November 21, 2020

Getting ready for snow at Holly Tree Manor

According to the Farmer's Almanac, a publication my grandfather set a lot of store in, we're going to get walloped by a big snow in February. This isn't as dire a prediction as one may think. It was the second week of February 1983 when I had my first taste of being snowed in at the Manor. Thirty-six inches of snow fell in two days. Luckily, I obeyed my grandfather when he told me to park my car in his driveway, closer to the road. It was two weeks until enough snow melted that I was able to get it back my lane, but I was able to walk in and out to the car and back home. 

Cars quickly passed and SUVs became my vehicle of choice. With four-wheel drive, I'm able to break open tracks in the lane and get in and out without much problem. 

Then one fateful day, the spousal unit and I decided to purchase a sub-contract tractor with several attachments, including a bucket, a backhoe, and a snowblower. Here on the Manor we're not afraid to sing "Let it Snow!" Heck, I even traded my trusty Blazer in on a Charger, which, if you know cars, does not go well in the snow. (I drive the partner's pickup when it snows.)

The caveat to having this handy piece of snow moving equipment is that every year the loader and bucket need to come off the John Deere 1023 and the snowblower needs to go on. I'm sure it was a MAN who designed how the snowblower mounts up. 

Today was the day we decided to make the switch. It's always easier to do this before it gets bitterly cold but after we no longer need the loader and bucket for outside work. November is the time, generally over Thanksgiving weekend. But today was a balmy 60F and the ten-day forecast across next weekend is for cold and rain. So today it was. 

My partner can no longer get on the ground. More precisely, if he gets on the ground getting off the ground may not happen without someone calling for a lot of help. I'm the one who crawls under the John Deere 1023 and shoves the shaft over the sprocket and seeds the coupler. I don't like that job but it's not too difficult.

It normally takes about an hour to do this task. Today took longer. I'd not yet blown the leaves out from under the carport where we park the tractor, so I had to do that once the 1023 had been moved out. The old Craftsman mower had been parked where we rest the loader and bucket over the winter and when I tried to start it, it refused to fire and needed to be pushed out of the way. The 1023 needed to be fueled. The Colorado needed to be moved as I'd parked it too close to the shed to swing the tractor through the doors. Yes, we were an unorganized mess. 

In the end, tempers held, experience worked, and the job was accomplished. The 1023 and the John Deere 370 mower are both fueled. The pin is in the backhoe, and the loader and bucket sitting on level ground. We even called for carry-out for dinner so no one had to cook. And you know what?

Let. It. Snow. 

The Lady of Holly Tree Manor

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