Thursday, January 16, 2014

Winter Lessons Learned on the Farm

It's incredible the lessons you learn and the things you accomplish over the course of just one winter week ... when living on a farm!
It's official!  The farm exists!  It has a sign!

Perhaps the most important lesson - when you live on a farm ... by yourself... and the tractor (and snow plow) live in a shed at the end of the driveway (behind the house) which departs the main road, goes down a hill, across a bridge, and up a hill  ... it is not - I repeat not - a good idea to stay very late at work in downtown DC when it starts snowing just before evening rush hour.  My little Camry made it down the hill, across the bridge, and not so much up the hill.  That was a fun night.  And by morning, the scene outside was white.  Pure white.  Thankfully, the power stayed on and I was able to take the opportunity to work from home the next day.  Because there wasn't a chance I was making it out until I taught myself how to run the snow plow!  Which brings me to a few more lessons.

It turns out, apparently, that just because the snow plow is attached to the back of the tractor, this does not mean that you have to plow snow in reverse.  Thankfully the tractor drives right over the snow and disperses the snow behind it!  After living through 2 winters in Syracuse, New York - I suspected there was a technique to snow plowing.  I have now confirmed that.  And I have also confirmed that I don't get it.  I'm capable of plowing the snow.  In whatever first path I make.  I am not capable to making the path any wider.  Shit.  Sorta like backing up the horse trailer.  I always love when some guy says, "Can you just move it 3 feet to the left?"  No.  I can park it just about anywhere, once.  I cannot, however, move it 3 feet to the left or right once I get there. Nor can I, apparently, move my snow path 3 feet to the left or right.  Excellent.

This represents almost 2 hours of work.  Clearly my skills need some improvement!
It also turns out, my tractor is pretty awesome.  It mows grass.  It plows snow.  And now, for the first time in its 20 year life, it found a new talent - it moves cross country jumps!  In the middle of the Polar Vortex -- Tyson Rementer was building the first of the Trevi Manor "mini-Rolex" cross country course!!  I convinced him to postpone delivery by a day to let it warm up to 20 degrees.  Awesome.  And so we put all our faith in my little 20 year old tractor (that came with the farm) that it could unload Tyson's works of art -- and it did not disappoint.  Although I have to admit I had flashbacks of the day Phillip Dutton was riding Katchi and he was bucking and bucking, and PD very nearly got unseated (once! Okay, maybe twice!) -- I so never want to be the girl who owned the horse who broke PD's arm. Or whose tractor crushed course builder Tyson Rementer.  We only had one little incident with a falling house.  Twice.  Stupid house.

When I warmed up a few days later and took a good look at the jumps sitting in my front yard, waiting to be drug around the fields -- I am excited beyond belief!  The jumps are absolutely fantastic!  Beautifully built and absolutely perfect for how I train -- let the horses learn to hold a line and be quick on their feet at 2'6" long before they have to do it at 3'6".  We have a mini corner and narrow tables and rolltops.  Now if Tyson can get some banks and ditches built early this spring - I really will be living in "mini-Rolex"!!!! Cannot wait to get the horses out and start jumping these things!!! Winter be gone!

Narrow houses & rolltops -- plus a bench and table!  Heck of a sight to see out my bedroom window!

Prelim Corner -- at Beginner Novice height!  PERFECT!

Hi.  I'm a Mini Corner.  I'm sittin' in a field.  Somebody, please jump me!!!  Please!!