The Resistance Triumphs Again

Having left Valencia airport with our hats and jackets packed away, Paul and I were pleased to see only a few inches of snow on the ground in Boston. We’d had no news from Team Sidehill for nearly 10 days, and the minimal snow was a good omen. So, having been awake already for nearly 24 hours, we caught the Logan Express bus to our car in Framingham, and began the drive back to Hawley. Now mind you, the plane had landed at 8pm, and while we breezed through passport control and customs, we weren’t on the road until almost 10 pm. We were tired but vigilant, and all was going well until we turned off Route 9 in Goshen to head north. There were snow piles. BIG snow piles. Not the couple of inches that were on the runways in Boston, but a couple of feet. And really, really windy. We know wind, living in Hawley, and this was WIND. It was now 12:30am, and we were pretty darn tired, but this was the homestretch.

Coming up Spruce Corner Road, we got as far as the Watson Road intersection, and turned left up towards Wauban Farm. We came uphill around a blind corner, and WHOOPS! - the road was completely blocked by a 6’ tall snowdrift. We backed slowly down the hill, skidding on the corners, and rolled back into the intersection. Take 2. We headed up Stage Road. About a mile up - Whoa! - another huge drift completely blocking the road. Someone had obviously tried to get through, and just as obviously, had not made it and extricated themselves with the help of a second vehicle. We were now really tired, and just wanted to go home. And wearing the same clothes we put on that morning in Valencia - light pants, light shirts, and the kind of comfy shoes you want to wear on a 10 hour flight - not snowboots. The concept of having to walk a couple of miles through snow and wind was not going over well. As we discussed Plan C, the snow was pouring over the top of the drift like water, piling up on the windshield and burying the hood. In the end, we drove back to 116, and came up to Hawley through Plainfield center. Every time we crossed open terrain, drifts were crawling across the road, visibly increasing in size. Every time we plowed through a drift in our all-terrain Prius, we sucked our breaths in a little, hoping that the forward motion would just keep on. And miraculously, it did. Nearly half an hour later (from Plainfield to Hawley!) we made it - the last and most challenging drift looming right in front of our garage door. Throwing all caution aside, we blasted right through into the garage and breathed a big sigh. 1:00am and we were home.

Unbeknownst to us, Stella and Anne had gone home only a couple of hours earlier, having spent the evening helping a heifer give birth to her first calf, that was, of course, coming out backwards. That was, helping the heifer give birth once they had rounded up the steers who had managed to break out earlier in the evening, and gone swimming through several feet of snow in search of the green grass they imagined was down Ivy and Cinni Donovan’s driveway. Which had happened because the 45 mph wind buried their fence in drifts, and they could walk right through because the power had gone out again on a yogurt production day, and stayed off through the beginning of milking. (Yes! We now know we can milk the cows on the generator! Silver lining!) Which had happened right at the point when Ken got the tractor and manure spreader stuck in a drift in a field, and no one could help him because they were all running around getting the generator hooked up, or chasing wild Siberian steers, or plowing away the drifts that blocked the road and driveways every 10 minutes, or noticing that Zebra was about to give birth a week early and the calf was coming out backwards. 

So as expected, the Universe was fully informed of our vacation plans, and put on a real show while we were gone. On top of Monday’s excitement, there were sudden illnesses, 2 additional snowstorms, rescheduled delivery days, and broken tractor implements. And, since the Universe’s informers apparently got our return day wrong, on our first day back we had one non-functioning cream separator, a dramatic but fortunately harmless demonstration of the volcanic effects of combining acid and alkaline wash solutions, and one minor propane explosion that has us down to one boiler for a few days. But with Craig and Stella at the helm, a lot of moving snow, some late nights, some early mornings, and even some overnight stays, the crew rocked through it. The yogurt got made, the cows got milked, milk got bottled, snow got pushed, and yogurt got delivered to stores. If you weren’t a member of Team Sidehill, you’d never even know things weren’t perfectly smooth. Thanks team, you are all incredible and awesome and the main reason for any success that we might enjoy. Thank you, thank you, thank you! 

Starting tomorrow, Stella, Craig, and Shahid are beginning their well-earned vacations. We figure we’ve been through pretty much all of it at this point (I mean - propane explosion? Where did the Universe come up with that one?) so I’m not sure what’s left for this coming week. We’ll let you know… Yikes!

Oh, and the good side? Shahid lost his Super Bowl bet with Craig, and made good on his promise to supply staff lunch. We are currently snarfing down the most incredible array of nachos and nachos toppings you’ve ever seen. Topped with sour cream, of course.