Thursday, January 22, 2009

Stormy Weather

The Bag Lady had a frustrating day yesterday. She spent part of the day trying to fix her computer. It refuses to allow her to download the pictures and videos from her camera. Sigh. She will try again as soon as she has time.

She and the Rancher went to his mother's for supper last evening. The Princess had to go, too, because Grandma is one of her favourite humans. While they were there, a blizzard blew in and the drive home, although short, was not exactly pleasant. The Bag Lady was happy she didn't have far to go. She was also happy to get into the house and thought she was in for the night.

She was wrong.

When you live in the country and have a well supplying your water, occasionally things go awry. The Bag Lady turned on her kitchen tap and discovered the water pressure was down. This happens when the cows are drinking from their waterer, but they do not usually drink at night. The Bag Lady waited a few minutes and tried it again, and when the pressure did not return, bundled up and went out into the storm to check the pumphouse. This sits over the well, and contains the pressure tank. Occasionally, if the weather is really cold, the pumphouse cools down enough that the water freezes. The Bag Lady didn't really think it was cold enough for that to happen, but she decided she had to check, just in case the heater had quit working, or something else had gone wrong.

There was nothing wrong in the pumphouse - the heater was working and everything looked okay, so she trudged out to the corral in the blinding, blowing snow to check on the waterer. Sure enough, it was overflowing. Back to the house she trudged and she and the Rancher spent the next hour and a half fixing it. It has a float in it similar to what is in your toilet, and when the cows drink the float rides down with the water. When it rides down, it opens a valve that allows the bowl to fill again.When the bowl is full, the float shuts the valve. Simple.

Somehow, the cover that sits over the float had gotten bent around the float, preventing it from rising high enough to shut the water off. The Rancher, after much struggling with iced and frozen bolts, managed to wiggle the cover off. He straightened it, then went back to the pumphouse to turn the water on. Fortunately, the float was not damaged and everything worked properly. So he replaced the cover and finally got to go to bed for his much-needed rest.

He and the Bag Lady determined that due to the ice built up around the waterer, one of the cows must have slipped and put a foot in the waterer, bending the cover. So the Bag Lady, who is supposed to go to town today for a physiotherapy appointment, will first take the axe out and try to chip away as much of the built-up ice as she can. When she is in town, she will pick up something to help melt the ice.


Reb said...

Yes, we are going to get that storm today(?) too. I don't look forward to waiting for buses in it, I can tell you that. Take it easy with the ice chopping, you don't need to undo all the good that physio has already done.

Penny said...

That sounds like a chilly way to spend an evening :0( Glad it got fixed, and second Reb on taking it easy with the back!

TA x

Anonymous said...

man, Im gonna say here what I do in email.

you are one TOUGH WOMAN.

take care of you.


Miz who could NOT FIND THAT MUSCLE (!) though she got lost on the way she thinks :)

Hilary said...

Sheesh, I have such a cushy life compared to yours. I could use some of your muscle, as Miz put it. But feel free to keep that storm.

new*me said...

sounds so homey.....eating dinner at mom's when the blizzard arrives :).........I have a lovely picture in my head!

Rupal said...

Amen Mizfit! That's what I would call a work-out! Whew, I'm tired just reading about it! I could learn a thing or two from you Bag Lady!

Tom Rooney said...

With your last line, "pick up the ax" I thought you were going to say and "fix that cow for good this time". Hope you have a much better day today.

Geosomin said...

Wow...I'm sure you have spent more relaxing evenings. I really enjoy hearing all the things about farm life, altho I'm sure in the case of things like last night, you'd much rather have tales of other things. I'm glad you were able to fix it and there was no harm done.

Please be careful with the axe. As someone who is impossibly clumsy and can hurt herself in a paper bag, the thought of swinging an axe around on ice fills me with dread.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you're tough! (that's all I can say, I'm in awe).

Anonymous said...

Whenever I think my life is tough, I remember how much you have to do on the ranch. You are one awesome lady.


the Bag Lady said...

Reb - it was nasty! Couldn't see a thing driving home.

Oh, and did I mention that with the windchill the temperature this morning is -32C?

TA - it was a little chilly - my job was holding the flashlight, so not very active!

Miz - somedays I really wish I was a delicate flower....but usually only when I have to go out and do something when it's really cold! :)

Hilary - you're probably tougher than you think! And I passed that storm on as quickly as I could!

Annette - it was lovely! Great meal, great company. And cozy.

Rupal - thanks. It will be quite a workout - the power was off, and I slept in this morning....of course, it's still dark out, so I'll wait until I can see before I go out there with an axe!

Tom - thanks for the giggle. It's really not the cows' fault - although their manners could use some work - they all push and shove each, trying to get at the water.

Geo - I, too, am a world-class klutz, so believe me, I'll be careful!

Tricia - thanks! Coming from someone who works out as much as you do, that's quite a compliment!

the Bag Lady said...

Messymimi - we were posting at the same time - thanks!

At supper last night, we were discussing what life was like on the farm for the Rancher's mom.

Believe me when I say, I have it EASY in comparison to what that little woman had to do!

solarity said...

It amazes me that I have city water waaay out here. I wondered whether I should spend the money on connecting to the water main three-tenths of a mile from the house or on drilling a well, and was seduced by the comfort of having running water when the electricity goes out (although in the past ten years at the old house I've had far more water outages than electric outages. Harking back to customer service, it is significant that the electricity is a coop, and the water plant is owned by the city that's the county seat.)
All that just to say that if I had a waterer, the water pressure wouldn't tell me it was stuck. Something to think about for the future.

Mary Anne in Kentucky

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

What a hassle. The blizzard sounds scary and then the water issues, too?

Dan and I were at a B&B in the Vermont countryside when there was a power outage. The B&B was on well water and we had just come back from running a half marathon and wanted nothing more than to bathe. It wasn't happening, and it gave me a lot of food for thought as to how much convenience we take for granted in the city.

the Bag Lady said...

Mary Anne in Kentucky - that is definitely something to think about. If you do eventually want to have animals there, you will need some sort of water source for them. This is a sure-fire way to know when there is a problem.
I just wish the problems didn't always occur when the weather is miserable!

Bunnygirl - I know exactly what you mean. A few mornings ago I was about to jump in the shower to get ready to go for my physiotherapy appointment when the power went off. I was actually considering canceling the appointment rather than going un-washed! Fortunately, the power came back on in time for me to get cleaned up and make the appt. on time.
Something like that would never have occurred to me when I lived in the city!

Lucas said...

Bummer BL. Here's to a better day today!

JavaChick said...

Isn't winter fun? My sister has had her pipes freeze twice this winter which is unusual for that house (She and Brother-In-Law live in the half of the house that my grandparents lived in while I was growing up and no one remembers the pipes freezing there before). We think maybe it's because they installed a dishwasher last summer. Whatever the reason, never fun!

the Bag Lady said...

Lucas - thanks. You're right, it is a bummer.

Javachick - oh dear. If they know where the freezing is originating (like in a cupboard under the sink where the new connection to the dishwasher is situated) perhaps a simple solution is to leave the cupboard door open on cold nights. That's sometimes all it takes.
And no, having your water freeze up is never fun.

Melissa said...

Golly, you do live, Bag Lady. I was ticked off that I had to brush snow off my car the other day.

Anonymous said...

Good Lord Woman! Well, I know what you'll be saving all that ice for... My computer problems continue to worsen...

Anonymous said...

Oh jeez. And I thought it was bad when I'd have to leave the house because I'd made plans for the night... (coldness turns me into such a hermit).

Best of luck with the ice chipping!

Missicat said...

Take it easy with the chopping! Wow - life is certainly different on the farm then what I experience - seems to be something new everyday!
Did you explain to the cows to keep their big ol' feet to themselves???
It's still cold here....

Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm always fascinated to read your stories, but I must confess . . . sometimes they make me glad I live in the city.

Take care of your back, though! :(

Anonymous said...

The water problem brings it all back to me now! We've had problems with our well in the past. It wasn't fun trying to run a hose from the neighbors and then having that freeze up, as well! We then had to be patient for weeks before we could get any of the well- people to come and see what they could figure out. Until then, it was sponge baths! What fun! My worst water memory, however, is having our sewer freeze up and then having to run a hose out onto our sewer field all winter. It wasn't pretty! Hopefully when you get to town, all will go well!
Ditto on everybody's comments about looking after your back! Maybe you could put some felt liners on the cows' feet so they don't bend anything else up! Is that calf from the video still the queen, or king of escape artists?!

Emily said...

Oh wow! What a great way to end the day (can I samelessly plug my new post on how much yesterday sucked?!? LOL, J/K!) I'm glad you and the rancher are so handy; I bet you save tons of time and money doing so much yourselves. Here's to hopeing today is better!

Conny said...

Oh, Great Bag Lady will you please tell us (in a post) someday how about your transformation from a city girl to farm girl? I'll bet you have great stories to tell from those early days: mishaps, triumphs, things you needed to know but didn't, etc.

Thanks for posting, again. Cheers.

the Bag Lady said...

Melissa - Hehehehe - I was ticked off too, about having to brush the snow off my truck when I left MIL's house last night! It just got worse after that!

Marianne - I'm not sure I'd want to use that ice - it's all full of nasties.... Good luck with your computer - hope it gets fixed soon.

Sagan - I don't like leaving the house at night either when it's dark and cold. Sigh.

Missicat - I've told those cows and told those cows, but they just don't listen! They're worse than kids!

Marste - there are times when I wished I still lived in the city. Not very often, but sometimes!

Redbush - I knew you would understand about water problems! And that calf hasn't figured out how to undo all the different types of things I have holding that gate shut..... yet!

Emily - plug away! I'll slip over and read your post a little later on - still have chores to do outside.

Conny - once upon a time, there was a dumb city girl..... LOL - I will have to give some thought to writing a few posts about my experiences. There was the time I got stuck in the mud.....

Anonymous said...

It sounds like trying to fix a gigantic a snowstorm.

I hope you could take a hot bath after that, or at least have a nice cup of hot tea!