The Big Freeze
It's now been about two weeks since we thawed out. Feb 14th - 18th was cold. We had lows of 11 degrees. That's huge for us. Certainly, I remember times growing up when it was -20 degrees but that was in the Chicago area and not down here on the upper Gulf Coast. Nothing down here is built for 11 degrees. The houses aren't. The roads aren't. And as it turns out neither are the water systems or the electric systems. What a mess.
I'm not against 11 degrees in principle. I'm not against -20 degrees either but I am strongly in favor of dependable electricity, which would have helped us keep the temperature in our house warm enough to be comfortable with sweaters and hats on. The walk from my bed to the bathroom at 2 am is pretty miserable at 49 degrees.
Much of Texas was without power for days. That was the situation at my daughter's house. Peggy and her husband have a generator so they were better able to cope with 53 hours without electricity. We were luckier than that. We had rolling blackouts from Monday afternoon through Wednesday evening. Mostly it worked out to be an hour on and an hour off. That is annoying but doable. We also have propane to heat our house and the stove. We managed to have hot coffee most of the time we wanted it and always had warm food to eat.
Like many other people, we had no water for two weeks. Unlike many other people, we have several large water troughs for our animals. Even under 6 inches of ice, there was water we could use to flush the toilets. We also used that water, after it was boiled, to wash dishes. Fortunately, we had a stock of drinking water so we had clean water for coffee and to cook with. Knowing how to prepare for hurricane season served us well in this case.
We are also very lucky to have a son-in-law who is wonderfully talented. He and my daughter came out to repair the broken pipe between our well and the bladder tank. Once it was repaired, we naturally turned on the water.... and promptly flooded Ron's office. So the water stayed off after that but we had good clean water from our well available through a hose that ended just outside our side door.
We are still dealing with the damage of having the water turned on for 10 minutes. Bless my daughter and son-in-law who swept most of the water out of the guest house and moved a huge number of Ron's things from his office to the barn. They were a godsend. As was our son who came a couple of days later and worked like a dog to get everything else out of Ron's office - books, cd's, reports, binders, etc. It was a huge effort and we couldn't have made it happen without our kids help. Thank you, all.
As we sit now, the plumbers have been out so we have hot and cold running water in the house and my studio. We have cold running water in the dye shed and in the barn as usual. Ron's office in our guest house is waterless, waiting to be re-piped. There was no way to repair the multitude of shattered pipes out there. The repair will happen once the plumber frenzy dies down, probably in the next several weeks.
The sun is shining and it's t-shirt weather again. All the animals are fine. They were happy to be let out of the barn to go back out to their normal pastures. We are all pretty much back to normal.