Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Things You Need on a Farm

I can’t even imagine how often the heat would be going on if I didn’t have a woodstove. Thank god we got the woodstove. I have the stove going around the clock and still the oil heat kicks on every time I’m in the smoking room, aka, the basement.

I’ve relegated myself to the basement in a desperate attempt to cut down. It’s working pretty well. I’m smoking half as much as I used to smoke. Who wants to go down into the basement every time you want to smoke? It’s not a finished basement. The floor is cement and when there’s a lot of rain, a trickle of water runs down the center of it to a pit where the sump pump is. There are paint cans, buckets of joint compound, and plastic jugs of water in case the electric goes out and it’s not worth pulling out the generator because we think it’s going to come back on again. Like if there was no reason for the electric to go out—no snow, no wind, no rain. Nothing’s happening weather-wise. That means there was probably an accident—someone went into a pole—and as soon as they clean it up, the electric will come back on again. But if there’s a reason, if there’s any kind of precipitation, it could take days.

These are things you need on a farm. A woodstove and a generator.

People don’t realize that, when you’re out in the country and you lose your electric, you not only lose your lights and can’t watch The Bachelor, but you lose your water too because you have a well and the pump runs on electric. My sister thinks I’m out there hand-cranking it, but that’s not the case. For someone who has horses, it’s a disaster since horses drink about a dozen gallons of water per day each and if they don’t have water, they can colic. My first pony died of colic so I’m really paranoid about that. If you have six horses, that’s seventy-two gallons of water a day. That’s a lot of water. It’s not like you could run down to Walmart and get a few jugs off the shelf. Well, you could, but that would be the last thing you’d want to do because it would be really expensive. Like if it was an apocalyptic situation. You know, an end-of-the-world thing and your horses were dying of thirst. Of course if that was happening, even though I love my animals dearly, I think we’d be hoarding the water for ourselves. The horses get their feet done and their teeth floated before I get new shoes or go to the dentist, but you have to draw the line somewhere. So I would go down to Walmart if I had to. It would have to be really bad but not end-of-the-world bad.

Last summer it got really bad. We had a fierce storm that knocked out power for a week. I almost had to resort to Walmart but then Kelly’s boyfriend showed up with a 250-gallon container full of water sloshing around in the back of his truck. He had rustled up the container from his grandfather’s farm, brought it over to a friend’s farm where he rinsed it out (including using bleach because he knows what a fanatic I am about the horses) and filled it up, and then brought it back here for our horses to drink. I felt like the Calvary arrived!

Since then, one of our neighbors who is an electrician, rigged something up on the electrical box so that now all we have to do is plug the generator in and flip a switch if the power goes out and we’ll have water. He didn’t charge us a thing. I tried to pay him, I was so grateful, but he waved his hand and said to just give him a good deal when he needs new carpet someday.

The electric has gone out twice since we got the woodstove put in and the gizmo installed on the box. I dared it to. It was flickering. I said, “Go ahead you sucker! I don’t need no stinkin’ lights!” It came back on so fast I didn’t even have to get a log but I felt very secure knowing that, no matter what, we were going to be warm and the horses were going to have water. Because we have a woodstove and a generator.

And good people around us. That is something you need on a farm.


Grey Horse Matters said...

I absolutely agree with you. We have a generator for the house and the barn since we have automatic waterers. Got the generator for the barn after filling up many buckets for many days from the bathtub in the house and delivering it to the barn. That was a pain. Good neighbors are a plus. Glad we have them too.

Chris said...

I'm blessed with wonderful neighbors. I also have a wood stove, gas cook stove, gravity fed water and batteries for radio. Power outages are no big problem here unless they go on for a very long time.

CountryDew said...

We too have a generator and a wood stove. I never use the wood stove because of my allergies but it is there if we need it. And the generator has a battery push-button start because I have a bad back and can't pull-start the generator. I insist that my husband make these things so I can deal with them too and not just him, because he often isn't home.

Great post, Deb.

Gilly said...

That wood stove looks great! And I think maybe your friends and neighbouring farmers wouldn't be so good to you if they didn't know you are good neighbours! (I don't mean they expect something in return, just that good neighbours act together!)

Beth said...

Ah...I miss the woodstove we had in Boone SO much! And the forest we had there, too, that so generously supplied the fuel for our woodstove. Without that or a generator, we are in a bad way when the power goes out here, as it frequently does. One of the worst things is not being able to flush the toilets. When we had the horrible snowstorm a few years back and our power was out for about 10 days, I don't know which was worse---the kerosene fumes or the smell from the unflushed toilets. Not to mention us unwashed savages. :-)

Great writing, as always, Debi.