Gwen Petersen
Big Timber, Mont.

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December 30, 2013
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Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 12-30-13

Snow ... that white stuff that falls from Heaven. It coats objects, flora and fauna, critters and objects till they resemble artwork in a statuary gallery. It blankets the terrain like a warm flannel quilt — until the wind blows. Standing up against a 60-per wind is not easy for those who are vertically and muscularly challenged.

There are, however, techniques one can employ to overcome the challenges of blasting breezes. Take this morning for instance. In the teeth of the gale, one forks hay into the feed trough to keep the boss mare busy. Then one spikes as many flakes on the hayfork as one can manage and steps among the eager horde of mini horses. How does one keep one’s balance — stay on one’s feet? That’s the beauty of short horses. One can use them like hand rails. Plodding carefully from spot to spot using a horse as a banister, one dispenses the feed.

Returning to the barn, one uses the hayfork as a walking stick with one hand while the right hand goes from mini-horse rump to mini-horse rump as one lurches back along the feeding trail. (Too bad no photographers are present).

Wind and snow are not to be bad-mouthed too severely. The gales bare off the hillsides so cattle and horses can dine on grass. And the snow, once it stops going sideways and settles down—provides nurturing moisture for the coming spring.

As for those cursed drifts that make four-wheel drive vehicles a necessity, well even those have beneficial qualities as the following elucidates: It happened due to overthinking on the part of the driver. The drive to the corral requires a sharp left-hand turn over a cattleguard. Therefore, the drive from the corral must necessitate s sharp right-hand turn.

Having successfully negotiated the trip to the corral over said cattleguard, one assumed there should be no problem making the turn on the way back from the corral. (An assumption can be the cause of many an error, mishap or social gaff).

As one chugged along in one’s four-wheel, one steered a wide curve as one attempted a right turn over the cattleguard. Without warning (snow makes no sound when it attacks), the truck slid sideways — smack into a corner post. While a four-wheel vehicle can surge through a drift straight on, it has trouble extricating itself sideways. (The wheels don’t point that way). Thus in this instance, one had no choice but to gun the motor and keep moving forward. Scrrrruuuuunnnnnh! Squealed the truck as it scraped itself forward and free of the post.

Which is how one’s pickup now bears silver racing stripes on its formerly plain shiny-black side. Though the snowdrift gave one’s pickup free art work, said truck now refuses to make right OR left turns at the cattleguard.

The fence post has made no comment. ❖


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The Fence Post Updated Dec 26, 2013 09:46AM Published Jan 14, 2014 11:18AM Copyright 2014 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.