Outdoors Column: Snow and Floods

About a foot of snow was covering the pastures when I headed out Saturday morning with the Ranger to check on the horse’s hay supply. The Ranger can navigate a foot of snow but not much more. I had not gone far when I hit a place that was just high enough to high center the machine. With all four wheels off the ground, it was pointless to argue with it. I walked back to the house thinking I could pull it out later or if the weather report held true, some of the snow would melt so I could drive out.


Sunday, the temperature rose to over fifty degrees. I am not complaining, though it is a bit of a shock to go from forty below zero wind chills to spring-like weather in a matter of two or three days. I walked out to where I had left the Ranger and to my relief, saw it sitting on the ground rather than on a pillar of snow. Most of the snow melted in less than twenty-four hours.


By that afternoon, my wife and I both decided we needed to get outdoors and take full advantage of a rare warm winter day. Billie, the poodle, was enjoying his new freedom provided by the wireless dog fence. He can range far out into the yard, reminded of his limits by a beeping on his collar. If he goes too far, a mild electric shock reminds him to stay in the boundary. I know it is a mild shock since our grandson tried it out several times. If the shock was too severe, I am sure he would not test it a second time. We sat on the porch enjoying the outdoors and decided to go pick up the last trail two cameras.


We got into the Ranger and naturally Billie decided he wanted to go also. He sat in the middle as we drove up the driveway. Suddenly, he became very alert as though he was listening to something. Before I realized what was happening, he began shaking his head. I realized I had forgotten to take his collar off and we had passed out of his boundary. I quickly popped the collar off and apologized profusely to him. I think he understood how sorry I was but sat closer to my wife, giving me a stare that said he knew it was my fault.


The snow had been replaced by mud most everywhere we drove. Low pressure flotation tires are all that saved us from a long walk home in several places. We picked up the camera at the cedar scrape without incident and drove toward the turnip patch. Nearing Twin Sluices, it was obvious, we were not going to cross. The trickling stream that runs through there was now a raging torrent about twenty feet wide and several feet deep. That camera would have to wait for a better day.


Going toward home, it seemed like the lake level had risen in the short amount of time we had been gone. Water was roaring from the outlet tube and the dock was mostly submerged, frozen in place.


By the time we arrived back at the house, Billie seemed to have forgiven me for my transgression. He gladly accepted my putting his collar back on and happily ran around the wet and muddy yard.


Though it is only temporary, we are happy to have the snow gone, even if we do have to put up with the flooding from it all melting in one day.