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Rural Roots - Rural Roots is a column by Fred Jones
2012-03-29 at 14:06

Winter hasn't given up

My wife, Laura, has made a bet with me.  She bet me a muffin and a coffee that if we were to get any more snow this spring, it would only be at most, two inches. 

Laura is an optimist.  Alas, I am not.

I’m not even cautiously optimistic.  Based on experience and on a somewhat pessimistic view (based on experience), I’ve predicted that, much as we could fervently hope that winter has given up for this year, it hasn’t. 

It is lying in wait biding its time, a couple of snow falls in reserve much like some kid who hasn’t exhausted his pile of snowballs during some epic battle. 

He always has a couple in reserve. 

Recently, I was fetching a couple of large, square, hay bales from Fritz, one of my suppliers.  It was Monday morning and we’d awakened to a drop in the mercury accompanied by a fierce wind.  Cold is what it was especially after the lengthy respite of warmth that more than once approached summer temperatures. 

Before heading off to Fritz’s farm, I checked the outdoor water tubs for the horses. 

Frozen with an inch of ice on top except for a small, horsey-nose shaped hole in the ice where the equines had sought a drink.  And why had ice formed on top of the water?  Because Farmer Fred had removed the water heaters thinking that Ol’ Man Winter had packed up and gone.  Foolish Farmer Fred.

I mentioned this irksome fact to Farmer Fritz who looked at me and barked a laugh.  “Fred, it’s only March.  You can expect a night or two of freezing conditions.  Wouldn’t be surprised if we still get more snow.” 

True, but the prolonged warmth coupled with the ugly scene of extension cords running all over the place prompted my rash decision to roll up everything in an attempt at Order and Good Government chez Famer Fred. 

To add insult to injury (my pride), I hadn’t bothered to plug in Big Red, my diesel tractor.  Hadn’t had to. 

Red had been starting just fine, thank you, without electrical encouragement.  That is two strikes, Fred.  Shall we try for three?
Murphy of Murphy’s Law has been a frequent and undesirable visitor to our farm.  Actually, if truth be told, he has only plagued me.  Often I’ve shouted to heavens, fist clenched, “Why me, Murphy, why me?” 

Well, I’ve written before in this space about Murphy’s torments versus my just plain slips on the banana peels of life.  I acknowledge my own un-doings as opposed to those mischiefs visited upon me through no fault of my own. 

And since I’ve informed the readers of this column about such mishaps and their true author (Murphy), I’ve been developing a bit of a reputation at least with my other hay supplier, Rudy.

This Saturday I trucked to his farm for my regular pick-up of round hay bales.  As I sat in the truck awaiting Rudy to load both truck and trailer, I saw instead him climb down from his tractor and head toward his house.  What the...? 

Soon Rudy showed up driving his truck that he parked right in front of his tractor.  Now, I was the last on Rudy’s list of clients collecting round hay bales for this day.  He had four remaining on his trailer and four is what I was picking up. 

But, as soon as he parked the truck in front of his tractor, I knew what was afoot.  I’d had to do the same thing a few times as well. Out came the jumper cables to jump-start the beast. 

His big, green machine fired up and I helped Rudy stow the cables.  He duly climbed back into his tractor and proceeded to load my truck and trailer with the hay. 

When he was through, he climbed down out of the tractor cab and came to greet me.  Without pausing, Rudy clamped a hand on my shoulder and with a grin on his face announced that it was obvious that I’d brought Murphy with me.  See?  Reputation.  Unfair.  But I don’t think it qualifies as strike three.

But just think: Laura and I out for coffee and a muffin regardless of who wins the bet.  Wow!  A date!  Woo-hoo!


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