DIY Tire Chains from the Untidy Ranch Pickup
- February 7, 2016
- Rachel Larsen
Last week, the January weather bore more resemblance to a late-March thaw, than true Winter. Though windy, the ice and snow were melting and the ground was soft and muddy. Softer and muddier, than I had anticipated when I made a veterinary appointment for my broodmares. I left my home at 9am to prepare for a 2pm appointment. The weather was so welcoming, I wore my cowboy boots rather than snow packs, and hesitated before adding several coats to the cab of the pickup.
I had to tiptoe through the mud in the corrals, to catch my blue saddle horse, but the sun was shining. So, any apprehensions I may have had melted along with the snow. The 25-mile drive to the pasture was uneventful, until I turned off the pavement. After bouncing over a few well-crusted snow drifts, common in Eastern Wyoming, I slid to a muddy stop in front of the gate. Examining the road ahead, as I opened the gate, a sense of growing unease in my gut. So, I turned the hubs in and shifted the pickup into 4-wheel-drive.
My instincts were good. The road was so rutted and soft with mud. I churned mud for 300-yards before coming to a dead stop, despite my precautions. These are the moments, that despite my carefully cultivated, capable ranch girl exterior, I secretly hope for a knight in shining armor to come charging over the hill on his white steed. So, I waited a moment and watched the horizon. No, knight. Thank goodness my husband never cleans out the bed of the pickup. His untidy habits might just be the achievement that earns him a title.
With some effort, I dug the tire chains, still tangled together from an eventful family drive out of the pickup. Then, I zipped up my rain jacket so I could roll around in the mud near the rear tires and began the process of fastening the chains. Wet, muddy, but not cold, I was able to extract my outfit from the mud and onto dry ground. Mentally patting myself on the back, I pulled up to check the pasture water and fill the tank. The water level looked good, our heifers were trailing in and all were accounted for, my day was looking up. “If I can handle this, I can handle anything,” I thought.
Smugly, I hopped in to move my pickup away from the water, so the cows could drink unmolested. I was still smiling to myself, when I heard a loud metallic pop. My smile and the tightener on my tire chain were gone, when I exited the vehicle. Breathing deeply, I crawled back in the pickup and pulled my granola bar out of my coat pocket. I refrained from banging my head against the steering wheel, but only because it interfered with eating my chocolate covered treat.
I decided to gather my horses first, then deal with my tire chains. So, I unloaded my horse and left the pickup and trailer put. The ground was slick and my horse, returning fresh from an injury, was feeling a little saucy. So I went about gathering my mares, oh so gingerly, to avoid a fall or a demonstration of bad behavior from Blue. Despite my scaredy-cat ways, I corralled the mares and other horses successfully.
Once they had eaten some grain, I caught my patients and loaded all three horses in the trailer. Now what to do about the tire chains? The road was in such bad condition, I couldn’t make it out without them, but how could I repair them with no tools? I crawled into the bed of the pickup, to see what I could find. Two dog collars, two bungee cords, and one length of cheap nylon rope later, I was able to cobble the chains into position. Sir Guy the Untidy to the rescue! My horses and I made it to the pavement in one piece. Despite the day’s chaos, I was able to savor a moment of peace with my equine friends. I’d call that a win, just don’t tell my husband, knighthood would go right to his head.
About Rachel Larsen
Rachel Lohof Larsen is a fifth-generation rancher, mom, wife, cowgirl, and blogger. Originally from Montana, Rachel has a BA in Environmental Science from Colorado College. She and her husband, Guy, bring a sense of integrity and a strong interest in sustainability to all their pursuits....