Friday, January 10, 2014

52 Photos Project: Something Really Small

This week has been another month-long week here.  We have had weather (yes, I know everyone has weather) that required special prep & then, when it passed, special breakdown.  Not really adding to my pile, but certainly adding to our uh-oh levels, our next door neighbor was taken to the hospital on Monday.  She was moved out of ICU yesterday & I was able to visit, but she probably won't be home for a few days. 

Back to the weather.  I know two days with overnights below freezing (& at least a few daylight hours above) are not big deal to most people.  Here it is quite the headache, mostly because this kind of weather is so rare, there is no real long-term planning for it.  Let me give you a for instance:  three years ago we had a week of after dark freezes.  A friend of mine was living in a traditional cracker house.  Yes, there is such a thing & one of the primary characteristics is they have an empty gap between the round & the floorboards. which means no slab & more germane to this story no insulated plumbing.  this means turning off the water at the pump & draining the pipes before they freeze & not turning anything back on until the temperatures rise again.  V** has learned to live with the ice cold shows (no water in the water heater means no hot water), but in 2012 the thaws occurred after she had left for work, which didn't really matter as she would have had to drive home early to turn it drain the system & all off again before that night's freeze.  Not just no hot showers, but no showers period.  Also, no washing your hands, no flushing the get the picture?  She too quite a few showers here & ate out a lot that winter.

I know it is popular to think people who live like this are too poor to live any other way & many of them are.  In V**'s case she is a legal secretary & not without options.  That same up off the ground characteristic meant she never had to deal with termites (the plague of wooden houses here), she had fewer concerns during flash floods (even just a few inches of standing water can destroy your house, but not hers) & her a/c bill was a fraction of anyone else's.  In short most years her house was better than ours, but not when it gets colder-than-average.

Enough about that, right?  We do not live in a traditional cracker house but our water pump is still exposed, as is some of the house plumbing & all the livestock tanks.  During a hard freeze, the challenge is to keep the pump running enough that it doesn't freeze up, ditto the floats in the stock tanks & generally make sure water continues to move more or less all night long.  We do this with a series of orchestrated drips at the outer reaches of each water line.  This is the biggest outside tank & the something really small that meant it continued to function.

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