Enuf Already!!!
By MJ Shelton

Skiers like snow.  I am a skier, therefore I like snow.  Yes, I like snow but geez...........enuf already!!! Last week it was fun.  We had anywhere from 18 inches to a couple feet depending on where you were standing.  Then we had a week off and here comes another dump but this time it's a big one, Martha.  It has been snowing now for 3 days.  Today is the worst.  My guess is we will get an additional foot today.  We were outside digging out the tractor/snow blower and I measured 40 inches of undisturbed snow but I don't think I was standing on the ground either.  We estimate that it is snowing at a rate of 2" per hour right now……3:41 MDT.  Gives a whole new meaning to "Think Snow!"  It is also brutally cold….brrrrrrrrr.

12-30-06, 6 pm.  It finally stopped snowing.  Amen

New Years Eve…What a gorgeous morning!  Not a cloud in the sky and very very quiet.  Now the process begins…Here are a few of the photos I took over the past 4 few days and last week.

12-30-06 back porch 10 p.m.
12-31-06 back porch
Guest bedroom snow level taken 12-21-06 after Storm 1
Same view 12-30-06 during Storm 2
Today….New Years Eve
View from guest bedroom looking back to sunroom/bird feeders 12-31-06
Last week…Flicker at the heated bird bath
Yesterday...Flicker finding bird bath
Today…New Years Eve...I shoveled it out and it was covered by at least a foot of snow.
Yesterday, it took over an hour to shovel a path to the tractor …30 ft.
Mike trying to make the snow blower work in this heavy snow.  It eventually snowed another foot bringing our storm total to 58 inches!!!
Mike shoveling path to bird feeder from sunroom window 12-30-06.
Check out snow level next to him
Roof over porch…kind of scary.  I don't want that thing going down my neck very bad!
Mike on porch roof uncovering VITAL communications equipment, DISH TV & the internet dish 12-31-06
One lane to the road finished
View back toward our house
Front of house.  Still missing 8 steps to the front door.

As a member of the Emergency Services Committee, I want to take this opportunity to remind the newbies that living in the mountains is not for sissies.  NEVER, Never, never assume that someone is going to be able to help you.  PERIOD.  Always be prepared to take care of yourself.  This goes for emergencies of ANY kind.  With respect to medical, know that it will take anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour (depends on how long it takes you to get to the gate) to get to the hospital ON DRY ROADS.  Now might be a good time to download and READ a copy your Emergency Services Manual available on the website.  While this manual generally addresses fires, it should give you some ideas about planning ahead.  Heck, it might save your life and/or at least get you to think about what it takes to live in a mountainous environment and to start thinking……WHAT WOULD I DO IF???  Get used to watching the weather… www.crh.noaa.gov/forecast/MapClick.php?MapType=3&site=PUB&CiTemplate=1&map.x=182&map.y=240.  Have enough water, food, fuel and propane to last you a week.  Think about what you would do when, not if, the power goes out.  Do you have a generator?  Dry wood for the fireplace?  Do you have a dumb phone?  That's an older model telephone that has just a phone cord (no power plug) and allows you to call San Isabel or someone to let them know you are without power, as power outages can be spotty.  If you work and need to get off the ranch then you really need to prepare because staying in a motel is the only way to assure yourself that you will get there.  Same goes for part time residents needing to leave in a timely manner.  A note on plowing…….during the St. Patrick's Day Blizzard of 2003 it took us 5 days to just plow ourselves 500 feet to the road.  This was coincident with the bulldozer going by our driveway.  5 Days…bulldozer not grader.  All the wishing and wanting can't move snow when it gets so deep and heavy.  So how do you plan to get plowed out of your own place?  Even if you hired someone to do your driveway it still is completely dependent on this person's ability to get to the ranch.  If I-25 is closed wishing is about all you will do.  Being prepared, smart and patient is what it will take to make your snow bound days less stressful.

My apologies to those that think that perhaps I am being too tough or cynical but folks…this is serious stuff.  You just can't come to the Santa Fe Trail Ranch and expect it to be anything but what it is…….a rural, mountainous setting with limited resources.

To those sitting tight in their homes on the ranch…I am forever amazed by your resourcefulness.  KUDOS!  For those that are new to the ranch or PLAN (emphasis on the PLANning part) to move in the near future, I challenge you…AMAZE ME.

Happy New Year and God Bless America