Lessons from my youth

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.


A new appreciation for football training

I had to pick up hay yesterday and then the joy of unloading it at -20C. Normally it isn’t an issue, since i Am usually able to unload by rolling the bale off the truck.

Now I probably need to explain that this is our first winter with horses and we are using 600 lb round bales. When we ordered our hay for the year it was under the mistaken idea that my hubby Tom, would actually be here to help unload. Well, it turns out he’s working in a logging camp five hours away from home and is only home for two days every two weeks. That means that I am on my own to pick up and unload the hay every 10 days.

So far this winter he’s been home exactly twice. Which means that I have had to be pretty creative in how I get the bales off the truck. Depending on how the bale gets loaded where we pick it up, I can usually get it off without too much trouble. I have a system – and it isn’t pretty to watch – but works and makes me ever so grateful that no one can see me. I am usually able to get up into the back of the pickup and brace myself against the cab of the truck and use my legs to push the bale up and off the truck.

Of course, yesterday was an exercise in frustration. I didn’t really notice that the bale got loaded right up against the cab of the truck until I got home and had to climb up to wrap it in a hay net and then try to get to off. So began an hour long struggle to move the bale. I ended up jimmying it from side to side until I could get between it and the back of the truck box. And for whatever reason yesterday I just couldn’t muster enough strength to flip it off. So then I began to use my whole body & shoulders to push. It only took a few minutes of this to make me stop and laugh as I realized what makes young football players so tough.

So as I was gasping for breath and leaning against the bale for support, both of our horses were ‘circling the wagon’ in anticipation of the new hay. From the way they carry on you’d think they were starving, however, reality is that both boys are FAT. And haven’t gone hungry for a minute since they came to live with us. Tom’s horse Floyd, is more easily persuaded to stay away, but my boy, Gold is persistent. In addition to trying to keep the boys away from the truck, both our dogs were adding to the fun as they were looking for any treats that might be in the hay for them. There never is.

Several of my horsey friends have suggested that I use a tractor or a quad or a tree or fence post to help but since a tractor or quad isn’t in the cards until later this year and the feeder is in the middle of the pasture with nothing solid enough to attach to pull it off, I am stuck with wrestling it myself.

Believe me- next year things will be different 🙂







First blog post

Welcome to my new blog!

With the start of a new chapter in life, I’m finding that I have many mini-adventures that need to be captured – if only for the sake of the humor of my days.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you will enjoy as I share my adventures about starting over on a small rural property