Julie Carter is a New Mexico writer and author whose column appears weekly on Rio Grande Digital.
The abundance of recent snows isn’t always as easy on folks as the beauty of it, or the need, would imply. Country folks are forced into a different work mode for economic survival.
Not infrequently, a complete change from a northern zip code to a southern one is prompted by winter after winter of fighting life in a blizzard. Most years, that plan works well until global warming backfires and the Southwest is blanketed with repeated snow storms that put the Rocky Mountain high communities to shame.
Abandoning heavy winter wear, vehicle cold weather kits and other Nordic related items seemed like a freeing moment – at the time.
The new set of coveralls under the Christmas tree of the newly relocated rancher, now with a banana belt location, was received much like he’d been gifted with a vacuum cleaner. He promptly returned them, declaring in colorful language he had no intention of wearing such again – ever.
Fast forward to recent days and two feet of snow, ice that is 6 to 8 inches thick on the cattle drinkers and there is a considerable amount of “noise” taking place.
A 4×4 that’s needed fixed but hasn’t been, got stuck when just backing it out of the shop. The tractor has been coaxed and cajoled to start, chains drug from the back corner and put on a second pickup, also without the 4-
The snowy outhouse
wheel drive working.
The grumbling of the rancher and the grinding of resistant wheels rolling give way to the bawling of the cattle crowded along the fence line waiting for their “meals on wheels” that they know will come.
Those who live in even more rural circumstances face other serious winter challenges – like keeping the outhouse accessible and in good working order.
A recent memo of response from More Value Outhouse Inc. outlined one such situation:
“Dear Mr. Larsen: Our sales person Frank is out of the office this week until Jan. 2 but I, as the top sales person here at More Value Outhouse, will be pleased to help you. As I look at the invoice where you requested the Florida Model Rx 77-22, I must remind you that this is to be used next to the equator only. From the photo you share, it is evident that you also didn’t install the R77 springs on the door. We at More Value Outhouse do not warranty any model being used improperly.
“After closer inspection of your installation, it is noted that you have installed the tie downs improperly which are against Outhouse EID code because of tripping hazards. Also, changing the size of the moon from original size voids any warranty. If you so desire, you may return it back to our factory outlet. We will refund your purchase price of $235 less the shipping of $325 and will bill your credit card for any excess.
“As an added bonus, we will include a month’s supply of freshly harvested cobs that need only a good soak in water and then dried fully for a fluffier texture.
“We look forward to helping you with your future Outhouse needs. Thank You for using More Value Outhouse products. We aim to please.”
Julie can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website at http://julie-carter.com/