Friday, January 3, 2014

You've got your troubles, I've got mine!

Way back, several years ago, when I got up at the butt crack of dawn to punch a time clock, Bruce did all he could to get me going. He fired up his radio station, WHOG, every morning and played music for me until I ran out of range. He especially liked it when there was a theme, we had water works trouble so he played 'trouble' songs and "You've got Your Troubles, I've got mine," was the song he kicked off with. Today he could have played that song over and over.

It is cold here in NW IA and the forecast is for colder and colder temps for several days so we were both in high gear. Bruce was cleaning and bedding cattle yards, I was hauling corn and splitting wood to fill the garage to take us through this spell. Mollie and I were driving the Gator to the house with the last load when I saw Bruce come kiting down the road with the tractor, in the driveway and to the house, slammed on the brakes and jumped out. I knew that was not a good sign.

More water troubles at the farm, the switch he replace just a week or so ago was not the entire problem. Bruce had to go to Marcus for a new pressure tank and would need my help. Not what I had in mind for the rest of the day!

The well pit is about 9 ft. deep made of cement curbing, 40" around with a lid and a smaller cap to gain access. Today we had to take the entire lid off to replace the tank, that is when the tractor comes in handy.

More Power!

Gently, gently....

Now the real work begins, removing the old tank, "Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey", but the problem was trying to decide which way the pipe threads went. In the end it took 2 pipe wrenches with a big foot on each one to separate the water line from the old tank so we could remove it.

Out with the old.... with the new, ain't it purty???

I hope it is!
Back down the ladder into the depths of the well, Bruce had so many clothes on, he said he got hot. Meanwhile I was shivering on the outside, plastered against the north side of the curbing trying to get out of the wind. I should have worn a heavier coat and brought a flask of something hot. This shouldn't take much longer.

"Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey" again.....

....wiring the switch......

At Bruce's instruction, I flipped the electric box at the light pole and then we wait, will it work??

Things are not working, Bruce is on the phone to Duane at Marcus Lumber, I'm shivering and nowhere to go.

By now the fun of taking pictures is gone, the camera goes into the pickup so now you can picture me running on errands directed by Bruce. To the shop after air tank and tester, no, it doesn't need air, it has too much pressure.

Back to the shop for a heat lamp bulb because Bruce found the old one wasn't working and Duane suggested the water line might be frozen.

Picture me running to check hydrants for water pressure and finding them not working. Then picture me checking fountains, the cows is open, the fat cattle is dry.

It is indeed a conundrum that has Bruce baffled. 

One thing he does know is that the fat cattle are thirsty so picture us driving some recalcitrant cows into a yard and shutting them in. The ones bedded down in the south pens that has fresh bedding were not happy.

Picture some crabby cows.

Then picture us driving some goosey fat cattle out of their yard, down the runway to the cows fountain so they can drink, picture much running, sliding, and kicking up of heels. They think this is great fun.

Picture me not shivering so much as my blood is running from climbing gates and heading off cattle.

Bruce did hear the pressure switch turning on and off while they drank so that was good.

But why no water at the fat cattle fountain? 

Then he remembered a well pit with an ill-fitting lid that could have a frozen line that feeds the fountain so he put a heat lamp in that pit and we covered it with hay bales.

Picture me in the pickup driving home, cold and wet, as it was getting dark and leaving Bruce to tie up the loose ends such as feeding cattle.
  When he didn't come home, I called to see what was going on and he said everything was fine, EVERYTHING!! He found the fat cattle fountain float was stuck!!! AAUUGGGHHHH!! When he knocked it loose, water came spurting in so he switched all the cattle around, again. He isn't too concerned about the hydrants because they are the old style and don't work well in cold weather.

I'm thinking the same thing about me.

Farm life, ya gotta love it to put up with days like this.

And we don't even want to think about the possibility that we didn't need a new pressure tank after all!!


  1. what a life on the farm!!! Looking at those pictures, I was thinking again (as I have many, many times) of just what CAN'T my brother do!! Good grief, you have to have all kinds of 'hats' to be a farmer, it never fails to amaze me. I loved reading this Julie, thanks....and OIY! re: your last comment!! stay warm honey, CG

  2. I am so glad I don't live on a farm...

  3. I echo Bluejeanchristine's reply. I'm a wuss and I know it!