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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Jan 28, 2010

And another big winter storm goes down in the history books. That is number four for this winter for those of you keeping score at home.

I am getting worried because we are getting very good at this dealing with snow and wind where we sit still for a day or so, dig out for a day, and then try to resume where we left off before the storm arrived.

I am worried we will start thinking this is normal because we have made it our routine. We have become acclimated to blizzards. Is that a good thing?

A month ago in the midst of the snow and sub-zero temperatures, my wife and I noticed our days were simpler. We were restricted to staying at home and it did have its advantages.

As long as we had power and did not have to make any emergency trips due to health problems, the days had a certain coziness to them. We were not looking to go anywhere and nobody was expecting us either.

The family dog was content sleeping in front of the television and so were we.

I do not know who invented the snow blower, but I believe he is due for a Nobel prize, or a Pulitzer prize, or at least a gift card to McDonald’s. I could give him a hearty handshake.

It is great watching a tractor-mounted snow blower remove in a matter of minutes what the winter winds put in place over hours. It is one time when I do not feel powerless when facing the forces of nature.

Go ahead, Nature, give me your best shot. I have got a tank of diesel fuel and my tractor’s block heater is plugged in.

We enjoyed our coziness for a day, maybe two. However, when the storm ended, it was time to clear a path out of here. Get those snowdrifts out of my way. I may not have anywhere to go, but I want to be able to get there.

Yet, between Christmas and trips for health problems of other family members, I believe we have traveled close to 3,000 miles this winter.

Fortunately, they have been timed between storms so we have made our trips safely.

After every storm, we wonder and wish that this would be the last one. We can take one storm, maybe two, but now they are starting to pile up on us.

I can sympathize with the soldier who is shell-shocked from battle or the prizefighter who has taken too many blows to the head.

Winter here on the prairie is not for the faint of heart. It does keep the riff-raff out. My neighbors who head for Texas, Florida or Arizona each winter are smug in their short sleeves and 70-degree temperatures.

I say it takes a real person to stare down an Iowa winter, especially this one.

As long as we have electricity and the tractor with the snow blower starts, we will persevere and hope the last storm was the last storm.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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