December 2011 First Snow

You think I would have been prepared to handle the first big snow fall of the season, especially since it didn’t happen until the second week of December, but when it happened I was still a bit surprised.

I was working nights at the tail end of the snow fall that only hit Stevensville. Throughout the night I felt the subzero cold blow into the region. It was -6 C on my drive home and I was worried. I was worried about puppies, pumps, water and livestock.

I got home from work at 6am and immediately did a quick check of everyone. All the animals were fine, but the water was frozen. Solid as a rock and I still hadn’t gotten the last pump put away.

After feeding and watering everyone I had a short nap knowing I had to go back into work for 6pm.

I woke at noon and after a cup of tea I braved the biting wind on a quest to save my pump, but first I set up the tank de-icer in the horse trough burning my hand in the process. It was foreshadowing.

I thought the dogs could run around the big pen while I was setting up the horse water, but this idea was immediately squashed as I looked over and saw Jackson standing in the middle of the partially frozen pond.

With my heart pounding I ran through the frozen muddy horse paddock into the dog pen trying not to scream. I was nearly hysterical as I called Jackson over to the edge of the pond. My leg was wet and my voice was higher than normal, but the word cookie was understood and he scampered over to the edge and bolted for the house. I started to consider moving at this point.

I locked the dogs in the safe dog pen area and returned to the pump where I struggled to get the hose disconnected. Obviously the other tenants of the pump house/garden tool storage were unhappy and the rakes started falling off the walls as I struggled. A shovel fell on my wet frozen hand sending needling pain up my arm. Yet, the hose remained stubbornly connected.

To give myself a break from the pump frustration I carried three buckets of water out to the pigs and ducks. In return Mr Smith bit me sharply on my upper thigh. I have a lovely beak shaped bruise on my leg and Brent is out of town. Will he believe I was bit by a duck? Of course he will.

I returned to the angry pump holding it between my legs while pulling on the three inch piece of PVC that goes ten feet into the sulpherous well. This was not the best position to avoid the fountain of water that sprayed up soaking my pants and coat, but I managed to severe the connection between PVC and pump.

The hose remained firmly stuck, so I sprayed it with some industrial lubricant and went looking for an extension cord needing another break.

I had to steal a cord from the christmas lights because unfrozen water for the pigs and ducks is more important than pretty lights. I strung the cord through the door into the make-shift pig water trough and plugged it in – it worked, but I really need to get a big rubber water pan.

Back to the pump. Using a third adjustable wrench I gave into my frustration and started striking the connection between the hose and pump. I smashed it with the side of the rusty wrench until my arm ached and then I hit it one more time.

The blows loosened the mineral build up on the threads and to my shear delight the hose head began to turn. A few spins and it was off and the pump was free. I dragged it into the house and down to the basement where I gave it a good kick of triumph.

During my happy dance in the driveway I slipped on the black ice and bruised my hip.

Would anyone like to trade a 23 acre hobby farm for a nice cozy condo?


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