Snowlit Sledding

All is dark in the house; it was about nine o’clock and the family was about to go to bed. My in-one-week-and-he-will-be-a-brother-in-law dashed to his truck in the driveways to retrieve an item. He stumbled through the snow on the way back to the house and when he finally entered the front door he announced: “It was so bright out there I had to squint!” That statement changed the evening. Even though I couldn’t see it, I could hear the gleam in my brother’s eyes come out in his voice:

“Hey Dad, can we go sledding! It isn’t dark outside at all and it is actually safer!”

“Safer?”

At this point, my older sister joined in. “Yeah, because the things you don’t want to hit will be dark.”

“Can we Dad, please?!” By now, everyone in the house age 2o and under were excited.

“What do you think?” Dad was asking Mom, not us.

Mom laughed, “Why not? Just don’t be out too late.”

After obtaining permission to invite the Amish Mennonite neighbors, with whom we have had many adventures, we set off to sled down the hill where we have always gone since the 2008 Ice Storm Adventure.

It may have been night, but it wasn’t dark. You could see just about as far as you could in the day…just not as detailed. The snow had melted a bit during the day, but had become ice by the time we arrived. Our packed sledding path from earlier in the day was now an ice path.

Everyone was giddy with excitement when we arrived at the hill. Although our neighbors hadn’t arrived yet, I set my sled at the start our sledding path and shoved off.

I had had trouble staying on the path during the day, but night was different. I took off down that hill so fast that all I could see was white flying past me. I had no clue where I was going or if I would survive, but did that scare me? No way! By the time I got to the bottom I was laughing hysterically. When I finally got a handle on myself I, as you can probably guess, picked up my sled and raced back up to the top as my family members flew screaming past me on their sleds!

Call us crazy if you want, it won’t be the first time and it won’t be the last. Life itself is an adventure, but it is a whole new story when you surround yourself with adventurous, imaginative, country folks.

Lessons from the Frost

Yesterday was a long day…so was the day before. This week is dress rehearsal for one of the Christmas programs I am involved in, so every night is booked. Plus, there is the normal amount of classes to attend, chores to fulfill, and every day life to take care of. Last night was stingy on the allotment of sleep I am allowed, so needless to say, I am tired and it’s only half-way through the week. This means that I am not up to my normal functioning level.

With this in mind, let me tell you about my morning…you may find in interesting. Around 6:20 this morning Dad was ready to eat. Over half of the family wasn’t out of bed yet, so he made a round to each room and informed the occupant that breakfast would be served in five minutes. Now in my family, about half of them do not do well eating immediately after they rise and two more, which are usually not apart of that group, were this morning, due to sinus issues.

After dragging myself out of the top bunk, down the stairs, and (in a round about way) to the table, I sat facing a breakfast of scrabbled eggs and cold cereal. I am one of the two who had sinus issues, so I just ate the cold cereal. Usually, we have goat milk for our cereal, but as I am drying up the goats (I will explain latter), we had store bought, two percent, homogenized cow milk. Owing to the sinus issues I was experiencing, the cereal didn’t have the same appeal as normal. Plus the milk was awful! It was like using slightly flavored, colored water! Yuck!

Next up was Bible study and after that I lay down on the bed and rested for half an hour or so. I don’t usually do that, but this week with its late nights and early mornings has been an exception.

Chores outside are a dreary task for me in the winter. Once my hands are cold, I can’t use them and the poor goats have a hard time with cold fingers on their warm udders. I decided that I would go ahead and dry the does up a month early due to the cold and a few other factors. So, this morning after wrapping up in a snow suit, scarf, hat, gloves, (I told you I can’t take the cold very well) I donned on my rubber boots and headed out to the shed to check the does.

First, I had to stumble through the fuzzy mess of Angoras while holding a bucket of unfrozen water that looked very much like their feed bucket. After disappointing them, I turned my attention to the milk does. Jael was in too much of a hurry, so she slipped through the two strand electric fence and high-tailed it to the barn where she thought her milk stand was filled with grain…it wasn’t…thankfully, my sister was in there feeding the chickens and she took care of Jael for me.

I hadn’t filled the milk stand feeders because I didn’t know if the goats were tight enough to justify reliving them a bit or not. With Jael gone, Violet was left to check. I tucked Violet’s head between my legs and leaned forward to slide my hand down her back and to her udder. She didn’t like that.

Lesson from the Frost Number One: Frost covered grass is slippery. Violet took off like lightning and so did I…backwards…on her back. My boots siding along the ground until traction was finally found in a patch of non-frosted ground. Has anyone else ever ridden a goat? I have, for about twenty feet. I finally did corner Violet and her udder was tight, so I let her go flying to the barn while I went to the house to gather the milking supplies. I usually have everything ready and waiting in the barn, but since I thought I wouldn’t have to milk today, I didn’t.

Lesson from the Frost Number Two: Frost covered porch stairs are slippery. Yep, the first stair I put my foot on found me sprawled out like a possum who sees his life flash before him when a car narrowly misses him! I just laid there for half a minute trying to decide if it would be better to get up or just to stay down.

I did finally relive the goats from too thier milk pressure and a few slips and sides later, I did make it back in the house. I think I’ve had enough excitement for the day, but life doesn’t work that way…I wonder what will happen tonight?