Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Shut the Barn Door....

 the horse just got out!!!!!!!!!!

Somehow, that old homily seems appropriate right now.

We've been enjoying another warm spell the last few days. I would feel pampered from all this nice weather if it weren't interspersed regularly with periods of extreme (according to me, anyway) cold.  Early last week we had another cold spell move through with temperatures in the minuses, but with windchills of minus 30 or more.

Sadly, it was then that my propane ran out.

See, "we" (by which I mean my dad) weren't able to finish piping the house for propane and get it all hooked up to the big tank sitting like an aircraft carrier in my front yard. So I have a bunch of little tanks scattered around to run the various necessities. And without so much as the courtesy of a warning, the propane tank that runs the well house furnace ran out. To make matters worse, the electric heater I keep out there for a supplement had come unplugged.

The well house was down to 20 degrees and the pipes were freezing by the time I found it. But this was only the beginning of sorrows, as it turned out. I had to move around a couple propane tanks, hook them up, and get the extra propane heater up and running. The well house quickly warmed up to around 80 degrees (the extra heater is VERY effective), but the water did not start to run.

The next step was to check to well, so I hauled Caleb out there and opened it up. I always make sure there are two people out there for well work because my well is an open pipe about 2 1/2 feet across---plenty of space to fall into. We immediately saw two problems. One was that the water level had fallen below the pipe, leaving it exposed to the cold and allowing the pipe to freeze. The other was that there were at least 3 bloated, soggy, dead rodents floating on top.

Excuse me while I pause to be ill.

We got a heat lamp down there and left it for a respectable length of time. Still no water. (And yes, we did remove the rodents. I shall draw a veil over the process, except to state that it involved disintegration) Next I plugged in some heat tape that ran along the pipe. Still no water. That pretty much leaves only one possiblility.

I have burned up my THIRD pump since moving to this house.

In my defense, the other two pump deaths were a direct result of an extremely stupid water tank system and this one was because of a totally different issue. That's some small comfort.

Very small.

So now I have no running water in the house. Not to worry, this hardy---yet whiny---pioneer girl can handle it!  We already get our drinking water bottled from town (a fact for which I am very grateful every time I find more dead rodents in the well). Now I am hauling all the washing water from my parents' house and "we" are pulling up buckets of water from the well to be used for what I shall delicately call "flushes".

I say "we" because I just stand there to make sure Caleb doesn't fall in. I tried to help, I really did, but I wasn't strong enough. Evidently my arms haven't gotten the news about women's lib yet, so they think they don't have equal upper body strength.....Caleb wanted bigger muscles anyway.

I'm sure I'll get a new pump eventually, but I'm guessing it won't be until the weather is a bit warmer. We're expecting a high of minus 15 and a low of minus 30 tomorrow---Not ideal well-fixing temperatures! In the meantime, I'll be hauling water and implementing my new policy of checking my heating systems twice a day during cold spells.

 I guess you CAN teach on old dog new tricks.

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