The first year or two that we were on the homestead, I was using the tractor to do all the ploughing. Or shovels when the tractor was out of commission.
The steep banks alongside the driveway worried me. The tractor was very narrow and tall, and not nearly as stable as my up-til-then exposure to full sized farm tractors had led me to believe.
While I never actually tipped the tractor over, there were several times that I consider “close calls” where it was up on two or three wheels.
To help alleviate some of my concerns about this possibility during the winter season when I couldn’t see the banks, I purchased many reflective sticks, or posts with small reflectors at the top of them, which I lined the driveway with.
As I switched to the ATV and gained confidence in its entirely superior stability, I started to become less and less retentive about lining the driveway; in fact, last season I believe I skipped them entirely. (I remove them in the spring).
With our new neighbour J!, who is willing to give us the occasional plough with his truck to keep the banks back nice and far, I felt it may be important to mark out landmarks that I’m very aware of, but that he may not be. Several decorative (i.e. too heavy to move) boulders, the walkway to the sauna, a stump that I got as low as possible, but could still catch the bottom edge of a blade, etc, all received a marking. I even put them at the bottom of the stairs and on the other side of the sauna walk to help with us walking around the homestead.
A few days ago, we visited with Mummu and Grandpa to deliver to them a futon which they had purchased, anticipating that we may have need of “crashing” at their place due to weather or other circumstances. As a very much appreciated gesture, they sprang for some take away food, so we fellowshipped with them until it started to grow dark before heading back to the cabin.
Upon arriving back at the cabin, it was very dark and yet I knew that we also had very little power, so I wanted to run the generator for a little bit before retiring. Donna and Kenny headed inside while I meandered towards the sauna.
It was overcast, and had snowed, so there was no light, and really no packed trail to help me stay on the straight and narrow towards the sauna. As I approached the halfway mark between the cabin and the sauna, my right foot encountered a slight resistance, followed by a sharp release and “snap” that really capped off a lovely evening – a stinging pain that really only half of the population can appreciate.
My shriek was carried away on the wind, and I continued on bow-legged to the sauna, where I started the generator. I usually let it warm up by walking around the deck of the sauna once or twice before turning off the choke, and by the time I did this, the indignity thrust upon me was mostly forgotten. Besides, I did have a special beverage waiting for me inside.
The next morning I headed back outside to run the generator a little more, and the evidence from the night before was plain to see…
The footprints and groove in the snow tell the whole tale I’m sure.
The real path is just slightly to the left of the marker, as you can plainly see in the light.
I’ve since ordered some more solar lights to mount between the cabin and sauna.