On 7th April I went to town to pick up a wwoofer. I left home at 5.00am – it was still dark and -12C. One km away I encountered a large, frozen puddle.
I knew I would crash through so drove cautiously into it. That was a mistake. When I did crash through, I was stuck. The ice in front was up to the bumper. There was no way I could reach underneath to find something to fasten on a rope. Fumbling in the moonlit dark, I set up the come-along at the back. But this time I simply could not shift the van. The all-wheel drive is not working properly. I have not had a chance to go to Williams Lake to get it fixed. (And April 7th was Easter weekend so no chance of a mechanic then.)
The full moon was setting as I walked back to the house. There are two tow-truck operators in the area – both were away for several weeks. I phoned a friend whose husband had a lot of heavy machines – at 6.00am he was already on the road hauling hay while the frost was in the ground. He would not be able to come until the afternoon. But my friend phoned a neighbour. He eventually arrived and pulled me out. The two of them had a 40-minute drive each way to rescue me and they would take nothing for their time.
So I got to highway 20 4 hours after I left home. I should have already been in Williams Lake by then. But the driving was excellent and by running around like a lunatic, I got everything done and picked up the wwoofer from the bus station. Driving home it was quite late and thawing. I wondered how I would make out on the road. The snow was very sloppy and I crashed through into mud, but the puddle I had problems with was soft and I made it through.
A few days later we drove to Anahim Lake to pick up another wwoofer. The ice puddle was surprisingly dried up and only half full. But closer to the highway the road was nothing but mud and enormous lakes of water.
The only way to tackle them was to go flat out. Even so, I almost did not make it through this one. (My gumboots were behind the seat in case I needed them in a hurry.)
I don’t enjoy this kind of driving! Another time I slewed off the road and crashed into a tree. The bumper is broken and there is a big scrape on the front fender. Most years I hunker down during this season but it seems that this year I have had to drive for one reason or another every few days. Still, I now have an energetic work force and am getting some work done.
The first job was burning brush. Anne from France is operating the chainsaw, Wolf from Germany is behind.
Here, Sam from France is at the rear of the stretcher of brush. He and Wolf are clearing old debris piles from the side of the road.
But despite persistent cloud and very unpleasant cold winds, the snow has gone fast and we have had to quit burning the big piles. The next big job is to insulate the attic.
The ponds, however, are still frozen. When proofreading the latest version of Ginty’s Ghost, I read how the ponds were both open by the middle of April in 2009. This year, however, they are still solid.
A river of water, however, is running over the ice on the lower pond. It is going to be another very late year.
Tomorrow I am taking the 3 wwoofers to Bella Coola for the day. Once again I will have to launch the van along the road. Keep tuned to see what kind of trouble I get into this time.