Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Ice and Snow

Growing up on the farm always meant there was something to do so when the snow and ice came for the most part it was a time to celebrate.  Chores were minimized but absolutely not eliminated.  Living in the country had its benefits but chores had to be done.  For example we had to feed the cows and calves, chickens and pigs and yes a few sheep.  We also had to make sure they could get water.  Everyone knew that water was more critical than food.  Luckily we had a creek that had running water so most of the animals and in particular the cattle could get a drink no matter what.  But there were cattle in pastures where there was not running water and in fact those were the places we had ponds (remember the frog gigging story) to capture water for the livestock.  The hardest part about this was that as the winter days dragged out the ponds would freeze over and sometimes get 6 to 12 inch thick ice on them.  We would have to take an ax, plus shovels, plus sledge hammers and go chop ice holes for the cattle every day.  Now that may not sound too bad but if you had to do it very often it is the one thing I always said I would never come back to the farm to do, chop ice.  I would have to tell you today that I would gladly buy back our farm and ranch and chop ice in the winter if Dee Johnson would sell it, at a reasonable price of course.

One of the things I did like about the ice was on occasion we, Larry and I, would take a chunk of ice and take some home made hockey sticks and play hockey on the ice.  It was a lot of fun until you would hear the cracking of the ice which scared the heck out of us.  If you fell in it was sure death in those cold waters and being out in the country.  One of the things I did not like was when you cut the ice there was mud that developed and your feet would get sucked into it and it was cold and getting colder the longer you stood there and chopped.  In fact it was easier to stand on the ice and chop toward the shore than stand on the shore and chop ice.

The view outside our house was absolutely incredible after a big snow.  One year we had about a 13 inch snow fall and the only way out was dad taking the Alice Chalmers tractor and driving up to Vea Harris's house where Cack Harrington had already cleared the roads so dad could carry the mail.  He had parked his pickup at Vea's house so he could carry the mail.  Of course not everyone could get their mail due to the snow but dad did his part.

The other great part was dad built massive sleds for us that we could take to the hills and slide around for hours only to come back to the warm fireplace and mom's cooking.  I think mom thoroughly enjoyed seeing us play so hard and then come in to warm up.  The snow and ice was caked on our shoes and clothes.  In fact the shoe laces were so covered you coul hardly untie them.  Probably one of the greatest reasons snow was so much fun is that we knew we had taken care of the animals and mom and dad basically turned us loose to have fun as if it were a national holiday.  Those were joyful times in our house as the days went by we always had the same routine of work, play and eat.  Now I would also have to tell you we did not watch a lot of TV and in fact we played games as a family.  Great fun!  Great times!

So what do you learn in the Osage?

  • Work is what you make it, not what it makes you.
  • Responsibility comes first before play along with a good attitude
  • Planning is important, plan for the winter and plan for the fun
Have a great day and thanks for your time,
gary@thepioneerman.com

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