them in excitement to say hi! You can hardly blame her if they completely overreacted and freaked out. In fact, how rude of them to respond to a guest like that).

Jo said...

Yes, I'm afraid my chickens have very poor manners. But hey - now I know that chickens can fly eight feet straight up in the air to get away from a dog barreling toward them at full speed. That's a useful thing to know.

Don't worry about the mud - remember, I have three little boys. Feel free to bring the beast!