I just came home from a week-long trip to Minnesota over the holidays. Most of my family lives there, and several factors (a cousin’s wedding and an ailing grandmother) made my attendance absolutely compulsory. Don’t get me wrong, I love to visit with family. It was great to see everyone. All of the feelings I expressed in my last post, Enjoying Christmas is a Choice, hold true. I’m glad I went, and I was sorry to leave.
The entire time I was away, I held on to one saying: If the horses are fine, everything else is okay. I’d left my cayuses in the capable hands of my dear friends and neighbors, who have several horses of their own. They would take good care of my ponies, I knew. But still, there’s always that little nagging voice in my head- what if the water tank cracked? What if the other neighbor’s dog ran them through that section of smooth-wire I built as a gate? What if a Sasquatch came out of the mountains behind the house and took up residence in my barn? And so on…
So, as one might suspect, I was pleasantly relieved to find my nags in good flesh, bored, and undisturbed by Bigfoot when I got home. Most of my worry had been for naught. Unfortunately, when I got inside the house, a different concern showed itself to be very real and very inconvenient- the furnace had gone out, and my pipes were frozen. The faucets, which I’d set to dripping before I left, sported perfect stalagmites of ice rising up from the sink bottoms.
I ran into Helena to get a few space heaters- luckily, only the faucets and fixtures inside the house had frozen, not in the crawlspace below. The propane company got a pleading visit from yours truly to get out here and rectify the situation- I’d ordered fuel a week earlier, and I’m seven miles from their office. It turns out that a week is not nearly the lead time they need, even if you pay in advance. All in all, it’s a hard lesson learned in the life of a new homeowner. But the horses were fine.
As things thawed out, I could take stock of the situation. My house would be fine- a few plumbing fixtures had cracked with the ice, but they were relatively cheap ones. A small price to pay for my ignorance. The power bill would certainly be higher this month, because of the space heaters. Again, a live-and-learn moment. My hay supply made it through the vacation season, and I’ve got a line on some new stuff from Ehlke Herefords this week. I’m sick, like a lot of people during and after the holidays, but it’s likely just a wicked cold, not Ebola or SARS or something equally deadly. My dog, Wheeler, is content to ride in the truck anywhere, for any length of time, just to be with me.
And the horses are fine.
Happy New Year. Keep Your Heels Down.