Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cranky Weather

Okay, so it's me, not the weather, that is cranky. It's cold. Very cold.

At the beginning of this single digit cold snap, the upright freezer in our house quit working. Good timing, I thought smugly, and moved all the frozen food into boxes and coolers and loaded them into the garden trailer, parked in the shop/garage. No worries about the food thawing in this weather. We called the repair person who said he'd be out soon but hasn't been. I want a new freezer before the weather warms. But that's the least of my complaints.

All seemed manageable at first... as long as the well pump kept working so I could carry hot water from the house to thaw water troughs and buckets. The sheep and llamas have to deal with ice water as I just break their ice with a shovel (a 2 x 4 won't do it on the two inches of ice that accumulates each night). I scoop out the ice chunks with a deep fat fryer basket. This trick I learned many cold winters ago. I have another such basket by the horse water troughs.

On about the second or third day of this ordeal, Johnny woke one morning to say, "I don't think I put light bulbs in the pump house." He went down to do so. Shortly thereafter, water quit coming out of the house tap... either because he'd had the door open for awhile down there or because the pump finally got tired of the cold and froze. ...Well, not really the pump since it's a submersible, but the lines above the ground.

Eventually Johnny got that thawed and life seemed manageable again. But it was not to last.

As I came toward the house for another load of hot water, I saw a geyser behind the chicken house. A pipe had burst there and water was gushing out all over everywhere. I ran to unplug the well... and call Johnny, who was, of course, working on someone else's problems elsewhere. He assured me I could still draw hot water out of the tank which is upstairs... if I opened a faucet upstairs to let the air in. I did but no water came out of the hot water spigit he had kindly installed in the mud room during a past cold snap. I stepped outside to call him again (we don't get cell phone reception in the house and I have no cordless phone) and saw steam rising from behind the chicken house. The hot water was draining, all right, through the broken pipe into the chicken yard.

I called Johnny again. This time he came home, capped the chicken water off, and I went back to hauling water to the animals. Life was good. Relatively speaking.

Then the water in the kitchen sink stopped running out of the kitchen sink. I bailed into a bucket and dumped the water on my frozen plants outdoors. (I suspect I'm going to lose a lot of outdoor plants this cold snap... there's no snow cover to protect them.) I tried shooting hot water down the drain to thaw what I figured must be frozen under the house. Didn't work. Johnny put straw under there thinking that would warm it enough. Didn't work. Then he got out his amazingly long snake and tried to unclog whatever was clogging it. Didn't work. Our drain is still blocked which means no operable dishwasher or washing machine. The dirty dishes are piling up. I'll have to wash in a tub like in the good ol' days which, if you ask me, weren't so good at all.

Late last night, as I was attempting to haul my last load of hot water for the day to the animals, the hose from the spigit in the mud room spewed water everywhere. I don't know if the washer finally gave out or what, but I said many curse words I didn't remember knowing... and decided the animals would just have to have not-so-warm water tonight. This morning, Johnny fixed it for me. I will now attempt to get through yet another day and hope for fewer challenges. Johnny, meanwhile, is back to trying to unclog the drain.

The good news is, although the freezer repair person has not shown up, the food is still well frozen outdoors and the weather shows no signs of thawing it.


  1. I forgot about the two times (so far) the fuse blew in the milk room so the heaters in there were off and the water froze...

    And today when I came back in from milking, feeding, cleaning and carrying water, there was a message on the phone from the freezer repair man saying he was at our house but no one answered the door or came out when he honked. In the background, I could hear our neighbors' guinea fowl... he was at the wrong house. I called him and told him. He said he'll be here this afternooon.

  2. This makes me feel better. Our kitchen pipes froze and our drain froze, causing the dishwasher to back out onto the floor in the kitchen. The water also ran through into the bathroom in the basement.
    My only thought was--- And I thought I lived in the CITY. These things don't happen in the city!
    They do, but gratifying (for me at least) to see that they would be much, much worse in the country.