Last night Mike was playing with Bess and discovered a flat round protuberance just at the point of her jaw. Naturally we were concerned and Mike wondered out loud if 7-month-old pups get cancer. It seemed more of a skin thing to me, but I suggested we make an appointment “soonest” to see the vet. Whatever it was, it was painless and not slowing Bess down.
We had planned a day trip to the farm to check on things today, and Mike was able to get an appointment to see the vet on our way. The vet said her first thought would be ringworm. (Oh no! The dreaded ringworm!) The staff took Bess away from Mom and Dad and pulled some chin hairs (“ow-ow-ow-bark-bark!) to check for mites. Then they took some scrapings to culture. It will take 10 days to know for sure if it’s ringworm, and if it is, in 10 days it will have run its course. Meanwhile, we’re to treat it with athlete’s foot ointment and wash our hands with betadine – because, you know, it’s likely ringworm.
So, we picked up the prescribed supplies and drove on to the farm, arriving before 11:00. Sometimes I imagine that Ina is waiting for me when we arrive at the farm. Today she was nowhere to be “felt.” I think she knew what was coming and hid. Mike and I unloaded the pick-up and then set to work.
Mike had been up before the cold spell to turn off the water and drain the pipes. Everything seemed okay when he turned the water on. However, he didn’t treat the commodes – and as we began to investigate the house, we discovered that the water in the tanks had frozen in both the upstairs and downstairs commodes. (The master bath was fine.) Upstairs the tank had cracked, so Mike unbolted it and carried it downstairs and outside. Filled with ice, it was heavy. I told him that’s why he works out and promised to rub his back for him tonight.
Then, as I worked with the downstairs commode, which has had a crack in the bowl for five years, I could hear water dripping under the house. Mike was getting the Christmas tree from storage in the barn when I apprised him of this situation. There was considerable amount of discussion and back and forthing between the bathroom and the crawl space. Eventually the drip slowed – and quit.
“Why did it quit?” Mike asked aloud. "That's really strange. Why should it quit?" We ate lunch and Mike called the plumber in Orofino, making an appointment for Friday. The plumber will fix the leak and change out the commode.
We continued with our chores. Mike did a repair job on Bess’ hunting collar. I set up the tree.
Suddenly the reason the drip quit clicked with Mike. “The pump isn’t working,” he exclaimed. And that proved to be the case. Pressure was low in the tank and the pump wasn’t running. So, he called the pump guy in Orofino, and he committed to come tomorrow and check it out.
Preparing to leave, we turned off the water and drained the pipes again. We also set up heaters to keep the bathrooms warmer. Then Mike had a brainstorm. He affixed the tank from the downstairs commode to the upstairs unit. Now, if all goes well, only the downstairs bathroom will need a new commode.
It was after 4:00 when we left the farmhouse. When we were out of the “bowl” and up on top, the moon looked big and gorgeous. Perhaps even more spectacular was this view of the setting sun.
Then, as we began our descent of Gilbert Grade, Mike took this shot of the moon over the fog which appeared to fill the valley. However, we drove through the fog and out from under it.
Well, you know, I thought of Julian and Ina today. I’ve felt sorry for Ina, living in this place without water, and maybe I’ve had it all wrong. Perhaps as the local farms began to modernize and they heard about the burst pipes, they were really just as happy not to have those problems. "Indoor plumbing? -- wouldn't have it!" KW