Sunday, December 31, 2017

Day Five of The Bottom

You have to decide what attitude you're going to have about a bad situation. You just have to. Because if you let your emotions take the reins you'll end up pulling out all your remaining hair or screaming as you run naked into a dark forest. Or worse, commenting on someone's Facebook page with a correction. So when I was standing in my mudroom earlier today—watching the pooling water slosh around my feet—I chose to be very happy that I owned my very own indoor spring. Because during the night groundwater had erupted below the dirt floor behind my washing machine and there was nothing I could do about it save pump it out if it got too deep.

And so with that level of gratitude I started lighting the fire again in the wood stove, feeling my rubber boots splash about on the fairly new indoor/outdoor carpet I was folding clean laundry on a few days ago. I got the fire going, hoping it would help dry out the joint or possibly stop something horrific from happening to the system of tubes, pipes, and valves going into the new-to-me washing machine. Let's just put a pin in that sad little hope for now.

My truck still isn't running but that doesn't mean the farm doesn't need provisions - so I arranged for feed and hay deliveries and a friend drove me into the town of Shushan to get some heating oil for the furnace (which keeps the water heater happy). When I got home with the heating oil I saw 200lbs of feed in the back of the truck along with a 40lb bag of performance dog chow. I was grateful for Ron Decker and his local feed delivery service, and that I could just tape a check to the front door. A yellow hand-written receipt was in its place.

I was in my basement restarting the furnace when I heard the cascading water start to pour above me. It was more confusing than anything else and I ran up the concrete steps from the basement to see what was happening. It wasn't the spring of trickling groundwater at all. It was the washing machine (which was turned off by the way) shaking and when I opened the lid I saw it was nearly filled to the brim with water?! I turned off the water to the machine. Thank the gods it instantly stopped. Why is my water haunted?!

Thanks to the fine people of Twitter it was suggested that the valve froze open or was pushed open by other pipes that froze sending pressure through? I have no idea what caused it to happen but I was very grateful that I got there before my kiddie pool became a cistern. Now on top of all the other chores and stresses I had a washing machine to bail out and a room to heat up enough so it wouldn't freeze. I took a few deep breaths. I could hear the furnace heating the water and knew that problem was solved. I did that. Jenna from a decade ago could not do that. And the same gal who restarted a dead furnace could stop a water ghost.

So I bailed out my washing machine and cursed a lot. I felt better.

It was soon after that fresh hell that hay was delivered. While stacking the bales the farmer said in a nonchalant tone, "Hey, You wouldn't want a baby goat by chance, would you?" And without giving it any thought at all I said yes. So they drove back to their farm in town and returned with a week-old Nubian buckling that was dumped at their farm this morning by a local who pity-bought him at the Auction and wasn't allowed to keep him. I figured with everything going wrong I better accept the homeless goat of New Year's Eve the Universe was throwing at me. I needed the karma, if nothing else. He is all black save for white ears and nose, a reverse panda.

So as I type I have a flooded mudroom, a possibly-ruined washing machine, a 56° house, a -13° night ahead, a dead truck, am low on firewood (thanks to extreme cold and two stoves running at once), AND Friday is in heat.

But you know what? I have never felt more calm and capable with the problems being thrown at me.  My animals are well. I have plenty of feed and hay. I have a living room that feels like a movie set with all the cages, baby chicks, perches, dogs, cats, and now goatling and I'm okay.

This is my 8th winter on this farm.  I know how to solve these things (or at least deal with them) and I know who to call if I don't. I have locals who know me and care about, friends a phone call away, and professionals who can repair the truck on a payment plan, deliver feed, get hay, or unload goats. And I am smiling right now knowing that soon as I post this I'll be sitting back with a goat in my lap drinking from a bottle and firelight keeping us warm enough to pass for comfort.

It'll be okay. And if it won't be - at least there are baby goats.

8AM Stats
Outdoor Temp: -3° F
Tonight's Low: -11° F
Indoor Temp: 52° F
Truck: Still won't start
Pipes: Refroze again
Toilet Bowl Water: liquid so far

6PM Stats
Outdoor Temp: 2° F
Tonight's Low: -13° F
Indoor Temp: 56° F
Truck: Still won't start
Pipes: Refroze again plus ground water eruption
Toilet Bowl Water: liquid so far