When I was 17, my parents moved us to the back woods of Northern BC in an attempt to get out of the ‘rat race’. At the time my sister & I thought they had simply found another way to torture us. No running water, no electricity, just back to basics. Of which they really had no clue. Thus began a five year adventure in learning to be self sufficient. We packed water by bucket for the first summer, until my dad finally found the well that connected to the house. We learned to garden in very rocky soil – which is to say – not well at all. I learned to use a gas powered wringer washing machine and that clothes will freeze solid when being wrung out at 40 below. I learned to chop firewood and how to prime the hand pump when we needed water in the house. Through various stages in my life I’ve had cause to look back at those days and laugh at our incompetence and naivety and occasionally found ways to apply that information.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this is my first winter with horses and it has been a huge learning curve. When we found our property, I did a happy dance because there was a water hydrant in the pasture and an insulated trough. And all was well in my world until mid-December. The waterer worked great during our -35C temps and then we warmed up to -15C and whoops- the waterer froze up and couldn’t be used. So from mid-December to this week, I’ve been packing 20 – 25 gallons of water daily to the horses.
I even have a system, which includes putting a large rubbermaid container onto a small plastic sided toboggan, filling it with 5 gallon buckets (x4) and then hauling it out to the trough, bucketing it out and repeating as necessary. Not really a big deal. Except that I have some health issues and not supposed to lift ANY thing. But I do – because a) it needs to be done and b) I am not going to stop living because of an irritating disability.
This week our weather was unseasonably warm and while I was trying to cleanup some of the horse manure around the trough I thought what the heck and began to play with the hydrant. I have periodically tried to see if the hydrant would work and the handle simply would not move. Until this week. I did hear a little water trickle and so began to fiddle with the handle as lessons from my youth caught up with me. So as I remembered about priming the pump, I put the attached hose into the trough and began to pump the handle. And Eureka – after four or five pumps, the water was running again!
So now I can smile and be thankful for the lessons learned.