Dec 08

Crone clenches fists, hollers “noooooo!”

The Sanitron rainwater filtration system: one of the many places water goes when it wants to screw me over.

There are many aspects of country life that remind me of a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. And then there are those that flat-out shoot an electric current of unmitigated terror straight into my amygdala.

Water is one of those.

Damn you, water! There either isn’t any because of the drought, or there’s too much because of the flood, or the pump that pumps it out of the well is busted, or what little of it there is is full of arsenic, or it turns dirt into mud, or it washes out the road, or it rots the horses’ hooves, or it breeds mosquitoes, or the guy who delivers it runs over a deer with his truck, or something crawls into its tank and dies. Disasters all, but nothing water is, or does, or pretends to be, is as abominable as its propensity for freezing.

What a vile habit. Water cares not where it freezes, whether in pumps or pipes or sumps or snipes. It is indifferent to a country crone’s anguish. It just freezes as it pleases.

One of the most painful places for water to freeze is in the hoses that supply the horses’ drinking water. You already know about leading a horse to water. Try leading it to ice. Let me use math to illustrate this torment: horses absorb ten gallons of water a day. A pint’s a pound the world around, so that’s 230 pounds of water a day for the three mares of Dreadful Acres. And when the hose is froze I gotta hand-tote it from the house. During the course of which totin’ I inevitably end up wearing about half of it. Which, because it is literally freezing outside, is pretty inconvenient. And then, once the water’s where it needs to be, I gotta figure out how to keep it liquid long enough for the horses to actually drink it.

If I screw this up, and the horses don’t stay hydrated, they’ll all get impaction colic and die. Within, like, 28 minutes.

And here’s another thing. It freezes so infrequently down here, I never really get a chance to hone the procedure down to a gleaming, elegant system. I have to basically re-learn it every time. Drain the hoses, wrap the pipes, drain the hoses, wrap the pipes. It’s a foregone conclusion that I’ll have forgotten to have pipe-wrapping supplies on hand. And also, because 230 lbs is what is known scientifically as a “crap-ton,” I’ll be throwing my back out pretty early on. At the end of the first frozen day, if you’re looking for me, I’ll be that big, wet, blubbing blob sobbing on the mud room floor.

With my love’s picture then my eye doth feast.

You know what would make all this a lot easier? A no-freeze hose. Well, guess what somebody posted on the CoTH forum? A link to a just such a hose. And it supposedly actually works. I was intrigued — nay, smitten. Thou blind fool, Love, what dost thou to mine eyes?

It is my policy to immediately buy anything suggested by any random internet stranger, so I ordered one of these miracle hoses right off the bat.

Minutes moseyed, days dragged by. Of the sluggish clock it may be said that hours seemed to linger between its tick and its tock. Yet still no sign of the hose. Then one brisk morning there arrived an email from hose-purveyor Brenda at Barns2Go. She apologized for the delay; they’d unexpectedly been out of stock but would be sending my hose “tomorrow.” Not only that, said Brenda, she’s “personally been using it on my own farm and it’s performed as advertised and been an incredible time and labor saver for watering!”

O how my spirits soared! Thanks to Brenda, the no-freeze hose and I would be two hearts that beat as one. Together, our sub-zero horse-watering technique would be unstoppable!

That was 9 days ago. By now you will have undoubtedly surmised the horrible truth. No freeze-free hose appends my bib, and there’s been not a peep out of Brenda. Which makes me pretty disconsolate, because, although it’s currently about 126.7 degrees F here in Cottonmouth County, I have been given to understand that we’re gettin’ our first hard freeze in a couple-a days.

I was blinded by love’s young dream before, but I see it now. This whole freezeless hose business was all just a fantasy, a figment, the gilded delusion of a desperate crone. Well, that’s it. I’ve brushed the scales from my eyes. Tomorrow I go to have my “No-Freeze Hose 4EVER” tattoo removed. Then I’ll return to the empty bunkhouse and play Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” while I, a broken crone, mourn that which never was with bitter tears and a tub of Cool Whip Kool Kreme. All our love is lost, for Love is dead.

Hose photo from Barns2Go.com


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  1. Pinko Punko

    “To the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee!”

    The Crone will Khan Brenda’s con, should the hose not arrive anon. As the kids say, “oh, now it’s on”.

  2. The Crone of Cottonmouth County

    Nice one.

  3. Val

    I watch the shoreline of my lil tank recede as I hopefully scan these grey dreary skies for rainclouds…

    Mud sounds like an unimaginable luxury, but I’m certain to curse it if & when we get any precipitation.

  4. Comradde PhysioProffe

    Can’t you buy this fucken hose from motherfucken Amazon?

  5. StGermain

    Apparently Brenda just isn’t finished using your hose. I hope you paid second-hand-hose prices for this hose that Brenda’s using, but going to ship to you any day, well broken-in.


  6. c2t2

    Perhaps next time, order a fellow Spinster/Crone instead for mutual sail de-winding?

    Then again, the hose itself looks legit. The site, it seems, is less so.

  7. peonista

    Being a Michigan crone animal keeper (one sweet Halflinger mare, 4 goats, 50 sheep, too many chickens and a pair of pooping peacocks that love to roost on my 15 yr old truck) your freezing water complaints resonated.
    Hoses used in the shortened by global warming from 6 to 5 mos of the year affectionately know as “winter” here bear no resemblance to their summer cousins. Winter hoses do not lay conveniently on the ground in a more or less straight line and convey water to a stock tank or bucket. They must be drained two or three times to make sure not a drop of the precious water remains or it will instantly turn into dreaded ice. If that happens the whole dirty, straw and manure covered mess must be dragged from the barn, down the driveway, through the mud room, across the kitchen and stuffed stiffly into a tiny bathroom tub to thaw.
    Misery. Did I mention I love global warming.

  8. pheenobarbidoll

    heat tape


  9. Matt

    I read this and I think “man, if only she had something to help her haul all that water”. And I wrack my brain trying to think of the right tool for the job. And then it strikes me. Y’know what’s good at hauling heavy things? Horses.

    Also, in case you’re curious, here in Minnesota, we bury our pipes below the frost line. I assume it’s just not worth the trouble for you, given the frequency of your frosts, but I also assume that would mean you’d only need to go down six inches rather than two feet.

  10. Tei Tetua

    Her youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide for her shrunk shank?

    Not sure how it applies, actually.

  11. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Jeez, you make me feel like a complete and total ingrate for taking for granted that large, lovely body of water directly to the north of my city, Lake Erie. It is unpredictable as one’s menses in peri-menopause and has a tendency to devour unwary boaters in the summer and autumn. Stupid people have an unfortunate habit of treating it as if it were their own backyard cement pond. Erie rewards this foolishness with sudden, violent storms, drownings, icy waves upon the highway, truly weird and funky smells (sometimes like dead fish, sometimes like shit and Cheerios) and the demise of imbecilic ice fisherman. But I’ve never, ever had to purchase a heated hose.

  12. TwissB

    16th C. poet offers comforting thought re the faithless Brenda and her vanishing hose:

    : SINCE there’s no help, come let us kiss and part;
    Nay, I have done, you get no more of me,
    And I am glad, yea glad with all my heart
    That thus so cleanly I myself can free;
    Shake hands forever, cancel all our vows, *
    And when we meet at any time again,
    Be it not seen in either of our brows
    That we one jot of former love retain.
    Now at the last gasp of Love’s latest breath,
    When, his pulse failing, Passion speechless lies,
    When Faith is kneeling by his bed of death,
    And Innocence is closing up his eyes,
    Now if thou wouldst, when all have given him over,
    From death to life thou mightst him yet recover. ”

    *Not to mention cancel all our checks.

  13. Pinko Punko

    OK tonight is the freeze night- thoughts in your direction. I don’t know if it is better or worse that we randomly got 3 inches of rain last night. Will this be more or less destructive when it freezes tonight? What is the dividing line for killing more future mosquitoes versus some other unintended butterfly wing/hurricane type comic consequences for destruction around the rural or suburban bunkhouse?

  14. Mary Caulkins

    I hate it for you!! But I enjoyed reading about it. You made me laugh out loud.

  15. Helen

    You used the ‘water” and “weather” tags but I think you should have added ‘Ruinous Disasters” and “Vexations”.

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