The greatest fear Southern Man has about living out at The Land is not the isolation or lack of water or plumbing or heat in The Trailer or nonexistent cell or phone service - it's that the unimproved "driveway" - native red clay and shale - that runs back to The Barn gets slicker than snot when it rains and he worries about getting in and out. So far so good - there have been a few slippery mornings but he's always made it up to the gravel road OK. And having lived out there for several months now the clay has gotten pretty packed. But every time Southern Man wakes in the middle of the night to the sound of rain he always wonders if he'll make it out in the morning.
Well, it's been a grubby week, weather-wise; lots of rain and sleet and snow with temperatures hovering at about freezing, so it's wet and icky and mucky and muddy. And Wednesday morning The Hyundai couldn't make it up the driveway. And in his efforts to do so Southern Man managed to slide off into the ditch and get pretty mired in. Fortunately The Titan, even though it's rear-wheel-drive, did make it out and Southern Man got to work on time, where he spent the day pondering on how he was going to get The Hyundai un-stuck.
This was no small problem. The Hyundai was a couple hundred feet off the gravel road - way too far for a winch to reach. That is, if Southern Man had a winch. He's had The Titan for six years now and ever summer he thinks "I ought to put a winch on that truck." A tow truck could probably navigate the muddy driveway and yank it out - and it would be "free" thanks to State Farm's roadside assistance coverage - but Southern Man has his pride. So he thought about it all day and got home at six-ish (greeted by freezing rain and wind) and decided he'd give it his best shot so he put on his work boots and some old jeans and an expendable jacket and put a headlamp on his head and got to work.
So using various combinations of boards from his woodpile and buckets of rock and no small amount of slipping and sliding and mudslinging and cursing Southern Man slowly but surely worked The Hyundai out of the ditch and into the driveway and all the way up to the gravel road. And in the process became thoroughly coated with slimy red muck. And, sadly, the interior of The Hyundai is also liberally decorated in red. It took about two hours, well into the freezing dark of the night. But it was out!
So tomorrow will be Hyundai-cleaning day. And laundry day, with a special load of muddy clothes. And possibly a bit of celebration for completing a difficult task, albeit messily, without having to ask for help. Yes, that actually means something to Southern Man, who is heartily tired of people telling him "you can't do that." Oh, yes he can!
And with finances increasingly in order he's already budgeted for ten tons of gravel, to be delivered as soon as weather permits. That'll be a start on getting a solid foundation under that driveway. Lord, thank you for providing all of my needs. Amen.