Last week wasn’t a total loss, so I redid the envelope. Tuesday was spent hauling ice and snow, to melt for the stock, because the house water pipes were froze.

Wednesday: Jamie, hay – stack old hay – prime pump – split wood – make hominy – start carnitas    Got it all done!

Thursday (Rain): clean fridge: Bruce’s: laundry

Friday: Barn

Saturday: Pick up goats

When we moved here in 1988, one of my biggest worries was water: the house wasn’t on a county water line. It had a good cistern, and one of my first big expenses was good gutters and downspouts, to take advantage of any rain. It’s proved its worth, too, altho two years past the gutters had to be redone in the aftermath of the Ice Storm.

The barn too had a good stone-built cistern, and we got by at first by dipping up water in buckets for stock in the barn.

Out in the yard, however, perched on a cement slab, was an old Red Jacket pump. They’re still made today, BTW, and just as satisfactory. It had been moved from the barn cistern, and gutted, then placed in the yard for – oh, I guess “country atmosphere.”

What do you know? a little pre-Internet Yellow-Paging revealed that Harsha Hardware, in West Union, OH, carries all the fixin’s. I ran it out there one week and picked it up the next, re-equipped with riser pipe, flapper valve & all the right innards. It’s worked a treat ever since.

But the barn gutters had been about as sadly neglected as everything else on the fine old chestnut post-&-beam structure. Late this summer, I finally got around to putting the gutter guy to work on the barn. Now a half-inch rain will fill the barn cistern. Wednesday I got out to prime the pump, and it’s working again! Cistern water, because of ground heat, never freezes, so apart from needing the occasional hot-water prime, we have water for the barn the rest of Winter, come freeze or thaw.

All in all it was a good day. Thursday morning we had 3 inches of new accumulation. Other than splitting wood and keeping the stock watered, I was “stuck” indoors, on tasks that I usually manage to avoid by going outside to do something more urgent, or productive! It was kinda nice, altho not something I would want to do for a living ;-)

NB: Bruce’s is our local grocery, but also hardware/feed/lumber/automotive/clothing/shoe store. The “mainest thing” I needed from there is great big square batteries for the barn lantern, in case I have to spend the night there. Friday, my photographer/beekeeper/barn carpenter returned to continue shaping up and securing the old barn for kids, horses and people who have to work in it! Be sure to look at his Farms photos on pasztphoto.smugmug.com. More soon! And hope he makes it out here for at least one kidding: and some truly heart-stopping images.

Saturday: weather kept goats from getting processed, so hauling 4 cartons of goat parts to Cincinnati is deferred to the next envelope.

As I write it’s Christmas morning. Goats, horses & barn cats are fed & watered, and when Jess wakes up we’ll open presents and have stollen for breakfast. Holidays, or any “day off” gives way to the needs of life around here. Some people let that put them off farming. Not me! In 24-degree weather, at 7:07 AM, hauling buckets of hot water to the barn, I am grateful to breathe real air, have real ground underfoot, real sky above, and the strength to walk & tote.  And the land is one vast Christmas card.

The Navajo say “Beauty all around me,” or literally “All within my eyes is beautiful.” “Beauty” is also peace, harmony, things as they should be. Leaves little room for discontent.

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