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Monday, January 3, 2011

Well winter finally arrived, it's about time! I know that for those of you in the high mountains you've been getting snow for awhile, but for the rest of us this last storm was pretty much the first. Up untill the weekend before Christmas I was still out flying my R/C airplanes! This storm got me thinking again though about 72 hour bags and how vital they are, but it also brought up something that saved my life in a blizzard 2 years ago. Remember back 2 years when in the spring (for those of us on the eastern slope) we had a series of 5 major storms one week after the other. At the beginning of the first storm we decided to call it a day and head home before the "predicted" storm got worse (it didn't but you'd expect that too from NOAA) On my way home the blowing snow from the pine trees was the most dense I'd ever seen, I literaly could not see the hood, only the wipers on the windshield. I was going maybe 5-10 mph and remember seeing 2 cars come up the two lane mountain road, just then another high wind blew the snow and once again I couldn't see! I remember thinking "gentle left or straight?" Just as I thought straight my right front wheel dipped off the road and down my beautiful lifted Chilli Pepper red Cherokee went, first on the right side, then with a big thump the top smashed in front of my head and glass was smashing around me. I still had no idea which way was up because of the blowing snow, untill I realised water from the creek I was in was now running through the Jeep's headliner and out the windows. My first thought was to reach up and find the ignition switch, the engine was strangly still running while upside down. Here's where things got interesting, I reached for the seatbelt buckle, did you know that around 90% of vehicles on the road will not release the seatbelts if they are under tension? Try as I might the buckle held me prisoner, I thought I smelled gas and knew I had to get out! The knife in the glove box was no use, as the contents had gone up into the dash and the door would not open. The center consol had barfed it's contents into the roof which was now running ice cold water. I reached for my Victorinox multitool and opened the first thing my numb fingers could open, the saw! It went through the seatbelt (won't need that anymore I thought) and I was free! Ok so here's the moral, how many of you have a tool within easy reach in ALL of your vehicles in case you have to cut the belts or break the glass? GET THEM NOW!

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1 comment:

ED BULEY said...

I like your site.Thank you! Here is a story in exchange.
The cattle truck showed up an hour late but at least it did finally arrive. We grabbed a long strong rope, some feed and a four-wheel drive Ford Tractor that had a bucket loader on the front of it.. The man in the truck followed us over to the other barn which was across the road from the main barnyard.

The bull that we were after was almost as big as the tractor but he was white with some light brown spots and the tractor was blue. Many men have been mauled and even killed while trying to remove a bull from a pasture but this bull was good natured and like all cattle, loves feed.

Coaxing cattle with feed is an old trick and more often than not it serves the purpose perfectly. I've seen whole herds of heifers chase a quad down the road when a man sat on the back with a five gallon bucket of feed for them follow.

But, we weren't driving cattle this time, so we tried to lasso the bull and separate him from the heifers. The man who brought the truck was following the bull around a feed trough that was out in the middle of the pasture while trying to toss the looped end of the rope over the big bulls massive head. The first attempt failed because the rope only grabbed one-half of the bulls head so we had to wait for the beast to shake it off before we could try again.

The idea was to lasso the bull but to let the rope go once we did. Once the rope was finally around the bulls neck, the plan was to recapture the loose end of the tether and tie it to back end of the tractor while the bull was being preoccupied with the feed. It would have worked if the rope had fell just right on the first try but since it didn't the bull was spooked and wouldn't come close enough for us to try it again.

One has to be calm and quiet around cattle because they can spook easy. Seeing that we had no chance of capturing the bull under the circumstances we decided to relocate the feed trough and get a longer rope. We moved the trough from the pasture up to the lower level of the old barn and started shaking the feed bucket again. The cattle answered the dinner call and as fortune would have it the bull went into the barn behind a heifer whereupon we closed the two in by shutting a metal gate.

Once inside the barn, the bull was preoccupied with eating feed so we were able to lasso him correctly this time. The bull was tied close to the back end of the tractor and then led to the cattle truck which was parked down by the road. I held the tether tight while another fellow operated the tractor. I rode on the tractor by standing on a running board and secured the animal by wrapping the rope around a solid bar that was attached to the tractor.

The bull came quietly but at one point it seemed like the bulls massive head was going to get jammed in between the back tire and the tractor's frame so we halted and readjusted the rope. The ramp up into the cattle truck was already down and the side gates had been attached so we pulled the bull up to the ramp, loosed the rope and prodded the bull up into the truck.

Well that was one down and another to go. The second bull was back in the main barnyard. So we repeated the process again, over there. The second bull was younger but he seemed to be more dangerous which is unusual because generally it's the other way around.

I was the youngest of our crew of four. George was the oldest at 88 years old, his brother Bob is 84 and John is about 70 years old. I am 55. Bob has breathing problems and he can't walk around to good so he operates the tractor. Bob has poor circulation also. I took my glove off and held his frozen left hand in mine for a moment so that it would warm back up. I overlooked the snot that had been wiped off onto the wrist and grabbed it anyway.

We all know how cold noses can run in the winter time. It was zero today.

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