Sunday, March 15, 2015

Grip of winter.

Can you guess what this is?


Yeah, snow. I mean the little black spot in the middle.

Here's what happened, and why I am an idiot:

As I noted the other day, we're finally coming out of winter and the snow is melting. One of the big holdouts around here is the pile at the end of the driveway, where the plowman's labors lay. Several snowstorms wound up as a veritable snow fort, and my Alpine dog, Tralfaz, loves nothing better than to scale it and stand atop, nobly scenting the wind.

It had gotten quite solid as it grew, and I have been able to join him up there, at least when I was wearing my short boots rather than sneakers. Mountain man and mountain dog. It was all I could do to not yodel.

So the other day, while waiting for Tralfaz to stop sniffing everything in the backyard, I stepped up on the snow fort to have a look at my lands. Two steps along my left foot sank clear to sea level. My boot filled with freezing snow. Unfortunately, my right foot remained atop the fort, about three feet higher. The center of the pile had softened up, while the walls remained hard as rock. I was stuck.

But Tralfaz came to help! Fortified by hearing legends of Lassie and Rin-Tin-Tin and Dino, my dog barreled up the snow fort and started sniffing my ear. Then he began to sniff at the hole and put his considerable bulk on the snow, packing it down. In moments I went from being stuck to being really stuck.

After some conversation at high decibels I got Tralfaz moved off and managed to get my other foot off the fort. Now my feet were at equal levels, but one was still trapped. I knew I could lever my trapped foot out, but my boot, being just shoe-height, was not going to come with it. The ground was still cold and wet, non-ideal for walking in stocking foot. Plus, would I ever get the boot out? There is a football and a Frisbee in the backyard somewhere that we haven't seen since before Martin Luther King Day. The snow fort would be the very last thing to melt.

I had to chance it. Out came the wet foot; in stayed the boot, as you see in the picture. I tried to get it out by hand, but the snow was jammed in and cascading, like digging a hole in the beach. And here came the dog! He can dig! Dig, dog, dig! And dig he did! But he's not good at digging in a hole that's already more than two feet deep. His body blocks any snow from actually getting out. Mainly what he's doing is pounding the snow down harder.

Thanks, Lassie! Timmy would have died in the pilot episode in real life!

I limped up to the porch and got the snow shovel. By now Tralfaz was prone on the snowbank, taking a well-earned rest. I did the required surgery, busting out the boot, which is now just fine, thanks. So another exciting episode of Tralfaz comes to an end.

To be fair, I blame myself for getting stuck in the first place, and I blame Old Man Winter for overstaying his welcome next. Tralfaz is actually way down the list. And I do believe he was trying to help---you see his paw in the picture---but it really is all just play to him. The only time I've seen him serious is when he's picking fights with deer or skunks.

Fortunately, the deer are afraid of him. The skunks---eh, not so impressed.
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