I’m sick of winter

I’m done with winter, officially.

Snow and ice on the farm.
Snow and ice on the farm.

Let me start of this by telling you what went wrong with my day yesterday. It was a day I’m happy to have behind me where everything seemed to go wrong.

  • Miguel, like everyone else yesterday, couldn’t get to work due to the road conditions. He would have come in anyway but I told him not to risk it.
  • One of the pigs needed water so I tried turning the valve to give her water. The valve shattered in my hand.
  • The well that provides water to the entire farm, both humans and animals, quit suddenly and without warning or apparent cause. My guess was it froze with all the cold weather.
  • The heat that was keeping momma pig number 1 warm quit, without warning.
  • While lamenting the lack of heat on momma and babies, when I looked over at momma pig #2, she was going into labor. Also with no heat.
  • While trying to diagnose the lack of heat in the hospital barn, I found myself in the main barn at the load center. While working in there, we discovered that the power to the freezers where I keep all of our product had become wonky. They were working, but only just.
  • With no water from the main well, and animals everywhere needing water, we went to the shiny new solar well to switch over to backup water. However the┬ájust installed and shiny new well, wouldn’t work because a section of pipe was frozen solid.
  • With no primary well, and no solar well, we went to the OTHER backup well (always be prepared!) and switched the system over to it. It took a few minutes to find the correct valve under the snow and weeds but finally we got it switched over. No water.
  • I tromped over to the well house to discover that the well was turned off. A few switches flipped and the pump came to life. However the water was muddy brown because the well hadn’t been used in years.
  • Dustin got stepped on by a cow.

Since everything else was broken, we started checking everything else.

  • The chicken waterer was frozen.
  • Pig waterer itself was broken.
  • The solar well’s cistern was frozen.
  • And because of the snow and ice, we had limited food for all the animals because we basically had to work with what was already on site.

This is just the summary list. It doesn’t include the cursing, the slipping and falling on ice, the tools that broke or didn’t work, etc, etc. It was quite a day. There was much cursing and consternation.

At the end of the day, our status was, we had brown water but we had water everywhere we needed it. We had emergency backup heat in the barn.

Power worked well enough to keep the freezers freezing, not that it mattered since it was as cold outside as in the freezer.

My status at the end of the day was that we were three bottles of wine shorter in the wine cooler and I had a wonderful home made sloppy joe that Dustin and I made pretty much on the fly. Dustin also provided the hamburger for the sloppy joe because we are completely sold out of beef till I can pick up our three cows tomorrow. I discovered that your beef tastes better after you’ve been paid for it.

So that’s what went wrong yesterday. How about what went right?

  • Dustin jumped in and helped with everything that was going on. Doubling up really helped be get my head above water. It’s wonderful to have friends.
  • I randomly decided to wear my Filson merino wool socks yesterday morning. That, combined with my warm boots meant I had snuggly warm feet all day, even when I was flat on my back like a turtle after falling down on the ice.
  • The heat to my house worked perfectly and my family was cozy and warm all day, oblivious to the cold.
  • My kids were able to go sledding on our big hill. The conditions were perfect for my old Flexible Flyer and the kids sledded farther than I ever did in my life.
  • Miguel, who offered multiple times to come to work anyway, was safe at home and there were no accidents.
  • Momma pig number 2 delivered 5 healthypiglets who are as cute as the first batch.

    Two pigs into labor, with more on the way.
    Two pigs into labor, with more on the way.
  • The drinking water that we’ve put away over the past year came in handy. Plus I got to mock Dustin for not having any water of his own.
  • After getting everything handled, Dustin came up for dinner. We had a great dinner with family and friends and really had a nice night.
  • The John Deere Gator did awesome on the ice and snow. In fact today I pulled a loaded van out of the ice and onto the road with it.

The end result is that on the day we had all the snow and ice, the electrical panel that runs the barn randomly decided to give up the ghost and we lost one leg of the service taking all the 240 volt items and half the 120 volt items. We got everything fixed and all is now well.

The heater working, finally!
The heater working, finally!

However it was exciting at the time.

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