November may be fall in most places, but for us it is traditionally the first month of winter. Each year we engage in our annual race to finish any and all maintenance or improvement projects that cannot be done once the ground freezes--driving fence posts, repairing roads, cleaning feedlots--and every year we push it right to the limit. One fall my husband trenched in the plumbing for our new porch in the dark, as the snow fell and the temperature dropped. By morning the ground was frozen solid. The next fall we scrambled to get the foundation for the same porch poured before the weather got too cold for concrete to set properly. (This is a sterling example of the rate at which home improvement occurs around here, by the way.)
This year my husband rented a backhoe for the fall fix-it rush. His last project, again completed as the snow began to fall, was cleaning out the south reservoir. The soil out there is a gumbo clay that stuck in the bucket, then partially froze overnight. Before hauling the backhoe to town he spent most of an afternoon chiseling muck with a crowbar. Then he hauled a few hundred pounds of salt and mineral out to the cows. Then he pitched hay in all of the round bale feeders. The next morning, he couldn't bend his left elbow.
A few days before all this, we got our initial warning blast of snow--the week we all weaned and shipped calves, as per usual. While helping my cousins gather, my horse stepped in a snow-covered badger hole and pancaked, slamming me down on my right side. Thanks to the five layers of clothes that made it nearly impossible to climb on said horse, I bounced pretty well, but it sored my shoulder up enough that for the first few days it was difficult to reach over my head or behind my back.
Yesterday we stopped by the house for a Pepsi break and Greg proudly demonstrated that he is now able to bend his elbow far enough to reach his mouth. He asked how my shoulder was doing.
I said it was much better, and in my usual, high brow fashion added, "We're both doing great. You can pick your nose and I can wipe my butt."