Skip to main content
Farm Fresh Forensics
rss feedour twitterour facebook page
site map
Latest Posts

Farm Fresh Blog

Wednesday, December 21 2016


     The leap to murder is not that far when you're standing naked in a cold shower and the water runs out. The line between holy matrimony and homicide blurs even further if it was a loving spouse who promised there would be enough water.

     I ask those of you north of Texas to withhold judgement on those of us who had a fifty degree thermometer drop in one day. I awoke Sunday morning to find that it was 14 degrees Fahrenheit. Water freezes at well above that temperature. Ask any newscaster in North Texas. They advertise that kind of information freely. They even tell you days in advance that temperatures will plummet like a roller coaster at Disney World. Prepare for it. Doomsday cometh!

     I believed them. I believed them because I am a rule-follower. If I read a sign on a park bench that says, "WET PAINT," I do not touch the bench to see if the paint is really wet. My Other Half, however, is "paint-toucher." He must touch the paint. He must pee on the electric fence. And so like the ant, and the reluctant grasshopper, we busied ourselves for the coming freeze. The chicken coop was winterized with bubble wrap and burlap. Cows and horses were fed extra rations. Dog beds and stalls were packed deeply with hay.

     Friday afternoon the wind shifted and a arctic breeze began its low steady push south. At 4 pm I was watching water in the troughs freeze so I told Other Half it was time to turn the water system off and drain everything to keep the house water from freezing. The grasshopper argued that the heat lamp would be enough. The ant again pointed out water freezing in troughs.

     By then we had a fire going in the house and it was toasty warm. I fed the dogs their supper while he installed a heat lamp in the pump house which contains the water filtration system. After supper I went to bed early. I didn't take a shower and wash my hair before bed because the water had already been turned off.

     At 1 am Other Half woke me to inform me that he'd gone outside to turn off the water before coming to bed and the pipes were already frozen. Wait! Wasn't the water already off? Didn't we see water in the troughs freezing at 4 pm? Was it not then the logical conclusion that water in the pipes would also freeze? The grasshopper had not leaped to the same conclusion as the ant and had chosen to wait until bedtime to shut off water. By then it was too late.

    Hell hath no fury greater than a woman who missed a bath the night before she is to participate in a big Christmas program at church. Although 15 degrees Fahrenheit may be a heat wave in Canada, it is enough to make Texans loose their minds. At 2 am two people standing in a polar wind will make no attempt to be nice to each other. Imagine two grizzly bears yoked together. There is a lot of roaring but not much work gets done.

     I texted Son, "I will need bail money. I'm killing your father."

     "U chose him."

    So while I was singing "A Great And Mighty Wonder" at church, my Other Half was at home working on frozen pipes. Sunday night the temperatures dipped even lower. I awoke at 6:30 am and texted Son, "Holy shit! It's 8 degrees!"

     According to the weatherman it was actually only 11 degrees but really, when it's that low in Texas, what difference does a few degrees make?

     Apparently, quite a bit.  The pipes that didn't burst on Saturday night, burst on Sunday night.

     We were blessed with a half a pallet of bottled water and much of it was still in the hay barn, so we hauled four cases to the house. That water was used for drinking, cooking, and washing dishes. Tired of sponge baths, Other Half decided that water would also be used for a shower. He hauled the propane camp shower out of the horse trailer and busied himself with hooking it up.

     "There's not enough water to wash my hair. I'm gonna go over to Virginia's or Nora's and bathe there."

     "We have plenty of water. Cases and cases of water!"

     "That's drinking water! I have long, thick hair. I need a lot of water to rinse it."

     "There's PLENTY of water. It won't take that much!"

     In an effort to convince me, he took a shower himself. The propane heater was set up on a dog crate he had pulled to the shower stall. A pump was placed in a bucket of water. Water was sucked into a propane heater, then sent through a shower nozzle and came out in a weak stream. This was a two-person job. One person worked the propane heater and pump while the other person showered stood in the cold waiting while water which alternated between frigid cold and seering steam dribbled through the flacid hose.

     "See! I only used a quart of water."

     "You used a gallon."

     "It's your turn."

     "Dude! There is not enough water to wash my hair."

     "Yes, there is!"  (And the paint isn't really wet.)

     By this time I was an enraged grizzly yoked to Yogi the Bear, so in a effort to prove the point, I climbed into the shower. In hindsight, this was really stupid. I am much like a cat. I do not like to be cold. I do not like to be wet. Why I would choose to be cold and wet just to prove my point, merely illustrates the depth of a blinding rage.

     "Hey, are you almost done?"

     "NO! I'm rinsing my hair."

     "Uuhmmm.... We're running low on water. You need to wind it up."

     Yogi the Bear was finally realizing the problem, but by then he had a wet grizzly in the shower. He shuffled off for another case of water. The grizzly shivered and cussed as bottle after bottle was uncapped and poured into the bucket to be heated.

     Yogi the Bear peeked behind the shower curtain at a very angry wet grizzly.

     "Oooh sexy..."

     "I will kill you."

     And there you have it, the recipe for murder. In his defense, even had he turned the water off and drained the pipes before the freeze, the pipes would probably still have burst. One pitiful heat lamp was not enough against that kind of polar shift. Tricks that normally worked for people up here didn't. Pipes burst all over north Texas this weekend. Plumbers are no longer answering their phones. Hardware stores are running out of PVC.

     We still don't have running water. Hopefully we'll get it back in order today. Warm and dry, the grizzly has calmed down and had time to reflect on the situation. The upside is that we now know where our weak spots are, and are much more familiar with our water system. Apparently there is more to it than simply turning on the kitchen faucet. Huh, who knew?

     After a 911 call to Dear Friend Sue, in Wyoming, I got more tips on tried and true methods for handling extreme temperatures. My next order of business after the water is flowing is to insulate the pipes again. This time, in addition to the fancy foam we will also be packing that sucker full of sheep wool!  Yes! Sheep wool! The poor man's insulation! With plastic baggies, socks, and duct tape, I should be able to insulate every bend of pipe, every nook and cranny, and every spot that cold might creap. Oddly, even though we still have the fancy foam insulation, I have more faith in the wool. As Sue pointed out, if you could only pick one animal, pick a sheep. A sheep meets so many needs.

    The Navajo use the expression, "Sheep is Life," because they consider the sheep to be a sacred gift from the Creator to meet their needs. I think they're right. I, for one, will be wrapping the heck out of those pipes with sheep wool today.

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 07:40 am   |  Permalink   |  7 Comments  |  Email

Red Feather Ranch, Failte Gate Farm

© 2009-2019, Farm Fresh Forenics, Forensicfarmgirl, Failte Gate Farm, Red Feather Ranch All Rights Reserved.

rss feedour twitterour facebook page