The Force of the Horse

Thawing out in Texas – Sort of

by R.T. Fitch

“This past week is 7 days that millions of Texans wish had never happened and will surely never be able to claim was a lot of fun.”

Hauling Pony Poop with the help of my crew, NOT!

Unlike other life experiences where time passes and one can look back and chuckle about what had transpired and think that it was really not so bad after all; but not this time, no laughing here, maybe a grunt and a sigh, that will be about it.

The sadness of the situation is that many people are continuing to suffer with no water, damage and food shortages.  We, on the other hand have been lucky and we knew then and know it now, we have been blessed.

In moving to South East Texas after living through multiple hurricanes in Louisiana, including Katrina and Rita, we installed a full farm, hard plumbed, fully automatic back-up power system.  It paid off the very first year of installation after hurricane Ike ripped through Houston and that puppy ran day and night for 11 days straight.

Roxy loved the snow, Tesla said it hurt his paws.

“Now it IS important to have your lights and AC running during a hurricane but what really separates the men from the boys is having a toast in the eye of the storm with cold beer and ice cubes in your drinks!”

So, we had power this past week, which meant we had heat and could watch DVDs as the internet and cell service headed south along with the grid’s power.

Likewise, we have the best well water I have ever had the pleasure to drink so all of life’s basics were, and are, available to all the creatures who call the Fitch Farm home.

Pampered Pony’s first experience with snow, ever.

Not that it has been easy, mind you, as stalling our spoiled ponies did not go over very well nor did the fact that we don’t have heated water buckets in Texas as the horse’s water kept freezing, SOLID.  That meant a lot of trips from the house to the barn with buckets of hot water but hey, a little exercise is always in order.  Tuesday, I walked seven (7) miles and never left the property.But after 7 consecutive nights of dipping well below freezing it appears that we may be on an upward trend, today.  Water is going to be turned on to the barn and property for the horses, covers are coming off the tropical plants, others will be moved out of the garage and back into place and even the ice on the Koi pond appears to be disappearing.  So life is good.

But are hearts and prayers go out to those who are still struggling; it is all but impossible to assess the damage this storm has showered down upon our Texas neighbors.

With a hurricane, it is easy to see what is wrong and what needs to be repaired as you can drive by and see the trees down and roofs damaged but with this storm, which I call a hurricane in reverse, the damage is internal and personal.  Broken pipes, no drinking water, damage to ceilings and walls, no warm place to rest or sleep…the victims are suffering from the inside and their silence is deafening.

I bend on one knee and take my hat off for those whose fight goes on, may God bless and stand beside you during this time of need.

Keep the faith.

 

Just a little update, with the past two days being full of sunshine we have been able to not only generate our own power but have been pumping back out onto the Texas grid for others to use, all of this made possible by our solar shingles…our meter actually runs backwards.

5 replies »

  1. Obviously – you learned the lesson of back up power! After seeing the power outages happen more often here in NY & having a small generator which my son usually had to come & start (5 minutes away), & a snowstorm where he & his plowtruck almost couldnt get here, invested in an automatic generator – we may not have days long outages, but this way I dont have to worry & fret!! I really feel bad for the people in Tx – I hope this inspires some changes in their electrical “grid” etc. Winterizing would pay off in this day & age.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am sure you do. We realize that this may appear a tad stupid to people up north, in fact, I spent the last two winters in Omaha and the winter prior in Maine, so I know snow. But none of the critters, here, both wild and domestic had ever experianced such an event nor have they felt such cold temps, many died.

      Likewise, our houses, barns and utilities are not constructed with freezing temperatures in mind, in fact it goes the other way, concerns for heat. Our barn, for instance, is a center aisle design so directly above the walls and under the roof is open along with the sides of the raised center roof. This is to draw in cooler air and vent it upwards and out when hot. In fact, on a calm, hot day you can stand in that aisle and feel a breeze as it draws in the air and it escapes out of the top. Now, try heating that design…it’s a full-stop, no go.

      We are lucky that all of our well equipment and piping is in our garage and not outside so that was a big plus for us maintaining fresh water.

      In a nutshell, it has been horrible week of massive proportions, as stupid as it may sound to those who live in such environments.

      We have appreciated all of the letters of concern and are pleased to be able to report that the last two days of sunshine has allowed us to generate power out onto the Texas grid as we not only can stand alone with our natural gas power system but we have the back of the roof decked out in Solar Shingles and on sunny days, without the AC running, we not only run on solar but the extra is sent back out to the grid, the meter runs backward.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hope you realized when I mentioned winterizing – I did not mean you personally! It seems you are one of the fortunate ones who did think ahead when you moved there. The thing is up until the past few years, if you lived in Florida, Texas, the Carolinas, you obviously prepared for the heat! What else? But with the weather changing as it has – I’m afraid theres no way to absolutely predict what will be coming down the pike next!! By the way, really smart move with the solar. People here are doing more of that too. Just be careful and stay safe!

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      • I should have added this winter here in NY is like the ones I remember when I was a kid – and that was a long time ago! Snow piled up as high as I am tall where my son has plowed. The wildlife is really hungry – the birds (and squirrels & rabbits) are sucking up the sunflower seeds like crazy & I have never gone thru so many suet blocks before – deer waiting for breakfast and supper, too. Still about 2 feet of snow. But since I’m warm & dry and have water – just fine. What the people in Texas & La are going thru is awful.

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