He gives snow like wool; he scatters frost like ashes. (Psalm 147:16, ESV)
I didn’t go to work today.
The boss didn’t seem too surprised. After all, we had winds over 50 mph last night, the high temperature for the day was six BELOW zero, the State was advising no travel on any of the roads in my vicinity, and pretty much every school district in the state was closed.
The dog refused to go outside to do what dogs do outside unless she was carried to a protected spot and encouraged with many words. The cat’s heated water dish was ice-covered except for a one-inch hole in the center.
My driveway (which is a half-mile long) had a drift three to four feet deep for seventy five yards near its end. Yes, I could drive the four-wheel drive truck through the edge where it was only a foot deep, but our other vehicles would have floundered in it.
Praise the Lord, the rest of the driveway had blown clear, but that drift was going to have to go.
I surveyed the weather forecast and determined the best combination of least wind and maximum temperature would occur at about 1300 hours. I planned my assault on the drift with tactical precision for that time, but not without some sense of foreboding.
My tractor, a 1958 Farmall 340, (which is similar to the one pictured) required surgeon-like skill and a mega-BTU forced-air heater that looks and sounds like a jet engine to get it to start. (Google “Knipco.”) But it did start, praise the LORD!
The old Farmall is not some little toy lawn tractor. The rear tires are as tall as my shoulder. It has about forty horsepower at my disposal, a bucket on the front, a blade on the back, and chains on the tires. It is adequate for 90% of my snow removal needs.
I got down to the end of the driveway and begin my assault. It was not going well. My right foot was getting colder faster than I had hoped and there was more snow here than I had thought at first. (Sitting here now, with a calculator at hand and an internet search on the weight of drifted snow, it looks like it would be safe to say there was between 50 and 75 tons of snow in that drift.)
This was going to take hours.
I resolved that I would not make the mistake I had in years past. There have been times when I’ve spent hours on that tractor, ending up with some expensive part or parts broken, and then had God fill in everything I had done in a day with a strong wind of just a few hours. Yes, I have a vintage snowblower for the old Farmall, but this drift was more than it could handle.
No, the best plan was to open a path that would get us in and out in case of emergency and then call the guy with the bigger tractor.
This was one of those 10% situations.
I had almost completed that path, (all the while wondering if I still had the phone number for Bigger Tractor Guy and if he would still be willing to come over after not calling him for two years) when I noticed a tractor pull up to my neighbor’s mail box just down the road a bit.
When I say “tractor” I mean a 180 horsepower, four-wheel drive, heated cab, 40 years newer, John Deere 8100 with an eight-foot snowblower on the back. http://www.tractordata.com/farm-tractors/003/2/2/3222-john-deere-8100.html
I am not ashamed to say I chased him down.
After a brief conversation, he agreed to come over and see what he could do.
In three passes and less than ten minutes, that entire drift was gone. Poof—several tons of snow shot twenty feet into the air and blown downwind in moments, with almost no visible trace. Gone.
I thanked him profusely, offered to pay him (which he refused) and thanked him some more. I also thanked the Lord that my neighbor was right there at just the right time and that he was willing to help.
It’s taken me a long time to learn that I can’t do it all myself and that’s it’s okay to ask for help. It’s not easy to admit that we can’t do it ourselves, that pride and self-reliance are false hopes and we all need each other more than we know.
And, I am so grateful that I have a God who sent His son, Jesus, who took the weight of tons and tons of sins from my shoulders and blew them as far as the east is from the west in an instant.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9, ESV)