Wednesday, February 2, 2022

What Goes Up Must Come Down

Newton’s theory stating, “What goes up must come down” certainly applies to gravity, but I have my own experience with that idea. In our family, when my husband goes up (in a plane) the temperature must come down. Hard.

Inevitably, when Cody is home, it’s 40 degrees and clear. When he leaves for an extended work trip to the wild west, the temperature drops drastically, and everything freezes. His last out-of-state trip did not disprove my theory; it was 37-degrees while he packed his suitcase and a mere 3-degrees four days later.

The good news is I love cold weather; the best news is our kids are very patient. They whine very little when getting bundled up, even with sticky Vaseline on their dry cheeks and hot chocolate in their plastic cups.

We drove north to check a pasture that about 25 cows are wintering in, only to find that the automatic waterer was completely empty and frozen. Nothing was in the tank but a 3-inch layer of ice. The pump house (a cinder block hole dug into the ground) was about 100 yards away, so we walked over to investigate. The heat lamp, which should have kept everything thawed and running so water would continuing filling into the tank as cows drank it down, was burned out. Everything was frozen. Even the hydrant wouldn’t produce water.

I called Cody to explain the situation, he asked many questions to diagnose the problem and find a solution from time zones away. I told the kids it might be a long while before we got into the house that evening and that didn’t bother them a bit. Cyrus was made for mechanics and Caroline just wants to be a helper.

We drove back to the home farm and got a ladder, an extension cord, a heater out of the calf box (a wooden box we would put a newborn calf in if we were experiencing sub-zero temperatures to save it from freezing), a spotlight, a socket set (no idea why, it seemed like a good idea) and two popsicles. You must always feed the help.

“Guys. We have a big job ahead of us and I need you to be helpers,” I told them in the truck.

“What do we get to do?” Caroline asked.

“Hold the spotlight when I crawl down in this hole so I can see what I’m doing. The light burnt out and it’s dark down there.” I left out the part where I’m scared of the dark and super anxious in tight spaces.

“Can we bring popsicles?” Cyrus asked, clearly unconcerned by the situation.

“Sure, Cyrus. But if Mommy gets into trouble I need you to call Daddy.”

“What’s Daddy going to do? He’s not here,” the empathic child reasoned with me.

“You’re right. Don’t touch my phone. Unless I scream. Then call 911.” I was starting to freak myself out. It was getting dark, I was going down in a hole that housed a lot of electrical and I didn’t have much experience in any of this.

My view from the hole

For the next twenty minutes I asked (commanded) Caroline to move the spotlight to the left, Caroline complained that her hand was getting tired, and Cyrus asked repeatedly, “Now can I call 911? Mom? Can I?”

“No! Put my phone down. We’re fine. I’m fine. We don’t have an emergency!” I repeatedly shouted up from the hole.

“But the cows are thirsty,” he responded with a burning desire to get a fire truck and a lot of tax dollars on the scene.

We got the heater set up in the pump house, the burnt-out bulb removed so I could go to the hardware store and buy a replacement, the cords all re-strung so they wouldn’t melt, and I climbed out of the hole without a broken hip or torn ligament. Small victories win battles.

My view from the hole as Caroline continued to help and Cyrus had lost interest

The kids earned two more popsicles upon our return home and crunched them down quickly, despite complaining about frozen hands. The next morning, we drove up to find the heater had worked! Kind of. The hydrant was working, but the electric waterers still were not. We hauled a tank to the pasture and ran a long hose from the hydrant to the tank, so the cows had something to drink.

As I pen, this my husband is packing another suitcase and talking about the approaching temperature drop in Rapid City, South Dakota. He believes that by the time he lands there, that cold snap will arrive in beautiful Economy, Indiana.

That gravity theory just won’t leave us alone.