Saturday, February 5, 2011

Farmer. Innovator. Hero. - OR - Ode to Jeremy

Jer wears lots of hats around here. By day he's a manager and engineer and by night and weekend he's fixer, creator, and problem solver. Maybe this is due to his natural curiosity about how things work, but in the evenings and on the weekends, I always find him somewhere (living room, or kitchen, or shed at land, or trailer, or pasture) holding pieces of something that he has just taken apart and is trying to either fix or improve upon. It's the most foreign type of curiosity to me since I come from the "if it ain't broke" school with an advanced degree in "if it IS broke, throw it away immediately." With Jeremy in my life, everything broken is fixed, made new, and innovated into something else. If you're on a budget, then he's a handy guy to have around.

When the pipes froze at the land this week we decided the only option was to bring water from our house out to the trough. I never thought through the mechanics of filling the back of Buster with water and driving 30 miles, and assumed Jer had it all figured out. So when the time came to water the animals, we were both slightly horrified to learn that the house pipes were now frozen too. Never one to be deterred, Jer pulled his little ski cap firmly down on his head and marched into the garage from which a series of loud scraping and banging sounds started to eminate. I heard the garage door open and slam several times and each time I shouted "What are you doing!" he'd shout back,"Don't worry about it." then "SLAM" then "door open" "Um. Do you need help? What's happening?" followed by,"Don't worry about it." then "SLAM." Then a loud pop and hissing sounds, crunching leaves, and the image of Jer crouched down by an exterior faucet, blow torch in hand, thawing the faucet. These innovative moments are arrived at after an extensive process of elimination. I found the washing machine pulled out of its position in the garage, tired old pipes and hoses attached to its faucet that led out the garage and into the back of Buster. Tools were askew. A ladder was crooked. We may never know exactly what carnage took place in order to arrive at the blow torch solution. But baby that water started flowing and as soon as it did Jer yelled that I should "grab trash bags quick!" which I was then directed to set inside a large trashcan whose lid blew away in this week's wind storm. So there we were, standing in the back of our plumbing truck, filling garbage bags with water and placing them in a lidless trashcan, then filling countless coolers, our hands covered in water that immediately froze. The neighbors, I am certain, don't even flinch anymore when they see these sorts of front yard antics. After watching Jer work on a tractor in the front yard for a week, along with having us hose out a manure filled horse trailer in the driveway, nothing surprises these good people. Can you blame them?

Once Buster was filled with water receptacles, strapped down firmly, we took off to the land hopeful that the pond-hating donkeys had not yet shriveled up and died in their possibly dehydrated state.

What we found there was....snow!


(Woods and dry creek bed.)

(Woodpile behind house site.)

(House site!)

And, thankfully, 8 healthy animals. We quickly drained coolers into the trough while the animals looked on in awe. It was clear that they actually weren't that thirsty at all but just hopeful the water we were dumping would turn into giant grains of sweet feed. As usual, and despite our best intentions, we were a huge disappointment to the livestock since we came bearing water only.

Our heroic attempts made in Operation: Donkey Survival were basically pointless. It's apparent they set aside their distaste for pond water and managed to keep themselves hydrated this week. But still. I'm pretty sure we, specifically Jeremy, are heroes - to no one in particular.

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