IT’S NOW FEBRUARY, and I must confess I feel as if I’m going more backward than forward down the page in checking off items on my long to-do list since moving to my “Happy House” in Happy Valley last August.
Naturally, I have many valid reasons (inclement weather, my multiple sclerosis and family issues) — and a few invalid ones, too (a comfy couch and TV) — on why I’m way behind in completing some necessary projects, including building a hay storage shed.
Thus, for now, I store hay next to the horse shelter in my three-horse trailer.
While in the past I’ve had the hay delivered, since I started storing it in the trailer, I just hook it up to my truck and get it loaded right from the hay supplier.
Up until now, I’ve had no problems driving my truck and trailer, which are parked off the gravel driveway, around the property.
Well, this time was different because in the past few months since I last bought hay, we’ve experienced a deluge of rain, snow and freezing weather.
Coincidentally, the day I drove the truck and empty trailer out of the grass pasture and parked them on my gravel driveway was the last day of the long freeze.
It was easy to drive out because most of the ground was still frozen solid.
It was two days with warmer weather later when I left home to pick up the hay. By then, all the ice had melted and the ground stood fully saturated with water.
Needless to say, when I returned pulling 1 ton of hay in the trailer, I didn’t get far before my truck lost traction in the soggy pasture.
I wasn’t upset or worried by it because I was sure after I unhooked the heavy trailer I’d be able to drive off the pasture.
Not true, I quickly learned.
After unhooking and walking back to the driver’s side door, I noticed the wheels seemed to have sunk a bit into the ground.
“Surely I’ll still be able to drive off,” I thought.
And truly I might have been able to if I owned a four-wheel-drive truck. But why would I buy one of those when I only drive on roads and highways?
And certainly I have bragging rights a four-wheel-drive owner doesn’t have because with my two-wheel-drive Ford F-250, extended cab, manual shift with a diesel engine, I average 27 miles per gallon on the highway even while pulling a trailer full of horses.
I kid you not, my nephew’s little Toyota pickup doesn’t get half as good as that.
Of course, there have been a few times I would have traded my bragging rights to own a five-wheeler, and this was one.
My truck was now very much stuck in the wet ground. Worse, it was slowly sinking.
I first commandeered my nephew’s four-wheel-drive Toyota pickup to try to yank it out.
While that little truck tried and tried like the little engine that could, this little engine just couldn’t pull my descending heavy truck out of this fast-becoming little pond in the pasture.
Mind you, the trailer hadn’t, and still hasn’t, sunk at all. Neither did the little truck as it struggled to pull me out.
After a few tugs, the little truck inched the truck far enough forward from the trailer so that I could now, in theory, back my truck to the gravel driveway.
Of course, now the left-side wheels of the bigger truck had sunk to the point it was now “bottomed-out,” as they say, with the left side of the chassis resting on the ground.
I think I spent almost five hours determinedly trying to dig the mud away from the left tires, eventually digging even more out with my little Kubota’s backhoe.
I then laid down a string of wooden boards behind the tires to drive out on.
Can you guess why I still couldn’t back my truck out?
In the short time it took me to lay the boards, not only did the left side sink more, but enough water had seeped up into the muddy ruts that it was starting to look as if I’d driven the driver’s side into a pond.
My optimism by now had done a 180-degree turn, leaving me both frustrated and disgusted with the situation.
It was near dusk when I heard the voice of a friend standing on my front landing yelling out to me, “Call AAA! Call AAA!”
Silly me, I’d forgotten I’m a card-carrying member of AAA Auto Club.
A quick phone call and 20 minutes later, a tow-truck driver was setting up to winch the truck out.
It probably took at the most 10 minutes to raise my truck out of that tire-sucking muddy swamp and onto the gravel drive.
After he left, I shook my head in dismay thinking of all the hours I had just wasted trying to dig my truck out instead of just calling a tow truck.
I probably could have built myself a good hay barn in that time. Well, no, of course not. That’s just wishful thinking.
For me, wishful thinking tends to have me thinking I’m capable of doing more than I really am.
Like it had me thinking (again) I was as strong and capable as the fictional Wonder Woman and so was going to get that truck out of the mud all by myself.
Then again, didn’t Wonder Woman need help once in awhile?
Karen Griffiths’ column, Peninsula Horseplay, appears the second and fourth Sunday of each month.
If you have a horse event, clinic or seminar you would like listed, please email Griffiths at [email protected] at least two weeks in advance. You can also write Griffiths at PDN, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362.