Here’s a recent letter from John Wolf, farrier, farmer, smith, barn-whisperer, Riven Word refugee, woodrick-wright, and friend. The setting is Michigan, “between Nagg’s Bridge and Duffield”. The season, winter. And though we’ve never met, I know that Stella is a sweetheart of a dog.
My firewood rick got looking pretty thin last week, the weather has been pretty severe. I had a lot of wood cut out in the woodlot, about 1/8 mile from where I needed it. I got the loader tractor to start, plowed away the 3′ drifts in the dooryard, and got Stella’s truck out. A Dodge weapons carrier will go through 20″ of snow if handled judiciously, but apparently draws the line at 20″ of snow with an icey crust halfway down, then ice on the bottom. We got 10 feet.
I went back to the tractor shed for the loader, the starter caught fire. Put that out, got the scoop shovel, got the truck out partway and stuck it again where I had to turn. Cleared all of the snow from around it, to find sheet ice underneath.
Got a shovelful of coal cinders for under the wheels, it came out so easily that I almost made the machine shed a drive – through.
The ritual for cold weather start for the little A Farmall resembles in some respects early Roman religious rites. Apparently I performed them successfully, the tractor gods smiled and the A started, I paddle wheeled out to the woods and back a couple of times, then retired to the barn to build a miniature logging sled. Over night the loose snow in the wheel ruts solidified enough that the A could pull itself and the sled with 2 day supply of firewood. We made enough trips to have plenty of wood for the next month. Once the road packed down enough that I didn’t need to steer with the brakes, Stella could ride with me. She made motor boat noises the whole way.
I just threw the wood off in a heap.