I quit smoking on March 22, 2011 with Electronic Cigarettes

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A winter- wonderland it wasnt.....

well, I am gettng worse and worse at this blogging thing...

Lets see, its been 3 or so weeks. And shortly after I wrote last time Texas had a freeze like you wouldnt belive.

It got below freezing for a few nights. Which reeks havoc when you have outside animals and their various water throughs. Plus of course your own pipes and such.

Now we've been in this house for 4 years, and have never had a problem. So I wasnt real worried about much. Of course, we have to rewrap the outside faucets each winter because the tape comes off, or they just get uncovered.

So, I asked the kids to do the horses faucet, gave them the stuff to wrap it with, the links of tape they needed (because I knew if I sent them out with a full roll of duct tape, someone would either A.) become hopelessly entangled in it and end up attached to the faucet, or B.) be delibertly taped to a tree and left there.

I told them to fill the horse trough and turn off the water, detach the hose, empty it out and then wrap the pipe. I was busy doing another pipe, and winterizing the rabbits cages, and double checking them having pulled the water from the chickens and the rabbits. So I fiqured they could handle such a simple job.

Dark caught us and I never got the chance to check their handywork.

THis was taken about 10 the next morning. The icicle is from a drip in the faucet. Luckily there were no issues.

Within a few days it would be well below freezing both at night and during the day.
We were also out of feed, and BR knew that incase of ice he wouldnt be able to work for a few days, so he was working late. A friend of mine and I drove to get feed, we buy it in 1,000 lb sacks. And you have to unload it with a tractor. We did this the day the front was rolling in. By the time the kids got home, and we everything wrapped and ready to go, BR still wasnt home. the hogs were out of feed and so I got to put it in the feeders.

The kids helped. there is a solid metal hook that we put on the bucket of the tractor, then manipulate the bucket till we get all 4 straps on the hook, then we just tote it where it needs to go.

Under it is a draw string, you release the string and it empties into whatever you are putting it in. This is a MUCH better way that us dumping it in the feeder out of 50lb sacks one at a time. Especially easier on the person driving. I had two of these to get picked up, and moved, and it was COLD. VERY COLD.

Once we got the first one done, I told the kids to run back to the trailer and meet me there, Having Bow on my lap was enough, I didnt want the rest of the kids hanging off the tractor too.

This is what I saw when I drove back up.

the kids singing and dancing. they didnt have any music, it was 45* we had been working hard, trying to get stuff done, and they were still enjoying themselves. Or scared that if they stood still too long they would freeze in that posistion...

BR got home before we finished, and he helped finish up everything that we needed to get done.

The way the rabbits water is set up, is its just a bucket sat on top of their hutch, with clear lines ran to nipples inside their cages. It freezes pretty quickly.
and is a major PITA to deal with on freezing days.

I have tried a few methods, Emptying it out for the most part, then going out with warm water the next day. forgetting to empty it out and having to defrost it the next day. (by toting about 50 pots full of boiling water) , bringing in the whole contraption, before and after it freezes..

Of course on the days that it stayed below freezing all day we had to trapse outside every few hours with hot water and dump in there, to eliminate the slush that was forming and keep it going.

the chickens water is in a galvanized thing... I cant explain it. Its a big bowl, tall like a chili pot with a bottom on it that holds water. Then you put a lid over it and it forms a suction that doesnt allow it to just empty. anyway, the lid goes all the way to the bottom of the pot/pan thing. And when it freezes you have a HUGE 5 gallon block of ice.

The hogs have huge .... pools.. I guess. its a rectangle about a foot and a half deep, about 8 foot by 4 foot. there are pictures of them on previous blogs. the mud day blog is one of them.

and the horses have a 60 gallon rubbermaid ... thing.. its tall, and big, like a bathtub, but taller.

Anyway, The chickens and rabbits we had to deal with constantly. The horses and pigs we just had to break the ice. OH and I still have 2 horses down the road, they too have a tub, about 2 foot tall, 4 foot long and 2 foot wide.

BR had told me that I needed to wrap the faucets at the horse pen, and the hogpen/coop. So we did that.

and we came in, had supper and went to bed. it froze that night. Getting down pretty dang cold. The next morning I woke up to get the kids to the bus, and Rayley went in to brush her teeth. There was no water. The kids came in to tell me that the horses and pigs had almost 3 inches of ice over their water, and that we had ice skating rinks all over the yard. It had rained during the week and the puddles had not dried up yet.

I decided to keep the kids home, woke BR up and told him about having no water, and we waited on daylight.

I was very worried, the rabbits couldnt go very long with out water and they had already been since 7 the night before with out it. . and although we had emptied their lines, a little water had stayed in some and they had frozen up.(doesnt work well to do that sort of stuff after dark..) So I couldnt start defrosting with boiling water with out ... well water! I had the kids bring in all the lines. to thaw them out in here.

We had no clue how we would deal with the frozen lines. Our water comes up through the horse pasture, its a pretty good peice from the highway to the house, burried. But BR decided the first thing to do was to check the lines around the house, especially the one coming into the house. Come to find out he hadnt told me to wrap it. And since its at the back of the house, up under it, I never thought about it.

But, that pipe freezing was a blessing. As he was walking around the side of the house to check it, he stepped in slush. and on frozen ice. and it was leading all the way down the hill towards the barn.

We got the kids on blowdrying the pipe that goes to the house, and he and I worked on fixing the broken pipe. It was busted UNDERGROUND, at a freakin T! talk about hard to fix. We had to cut out the T, collar it in 3 places and get all that to go back together. Not hard when you just have lines infront of you. But these were burried about 12 inches underground. so we didnt have much play. Plus, it was bitterly cold and they were brittle. Just cutting the lines we were cracking them.

We finally got it done, and started to cover it back up. It didnt take 30 minutes, and already the MUD was frozen! the MUD!! So BR got on the tractor and headed to get a load of dirt to put on top of it. To make sure the hole was filled in really good and it had a protective layer. This area had eroded a little bit, because part of the T is going up to a faucet and the kids are bad about turning it on full blast to clean their mud boots off. so it had ate into the soil, only leaving a few inches of dirt over the pipes.

When he got the bucket full of sand to put over it, there was literly a layer of frozen earth. Like he had gotten asphalt and brought it up there. It was about 3 inches thick.

Finally we got water, and started trying to break up water for everyone.

The kids got baseball bats, broke it open for all the animals, and then went to beating on the ice patches in the yard. So noone would step on them and fall. Plus it was fun...

We managed this for about 4 days. There were a few more issues. One time when the kids brought in the rabbit waterers, they broke about 3 fittings. Well, I have about 20 fittings, and another 20 feet of plastic pipe. I couldnt find it ANYWHERE. I put it in the 'safe place' and now its gone. So I had to drive to town to buy 3 .25cent fittings..

Then there were the times they would come in the house SOAKING wet. and I do mean WET. in 25* weather.

They were surfing on the water troughs. because the ice was a layer, about 3-4 inches thick, they started off by stomping a hole, well then they realized you could 'surf' on it. and they did. And they used the mud holes in the hog pen as slip and slides. They had a blast.

Luckily that was our only 'no water' scare. My inlaws were not as lucky. She called me and said they had no water, and I told her I'd come and fix it, since I am the only person who will fit under there, thats willing to do it.

When BR (who came along for emotional support I think... ) and I got there, we found the problem strait off. about a 6ft section of pipe had literly splintered all the way up. So, not a problem. I changed it out and got it back together. Granted I would cut it and it would split further, it was still VERY cold, and the pipe was 15 years old. But it wasnt hard.

Then when we turned back on the water we checked for more leaks. and we found another one.

In the meantime, I walked around the side of the house, my sister in laws truck was in the driveway and her son was in it, with my mother in law talking to him. As my mother in law walked away she patted him and I saw his face, he looked like he was sick or in pain.

COme to find out, He and Matt had been playing football and Matt was trying to strip the ball, and Masen fell, trying to catch himself and breaking his arm above the elbow. She was taking him to the ER. I hadnt heard anything. And the yard is NOT that big, None of us knew. Everyone said he screamed pretty loud, but I guess BR and I tune out screaming or something. Matt felt just awful, but we told him that accidents happen.

Once we got to where I could pull the pipe down and cut it we got back to work on it. This was the one where a pipe did about 3 90*'s and went INTO the house. Luckily it was the hot water heater, so we could get to it easy. That one was NOT as easy, as there were drain pipes, other lines, and blocks and beams all with in inches of the broken pipe. I got it together, turned on the water and there was a leak. So I had to undo all the work, get more pipe and try again. More splintering and pulling and pushing. Luckily BR was there on the outside of the house cheering me on. I dont know what I'd do with out him.

come to find out, the dang elbow that I had put on originally had a freakin crack in it. We finally got the plumbing fixed, and the kids played some football with my other BIL and SIL when they got there. No, they dont learn.

I am glad this is not something we deal with on a regular basis. It was a week of constant worry, agervation, and trouble.

OH and because it was getting down in the 20's at night. We ended up letting that stray dog in the house. HE was VERY well mannered. He would come in and lay behind the couch, never moving. But now he thinks he belongs in here. He doesnt.

I also brought in the rabbit momma and her month old babies- it was just too cold for tiny little rabbits to be outside.

I was lucky enough to be able to tarp up the brooder with the baby chicks, and kept them outside for the most part, although they did spend some nights inside.

Other than the hard freeze, things have been pretty normal. the kids have not brought in any live creatures. Although they did find and bring me in a skull. I dont know what it was- I'm guessing possum.

When I told them I didnt have a clue, they said "well maybe we can reconstruct its skeleton and fiqure it out." At which I laughed and said "sure, if you can find it all"
This is the point where they proceeded to produce the peices.....

The time for the baby bunnies for 4-H to be born has came and gone. Only one doe had any, she had 7, and had them on the wire and not in a nest, and we lost them all. Then our meat doe, (hers were not going to be pure bred) had 8 babies, but we ended up loosing them too. I just pray the broilers will pan out, because if not the kids will have nothing to show, and we will be out ALOT of money for nothing. I have rebred the does, hoping for some spring babies, to sell for meat, use for meat, and to keep a few breeders.

Here is Rayley on one of the cold days, dressing for school.

We have also spent the last 3 weekends fixing BR's front end. He has had my truck for 3 weeks.
6 days a week for 3 weeks. I have to wait for him to get home around 9, make sure all the kids are in bed, he is fed, and then go to walmart to get groceries. If I need something from the feedstore, which is closed on Sundays, I have to get someone to pick it up for me. Luckily the parts place is open on Sunday. The first Sunday I spent running to all 3 stores, trying to get each and every part- some had them for much cheaper, some didnt have them, one place would have something the others didnt. I have learned more about tie rods, pitman arms, idler arms, boots, ball joints and various other gunk than I ever wanted to know. And I HATE to be greasy. and a front end has LOTS of grease- ESPECIALLY a 4X4.

We hope to get it finished Sunday. I pray we do, I need my truck back. of course, even if we get it done Sunday, we have to wait for BR to be off, so we can trailer it to town and get it to the tire store to have a front end alignment done on it.

Last weekend was pretty chilly while we were out there, and the kids were banished to their rooms to get them clean. I ran to town to trade in some parts. When I got home, this is what I saw.

THe boys had abandoned ship first, going out under the guise of helping dad or checking on rabbits or something. Leaving Rayley and Bow inside. Well, she knew he couldnt go outside nekid, so she dressed him, so they too could go outside.

Yes, that is a princess jacket. and the socks are pink. Apparently his boots didnt match the ensamble, so they just ignored the need for footwear.

Speaking of the Princess of Whinesalot. She lost her first tooth day before yesterday!! We tried to pull it the night before, well BR and Brett did. I didnt, loose teeth gross me out. But couldnt get it out. So, she ended up loosing it at school the next day.

So, as you can see, nothing has really changed. Even Hoover is still living up to expectations.
Last night he asked if he could make Tuna Fish. I told him yes. And was picking up and cleaning the kitchen as he made it. I had to tell him each step to take, so I was staying close. Walking out occasionally to do something else. I told him to get a colander to drain the tuna in it. And walked back into the kitchen to see the colander sitting on the table. I apparently wasnt clear in my instructions for him to put it in the SINK.