Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

We are ringing 2016 in with beautiful weather - a positive winter wonderland!  This week has been sunny and cold, with diamonds glistening off the snow and our boots crunching with each footfall.  We have been playing in the snow until our noses get red and our fingers grow stiff, coming in only long enough to toast up by the cookstove and then we are off again, enjoying our unusual (calm) winter weather.  The near-constant winds have stilled long enough for us to truly delight in our snowy-white fairyland and has allowed the trees to keep their winter cloaks.

Last weeks weather was another story altogether!  Our plans were to leave on Christmas Eve to spend Christmas with my parents.  Our bags were packed, our truck was loaded and then the blizzard began.  By 4 o'clock Wednesday afternoon, our driveway had drifts four feet deep and only our Landcruiser was able to traverse its depths.  Maid Elizabeth parked her car at lunchtime and knowing that we were in for some weather, I delivered both she and Master Hand Grenade to work, planning to pick them up at the end of the day.

A small drift, just forming

Master Calvin making a trail through the snow
Unfortunately, the weather grew worse and as the sky darkened, a dear, sweet elderly friend drove up our almost impassible driveway.  After delivering Christmas cheer, he attempted to drive back down our drifted driveway, became confused and drove right off our driveway into a huge, snow-filled ditch.  Sir Knight's attempts to pull him out were of no use - he was buried in the snow so deeply that we knew we would need big equipment to get him out.

We called a neighbor for assistance and he and his son-in-law drove over to assess the situation.  After almost suffering the same fate as our elderly friend, our neighbor drove back to his house and started up his 100 horsepower tractor.  Within minutes they were back, first with a snowplow-equipped Jeep, followed by the tractor.  Half-way up the driveway, the Jeep was buried in a drift, unable to move.  The tractor made its way around the Jeep, plowing snow as it went, until it almost reached the truck, when it too, became buried in the snow-filled ditch.  We now had a pickup, a Jeep with a snowplow and a 100 hp tractor stuck in our driveway.  Night had descended upon us, the blizzard was wild, it was the day before Christmas Eve and we were landlocked at Little Shouse on the Prairie, with no way to make it to the road. 

Our children had finished work and begged  rides home with friends and tromped up the nearly impassible driveway on foot.  It took a good bit of time, with a blizzard raging and snow drifts piling high, but they made it in time to grab shovels and help in the attempted driveway evacuation. 

After burying his tractor, our neighbor went back home for the big gun - a dozer.  He drove up the driveway, plowing a huge berm of snow as he went, made it about 300 feet, and his dozer died.  Apparently the cold weather didn't agree with the battery, so Sir Knight unhooked our generator battery (which is always freshly charged), wired it into the dozer, gave it a crank and the dozer, once again, roared to life.  Within 30 minutes, the dozer had pulled the Jeep from the snowbank, drug the tractor from the ditch and finally managed to extricate our elderly friend's truck.  After 3 1/2 hours, our driveway was cleared of vehicles, however, it was left utterly impassible to anything without tracks.

Can you see the driveway?

The cavalry's here!

The dozer clearing and the grader widening
Christmas Eve morning, our working children met friends at the foot of the driveway and hitched rides to work.  Sir Knight was stuck at home, not able to get his service truck out of its parking spot.  Our neighbor with the dozer planned on plowing our driveway that afternoon (just in time for us to leave for my parents) and another neighbor offered to clean and widen the driveway with his grader (we have the BEST neighbors!).  And then, the unthinkable happened.  Another well-meaning neighbor attempted to plow our driveway (with his small pickup) and promptly got himself utterly and completely STUCK!  With the clock ticking, our little children in tears and our driveway impassible, we knew our Christmas trip was over before it even began.  But then, a big yellow grader began a slow ascent up our driveway, heading for the pickup, ready to pull him out.  And. Then. The. Grader. Got. Stuck.  REALLY!  After a quick walk back to his house, and our neighbor drove his self-loading log truck to the end of our driveway.  He extended the loading arm, grabbed his grader, gave it a yank and pulled it out of the snow.  After the grader was free, our neighbor chained it up and pulled the pickup out of the snow.  Finally, all of the vehicles were (again) out of the our driveway.  About that time our neighbor with the dozer showed up and began plowing us out.  The dozer plowed, the grader widened and cleared and by 3 o'clock on Christmas Eve, our family was packed in the Landcruiser on our way to the Grandparents!  It truly was a Christmas miracle!

A driveway!!

Off to Grandpa and Grandma's!
Over the course of those two days we had more big equipment on our driveway than the road crews did on the highways!  As stressful and frustrating as our driveway ordeal was, it was also a beautiful reminder of unwarranted grace.  Our neighbors didn't "owe" us anything, yet they came to our aid out of the kindness of their hearts.  We have no possible way of ever repaying them, but they didn't expect payment. They were neighbors in the purest sense of the word, and they left us praising God for them. 

And now we begin a new year with hearts overflowing.  A very happy new year to you all!


  1. God bless you and those wonderful neighbors! Happy New Year!

  2. Wow, great story - and great neighbors! It is great that you were still able to make your Christmas plans.
    God bless and have a great new year!

  3. This will be a Christmas you all remember for sure! Hopefully you'll be able to repay the neighbors some day. Good deeds usually come around in time. God bless you with a peaceful and plentiful new year.

  4. What amazing neighbors you have! You have a lot to be grateful for! Happy New Year!

  5. Great to see you posting more often.That's a beautiful header photo of the cup of coffee, can I suggest a change with - "Paratus Familia Blog"
    "A Prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it". Proverbs 22:3" - that you change the font color to white so it can be seen. Depending on the photo it may be appropriate to change the font color for contrasting purposes.

  6. Meanwhile back in Georgia, we were stuck in 75 degree weather and more rain than anyone could want. Your snow looked good to me!~ miss Georgia

  7. And this is exactly how neighbors should be. Hurray for them!! What a wonderful way to start the New Year... knowing that no matter what you have true goodness in your life. Glad to see you back.
    Maison Mutt

  8. Most people do have good neighbors-sometimes, it takes getting in a jam to make it obvious.Never forget there are good people everywhere! Lead acid batteries really don't like cold, and their output starts dropping off dramatically below 20 deg. or so-this will become really obvious when you load down that battery-like starting a diesel in winter. They used to make battery warmers (haven't seen one in years), or you can put a 100 watt bulb a couple inches under them (did this two jobs ago) to keep them warm.

  9. Thank you for the lovely story. It lifts me up to know that there are still caring people in the world.

  10. Oh Enola, how wonderful to hear about good neighbors. We recently moved to a tiny community and have been blessed by the same type of neighbors. Brought us meals, mowed our fields, helped with our plumbing,pulled our moving truck out of the mud and had us over for the holidays and even gave gifts to our children. They wanted no pay and just said ,"Nice to have a young family move in and be a good neighbor". God is good to country folks.

  11. Happy New Year! We have neighbors like that, and we're always grateful for God bringing us to this place. I just wanted to tell you that I bought your cookbook a while back (and left a great review on Amazon :) ), but over time your Beef and Lentil skillet has become a favorite meal in this house. The kids love it and ask for it all the time...I think I make it at least once a week! My son's favorite is biscuits and gravy, and your recipe is also the best I've found. Thank you!

  12. Belated Happy New Year from North Idaho. I sure have missed you all. I have had the same snow issues here being on the Fire Dept. and SAR Team.
    I never knew you could get a snow mobile stuck. If your from California I guess you can. Anyway- do you have a winch for your 4x4 SUV? I run across them every so often and might get it for a very good price.
    Give the ladies a hug for me and let your son know my daughter still ask about when they can meet.
    Be Blessed , Safe, and Happy, RangerRick