How often does one get to see a geyser in the kitchen? Fortunately not often at all. Yesterday my walls got a good clean with pulsing hot water. I had come in to fill a jug of warm water for the pigs, turned on the hot tap as you do and off it came in my hand. Bugger, I said as hot water shot up towards the ceiling. I twisted the handle back on, water shooting out sideways some even out of the faucet and stayed like that, pushing down hard until John finally came back from feeding the calves across the way. By the time he got back the water was running warm. I was soaked and the kitchen was soaked and my hands stung from the burning hot water.
All this because, very foolishly, I have never asked John to show me where to turn the water off. I moved into this house eight years ago. He had been living here for almost 14 years by that time, so it never occurred to either of us to take me on a tour of the Workings. Now I know.
He quickly turned the water off but every single drawer and cupboard along that side of the kitchen was full of warm water. Luckily I have all those holes in the cracks between the kitchen floorboards so most of the water just dripped through into the basement. So in the middle of chores I emptied all the drawers and cupboards into washing baskets, dried everything out, wiped the floor, changed out of my sopping wet clothes, found some dry socks, put my boots back on and went back outside to finish feeding the animals.
Then we took the kittens into the vet for their health checks and worming and distemper shots. The Vet agreed with me that breeding my own barn cats was much wiser than bringing them in from other barns. There are four kinds of distemper he said and it is rife. One of these distemper variations is like a herpes virus, and though it does not always kill the cats they have gunky, sick and pathetic lives and cannot be cured. Best to keep strange cats out. They passed with flying colours. He was so relieved to have a box of beautiful healthy cats in his rooms. He is also very happy that I am gathering a Dutch Belted herd (of two) he loves the breed. All together this visit cost 103 dollars.
Then we borrowed The Matriarchs 4 wheel drive jeep and drove to the next town to buy a new kitchen faucet set. This cost 103 dollars too. Spooky.
While John did the plumbing I worked in the barn relocating Sheila’s bed back into the smaller area so we can get it really deep and warm. John helped me bring in the horse mat to put on top of the concrete and the pigs were very upset about him being in their pen. (I found this interesting, but must warn Jake to distract them with food before he pops in and out to retrieve their dishes.)
I help Sheila make her bed every night, but soon I will be gone for two cold weeks and as she will not accept other people in her pen, she is better in the winter pig palace where the straw stays put for her. This meant shifting two gates and so forth with two pigs ‘helping’ so I was out there for some hours working on that and the other chores. Before I knew it -it was dark.
While I was working in the barn I saw Elsie mounting Queenie. Cows do this when one of them is in heat. One will climb onto the other just like a bull does. I checked the dates and yes it is close to the day for Queenie to come into heat if she were not pregnant. So the signs do not look good. She will have to be sold and the money used to buy a couple of young Hereford heifers. If we are to grow grass fed beef we need beef cows that will breed. And as Sheila constantly reminds me, there is only room for one big pet and she is it. Queenie needs someone more experienced in animal husbandry than me. Not yet though. We still need to blood test her. But I am not optimistic. And am disappointed.
I came back into the house and the plumbing was done, so I took all the bits and pieces out of the washing baskets lined up on the floor, washed and dried everything, and filled all the cupboards and drawers back up again. Thank goodness I don’t have a lot of stuff. Then I had a pear with cheese, a glass of red wine and went to bed.
Today I will start again and get everything back up to date. I really only have four useful days before I leave for New Zealand and I hate to waste even one. And everything has to be completely in order and utterly transparent so anyone can do what I do. Keeping animals alive in autumn is one thing, keeping them alive when it is this cold is quite another.
My suitcases are open so I can throw things into them. My itinerary is printed. We are getting close.
Now that that wretched wind has dropped the house is warming up and evidently the outside temperatures are going to warm up a little too. I am absolutely sure that I will have one of those days when things get settled into their proper places. I can feel that kind of clarity happening in my head. It does not happen often. But travel clears my mind beautifully. Almost list time. The monster awaketh!
Have a lovely day.
Love your friend on the farm
It sucks to have to sell stock because they won’t breed. 😦
Poor Queenie…it’s times like this that I know for certain that me and farming will never be a partnership. I know that she has to breed but it just seems a hard thing to be sold on , just because you can’t have babies…good thing it does not happen to humans.
I am sorry that you got burnt with the tap water…when you get over it and look back on it , you might see the funny side of it..I have seen it happen on Charlie Chaplin films and everyone thought it was funny. But I am really sorry about you getting hurt and all the extra work it caused…
You will need your break in NZ.
Has Godolt’s leg got any better?
I always smile every time I read your posts, so sorry with the hot water incident though.
When I first read your heading I thought you had some hunky male in your kitchen LOL! Sorry it was the other kind of Geyser! Nothing worse than water in places you didn’t intend for it to go – but it sure cleans out the dirty little corners we never get around to.
Poor Queenie – All those weeks away from home too. And she was looking so rounded and healthy too. I hope you find someone to take her into a herd so she gets another chance.
Stay warm my friend, thinking of you often.
Ah, Queenie! We shall keep our fingers crossed. Maybe this is a “shadow” heat and she really is bred. It’s a difficult choice, with livestock. I have never dealt with cows, but it is a tough decision when an apparently healthy animal will not breed, or has trouble with their pregnancies and births. I just took one of my sweet goatie girls to the butcher because of her pregnancy issues, and it breaks the heart, but they also do their final job for us in providing us food. :*(
Poor Queenie. I meant to say yesterday, that I saw a film (I Origins) the night before, with a white peacock flying in it – I think it lives in the Cathedral of Saint John, New York. There’s even a piece of music on the soundtrack called White Peacock 😉
Oh Celi, you’re a genius with words, whether you’re telling us something funny, or something heartbreaking. I hope Queenie’s blood test does not doom her to leave the Farmy, we will miss her nearly as much as you do…
I’ve had geysers in the kitchen before; it isn’t fun. Washing machine watervin our case. Grey stuff. In all the pots and pans. And taps are sooo expensive. 😦
This post brings to mind the word stoic.
Oh you are having a horrible time. As if bitter cold weren’t enough to have to cope with. I hope Seila will be snug in her new quarters. And I hope your inkling about Queenie is mistaken. Bon courage for all the preparations.
Having a homestead has its moments, problems different than a hum drum life. Better than having a boss in a Prairie Dog office who thinks she is the queen, or doing stupid things day after day. Viva la difference!
To keep your house a bit warmer, try putting bubble wrap on all the glass that goes outside. It lets in light but does a wonderful job of insulation and comes off easily in warmer weather. Put the flat side to the window and use a spray of water to stick it on. That might freeze, and if it doesn’t stick, use two sided tape. But it saves a lot on heating. As for burns, a little olive oil or coconut oil in a hurry will help once the area has cooled down so you’re not cooking and frying your skin. 🙂
Have a wonderful trip for your son’s wedding. Dance for all of us.
Thank you Dianne but I am not burnt, it was just hot water not boiling..though cold water is the best for burns. I don’t mind the cold. we don’t heat, whatever the fire warms is what is warmed. It is old fashioned but we have good insulation and i have a huge pure sheeps wool duvet on the bed and I dress properly inside.. there is no need to be wearing T shirts in the winter, i don’t mind wearing socks and a jersey inside. In NZ we always wear our beanies inside, i am not used to an entire house being heated to summer temperatures..Like I say, i don’t mind the cold, i hope it does not sound liike i am complaining. It is just witer that is all.. thank you again.. c
I hope that Elsie is the one in heat!
Elsie should be bred. She was blood tested and should be calving in late spring.. Ihope she is bred or there won’t much milk this summer..
I was just going say maybe Elsie is ready to be bred. OR your other belted…is she bred. It really doesn’t matter who is in heat it makes them all a tad crazy. But Now, I too, am leaning toward Queenie not being bred. Am I remembering wrong…Is Queenie a twin?
Queenie is a twin but not a freemartin and she has already had one calf. Elsie is bred and the new cow coming is bred also.. sigh.. it is Queenie who is empty.. c
Just wanted to say that I always enjoy reading your posts and seeing your great pictures! Sorry to hear about your plumbing troubles.
Have a great trip!
Good morning Stan, at least this was an easy fix, just a broken tap.. lovely to hear from you.. c
Up until a few years ago our 1928 house didn’t even have a main water shut off! I can’t imagine how they did any plumbing! These types of ‘accidents’ are always a good cleaning excuse! You must be so excited for your trip.
I brought out the big bin thinking athat as I replaced everything back wheere it belonged, i would be thowing out accumulated rubbish.. no such luck.. it all went back in! But as you say all the drawers are clean now.. very clean.. c
I am wearing your canadian mittens .. did I tell you? they are wearing OUT! But they are the best for keeping my hands warm, especially when partnered with Kims topless mittens.. c
I’m so happy to hear that Celi, I recall that they are really thick so the must be warm.
Interesting how pigs have one person who they trust to take care of them. My neighbor has a Pot Bellied pig and he is a ‘momma’s pig’ through and through. None too fond of anyone but her.
Fingers crossed for Queenie. I’ve forgotten when the blood test is to take place.
it has been postponed due to weather and sickness a few times now. I may even keep her across the winter and on a slimming diet, it is possible that she may breed in the spring? I will consult.. c
Though I can’t keep giving her Last Chances, she is a big cow, expensive to feed.. c
When it rains it pours. Or something like that. Hang in there. New Zealand time is close!
A $102 trip to the vet for pets would not be a happy time. Consider the vaccine from Valley Vet Supply or other places. $5.95/each and they can be delivered to your door. I don’t vaccinate our cats, but distemper can be ugly – have seen it in horses – i do deworm if they are coughing or if if i just think it’s time. Droncit for tapeworms and strongid for the rest. Like yours, our cats work for a living outside and some of the stuff they take down is no doubt wormy. I also castrate any male kittens about 4-6 months of age. If we end up with a female that produces kittens, we may take her to the vet for spaying, although we can usually find homes for the occasional litter. Most everyone out here needs a few cats to keep the critter population in check. Hate the water situation! have a wonderful time in New Zealand!
Just had another thought about the glass house. If you have them (or can scrounge them from folks who are replacing with new LED ones), string some old-fashioned Christmas tree lights around the base of the room and the beds you have planted. The new lights don’t create heat, but the old ones do. Hard to buy them now, but I bet there’s folks who would happily donate them to you, especially now that they are “cleaning out” after Christmas. AlisonH in California is using them to keep fruit trees in her yard from getting too cold. Her blog is “spindyeknit”, might be an interesting read for you.
Best of luck with Queenie, hope she’s just having a hormonal moment.
Chris S in Canada
Yes! The older Christmas lights ( indoors and outdoors – even the small twinkle ones) are what is recommended by county agents and landscape places to warm plants under covers here when we get polar blasts. You can drape them in and around branches, too. (Also adds a festive touch to a dreary landscape – we can all use a bit of cheer in the cold) Just watch the wiring and be wary. I’m not letting go of mine or the ones from my parent’s garage. Sometimes you can find them in garage sales and old out of the way hardware stores.
These hiccups in life can be very frustrating. Maybe Queenie is just keeping you in suspense for as long as she can…. fingers double crossed that it is the case. 2015 seems to have come in with a costly bang for us both. My woes were having to replace my washing machine and this week I discovered I will need eye surgery to rectify (if possible) a wrinkled membrane which has caused a hole over the macular in my R eye. If I do not comment every day, it will mean I am resting the eyes as much as possible in the next few months. Enjoy the wedding.
Well, Cecilia, my husband and I have lived in this house for 39 years and neither one of us knows where the shut-off valve is. How’s that for stupidity and arrogance.
Honestly, you have more…cow pies thrown at you in a single day than i dont know who and always manage to come up smelling roses and like roses. you sure do need a break … And not the broken faucet kind.
Oh I hope Queenie turns out to be worth her weight in gold. Maybe just a little more time.
Actually i call that LUCK.. you have never needed to find where it is! c
Darn, darn and darn! Oh well, that’s three costly, nasty, and disappointing things done, so now hopefully life will be a bit smoother. Completely understanding about Queenie, sucks, but it must be one or the other. Still have fingers and toes and eyes crossed for her…and for you. I’ve had the dishwasher conk out this week. Maybe it’s a plumbing-in-the-stars thing…lol. So, loads of work but in two weeks you’ll be in the sun and warmth and a mega mini break which you will so deserve. Oh, any updates on Godot’s leg? Big hugs to keep your strength up for the next little freezing while.
Our dishwasher spat the dummy this week as well .. what is it with these machines, is everything designed to last a year!?
oh and Godot.. yes looks like dirt.. thank goodness.. c
Actually…yes! 😦 It’s called built-in obsolescence and is a part of any manufacturer’s business plan, and it sucks. But it’s what drives the economy in most first world countries. (Tell you what, once you start taking a degree in CMNS you get so jaded!) I love out mend and make do attitude and keep hanging on to that, but at a cost of $500 to repair for an uncertain amount of time and $700 for a new Kitchen Aid with a 3 yr warranty, it doesn’t make much sense, does it?
No it mkes no sense at all.. John is going to try and repair our though we are not even sure what is broken.. I asked him to do it when I am gone.. ours is a kitchenaide too.. I mostly need it for the extra hot washes for milking gear.. amd jars for bottling .. so no hurry really.. but yes.. sigh..
Fingers crossed – we repaired one in our last house twice and the one here once already. Worth the time and effort if it’s fixable and you can tinker
How odd that the $103 came up twice in the same day. Spooky, indeed. Best wishes for a productive weekend, c. xx >
Oh pooh – of the big stinky kind – to the tap, the cold, poor Queenie and time running away before your travels 😦
Ha ha ha!! I had a wretched day myself – a dusting incident, but after reading about your faucet issue, I am once again glad to take my little bag of troubles and head down the road! We’ve had several expenses here lately too – and it’s exceeded the old saying, “They (repairs/expenses) come in threes”. You always help me appreciate my uncomplicated life (compared to yours). I will be thinking positive thoughts for Queenie.
Your photos are lovely.
Well I certainly hope things calm down a bit so you can have a moment to breathe before your trip! I don’t think I know where our water turn off is either…guess I better get that figured out!
Bugger is right! Shame about Queenie but I can see Sheila doesn’t want to give up her spot as a pet. 🙂
Sheila is delightfully safe.. pet status .. c
The kitchen faucet dilema sounded awful ..not long now and you will be enjoying some NZ weather 🙂
I’m sorry to hear of Queenie’s plight and your hot water incident, although it sounds like you’re ready for any challenge ahead.
With the faucet incident, all I could think was you are living “I love Lucy Show.”…..next venture is a comedy show about real life on the farmy….no need to write scripts – totally provided. (and remember that old saying: “work expands and contracts to fill time available”…there’s bound to be a footnote about surprises with faucets attached somewhere….)
Nothing like a forced cleaning day. Then it must be done. Glad Godot’s foot/leg appear to be ok.