dancing horses

dancing horses

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Community

Growing up, my brother and I spent a lot of time with our grandparents.  We were surrounded by a community- neighbours, family, church. I had no appreciation for it at the time but there was not a house that I couldn't go to if I needed help. When I lost my boot in a nearby garden because I wanted to pick a fresh cucumber, the owner knew exactly where to return them. Heck, he probably watched me through a window. Life circumstances required my mother to move us to a 2 bedroom apartment in the city. I missed the sense of community but I was six at the time and didn't know what I was missing until I was much older. I only knew that there was something missing.

my brother and I back in the day

When we moved to our farm we were new comers. I'm sure that the neighbours were curious about who this couple were and what we were doing to the property. We were strangers who bought a house that had belonged to one family for a few generations. Ed joined the Volunteer Fire Department and I joined the Auxiliary. Slowly we got to know people in our community.
so much has changed since we bought this place. Now there's
a barn, a garage and fields. 

 I remember the first summer we went to a plant nursery and I chose a bunch of flowers. This nursery only took cash and I didn't have enough. I asked if I could put my flowers to one side and go get some money. The woman working the register said 'sure'. There was another woman and she asked where we lived. I told her and she said 'oh I know you- I drive by your house all the time. I love what you're doing there. Take the flowers and drop the money off when you have a chance'.  

The last few days has been bitter- there's been a strong north wind that is physically painful to be outside in.  The night before I knew that my water tap was frozen but I decided to deal with it in the morning. I figured that I would re-fill the water trough outside at the same time. So in the morning, with Guinness and d'Arcy in tow I was in the barn boiling water in the kennel while I fed and picked out the stalls. Irish had pooped in his water bucket again. Really horse? I had to unplug it and take it out to dump it. It was about 6 a.m. and -22 with the windchill.

When the kettle boiled I poured the water over the tap- finally I heard it let go and water began to come out. After 1/4 of a bucket it stopped. The pump kept running but no water.

Damn.

I went in to get water from the sink. No water and the pump was running and running and running.

Shit. 

 Something was wrong. I turned off the pump and grabbed some buckets. I headed into the house and began to fill them in the kitchen sink. Muttering and cold I stomped back and forth filling the water trough. I then let the horses out.
Irish: It's about time! 

Ed went out to see if the pump needed priming but nope that wasn't it. We were going to need a plumber, which meant waiting until Monday. I put a complaining post on FB and began to drink my coffee. I received a text. It was from a neighbour asking what was wrong. I said I didn't know but she said that her husband was familiar with wells and pumps and they would be over around 10. I then got another text from Cynthia offering her husband to come and help. I put them on standby and prepared the coffee.

Derrick and Julia arrived just after 10 and he began to inspect everything while Julia provided what she called 'moral support'.  We finally determined that the top water in my well had frozen.

iceberg from NFLD looking like a sea monster
I was surprised- this had never happened before. The well for the barn is an old dug well about 20 feet deep with a cement top. There's a crack in the lid and the relentless arctic wind had been entering the well and froze the top of the water. Normally it would be sheltered by the snow. I began to pour hot buckets of water into the well to get it thawed. Derrick fixed the pump and got it all primed. I piled some old horse blankets on top of the well to block the wind. That will do until we get a more permanent solution in place.

After we had a hot cup of coffee and chatted about family and other things. I thanked them for taking time on their day off to help us. 'That's what neighbours do'  was all that was said. Julia and Derrick drove off and I waved good bye feeling much better. 

Not just because I now had running water (although what a relief that was), but because I felt part of a community. 


30 comments:

  1. Probably they helped just so they could get a glimpse of the PUPPY! No, really, neighbors like that are the very best!

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    1. ha! they thought he was pretty cute. And you are right- they are the best

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  2. Although it doesn't get as cold here as at your place (thank goodness), we have been known to throw horse blankets on our well tank. I'm glad you got it working again. There's nothing worse than being without water. Live in a community with great neighbors is the best.

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    1. It was a new one for me but maybe it's because when it's that cold there's usually snow packed around it?

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  3. Frozen well water is a new one for me. As you know, my well breaks down every three months or so. It's almost always a broken part. When I toured this house before I bought it, the owner said, "We fixed the problem with the well not being covered." Huh? I couldn't figure out how they could even drink or bathe in well water that wasn't covered. All kinds of animals would be pooping in there and falling in and drowning. I guess someone else had made an offer on the house, and the inspector discovered the missing cover, and that sunk the deal. A well repair outfit might be able to order a new cover for you so that you don't have to work around that crack.

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  4. What excellent neighbors! You will have to repay the favor at some point. Or maybe just bake some cookies?!

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    1. I was planning to bake them something for sure! And of course, repay the favour.

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  5. How awesome to have great neighbors! That is something I don't have anymore either, maybe one day.

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    1. It's becoming rarer these days- which is very sad.

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  6. Mike and I were just talking about this the other day. When I was little, I lived in an apartment complex with lots of families that had kids my age. We just went door to door until someone was home and everyone looked out for everyone else. I haven't been part of another community like it since. At the time, I took it for granted, but now I appreciate how neat that was. I enjoy our privacy up here, but it's sort of sad that we don't really know any of our neighbors, even after living here for three years.

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    1. it's a balance to have privacy and people to call on.

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  7. Awesome neighbors! I don't have that since I moved from my old neighborhood. and I forgot miss it.

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    1. It's funny how many people have identified with the need for community

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  8. Holy cow. We don't usually worry about frozen pipes but in all my life living with a well, I've never heard of the water IN the well freezing. Crazy!!

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  9. How lovely. I had a similar community growing up. Kids grew up and the families moved. My parents still live in the same neighborhood. Now, new families with young kids are moving in. It is so fun so see all the kids playing together, running from house to house, the way we did. Glad you have your community again. My mare used to poop in her water bucket whenever I was away. Barn owner/boss would send me pics of frozen poo on top of ice covered buckets when I was home for Christmas. Warmed my heart lol

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  10. I miss that sense of community. Hope your well behaves itself now! :)

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    1. I think we'll be able to prevent it in the future.

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  11. Wow, I hope that at some point I can have that sense of community! I've moved enough over the past few years that I haven't really had that.

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    1. You're getting it at the barn though!

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  12. I've never experienced that kind of neighbourly community. I hope to one day.

    What lovely neighbours you have.

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  13. Ya I don't know how we would survive without neighbors here. We actually had 2 come over yesterday and work cows all day just for lunch supper and a spot of whiskey. We usually help back but probly wont in this instance. Our well has frozen on top as well before we now have a different type that's 220' down so it wont freeze, but maybe some Styrofoam insulation would help when there is no snow.

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    1. It's a recognition that we all need each other!

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  14. That story made me tear up a little because it reminded me of my the neighbors where I grew up. Nice people are hard to find, but on the flip side, I am sure you have been kind to them if they went out of their way to help you. Being in a community makes the whole world a better place!

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    1. It really does make the world better.

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  15. I love this! I'm still searching for that myself but I'm happy to hear it can be achieved later in life and somewhere that you aren't originally from :)

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