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By A Homesteading Neophyte
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Just another story of a long winter's week.

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We have been trapped in the holler for a solid week. 
It all began innocently enough. Sunday, I dropped Husband off at school 3 hours away, and slowly made my way home. The radio warned us, promised us, threatened us with 10″ of snow by the morning. I could only sigh in response. Over the winter threats have been banded about, snowagedeon! Yet we have seen very little. I stopped for gas and a bit more groceries, as we haven’t been able to hunt this year. I purchased some treats for the boys, and made my way home. 
My thinking was thus; they tend to over exaggerated, and even if they don’t this time, I will be able to get out, and retrieve Husband by the end of the week. I was correct about one thing, they lied. No one saw fit to warn me about the 3 extra inches we were to receive on Weds. 
We were trapped! We went about our chores, and our day. Muttering all the while. Then the temperatures bottom out.  Well below negative 20F wind chills zipped through the holler. By morning Large and I were screaming and slapping, pulling and lifting. Trying desperately with tear stained eyes to provoke our bull calf, Bullbo, to move. The girls had froze him out. He must have laid there alone all through the night. When he would no longer respond, no fight left, we ended it for him. Mercy.
Wood, that should have lasted the week if I had been leaving during the day, dwindled. Large and Medium took sledge hammers to our pallets. Smashing and breaking them small enough to burn and keep us warm. Anything on the ground, tree wise, was too frozen to chop through. We had to sell our log splitter last summer, and now it is difficult for us to produce enough firewood for an entire season. 
One more day until Husband was to be home. And how was I to go get him? Luckily he was able to catch a ride, almost all the way home, to a friend’s. Now our friend’s car is stuck down in the holler!   I was shocked to see headlights erupting in the house. Oh, no! Why would he allow him to come down? In a way it was a blessing. The cold had sapped the life from my battery. At least I could get a jump, and have a way to escape once it was possible. But now I might have a houseguest for the foreseeable future. He ended up walking up, and being met by his wife. The roads uptop were pretty bad, from what I was told. 
The next day, Husband walked up top and was able to catch a ride into town for much needed grocery items. The neighbors even brought him back down on their ATV. It made me long to have one again, just for this type of situation. And then the shoveling began.
That evening, I opened the door for Large. Gratefully he was still several feet out from the house and I was the one that opened the door. For suddenly all the snow on the roof crashed down into the frozen gutter, taking it all with it to the ground. 
Two days and 1/4 mile later, it was time to attempt an escape. The morning attempts went badly, as in a smashed taillight against the cattle pen. Soon we were almost all the way up! And stuck in the ditch. The boys and I scampered out, and pushed, and shoved with our collective might. Until fatigue set in and a foot gained. Two hours later found the boys and I walking the rest of the way up, with Husband and truck awaiting.
Darkness fell, and I, the pretty pretty princess that I am, slowly shuffled down the steep and slick hill. I fell behind the clan.  Branches collapsing from the weight of the wet and refreezing snow, perked my paranoia. Shuffle shuffle, who goes there? Large predators have been recently rumored to be in the area. Shuffle shuffle, slip. The worst was the fact that the snow would hold you up for a scant second and then drop you. My knees naturally hyper extend, however it really hurts my right knee (surgery). I tried stomping to lessen the impact. Ruts were now iced over, and dangerous. Soon however my knight in shining flannel returned. Hands firmly grasped, I went down, pulling Husband down with me.  Tailbones cracking echoed against the hills. 
We made it down onto the flats. Husband was kind enough to shorten his steps, allowing me to walk in his path, and cease the pain that my swollen knee was feeling. I cried a bit and thanked him once we were finally inside the warm shelter. You, my Husband, are truly wonderful.


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