Pipi’s Pasture: The First Snow

Pipi's Pasture
Diane Prather

Each year as fall approaches, we know that the first snowfall is coming… but when? The best guess, based on years past, is “around Halloween.” Sure enough, just a few days ago the first snowfall of 2022 fell during the night — pretty close to Halloween — and, as usual, it caught me off guard.

You’d have thought that once I heard the forecast I would have planned ahead, but I guess I imagined a few light flakes. The morning after the storm I opened the front door and thought, “Oh, no. It looks like a lot of snow.” I closed the door and started hunting for my boots (which I hadn’t thought to hunt up the night before). I couldn’t remember where I had stuffed them last spring, but after a lot of searching I finally found them behind a basket of mittens and scarves and such.

I hadn’t thought to bring a shovel with me from the shop, either, even though I pass by there twice a day. So I had to push snow off the front porch with the broom, and—surprise—the snow was wet, packed, and heavy. There was no way that I could push the four inches of snow completely off the porch, but I managed to remove enough so that the cats could walk to their feed pans (even though there wasn’t a cat in sight).

As I walked down the steps, I noticed that the little apple tree next to the porch was bent in half
because of the heavy snow. I shook the branches, but as with the porch, the snow was hard to move. Finally the tree stood back up—sort of.

The snow along my path to the corral wasn’t too hard to maneuver, but at the gate I had to shake the maple tree branches that were lopped over my entrance. As I looked around, I noticed that the elm trees with green leaves were hanging low over the fence. One elm branch hung almost on the ground next to the propane tank.

The scene was reminiscent of one some years ago, when a late September snowstorm caught us all off guard. Our cattle were still on summer pasture, and the snow was so deep that we had to haul hay to them. The trees were all bent over as with this storm.

When I reached the corral, I noticed that the cows were peeking out from the loafing shed. They had been caught off guard, too. I wondered why I hadn’t brought a shovel with me to remove the heavy snow from the bales. I had to push them off the stack and roll them along to the corral fence so I could put out the hay.

By now, the cows had emerged from the loafing shed. One cow nibbled at leaves from an elm branch that was hanging over the fence. As with the backyard, the elm branches were hanging low, and I heard a cracking sound from above.

Pretty soon I was finished with my corral chores without a branch falling on my head and was on my way back to the house. I had survived the first snowstorm and could now prepare for winter.

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