Friday, November 26, 2010

Ice, Ice, Baby

I woke this morning feeling totally blah and asked my husband to feed the horses for me. All I expected him to do was to throw a flake of hay to each horse in its stall, but he went the extra mile and put each horse in its pen, fed it, and broke the ice in all the water troughs.

The ice is especially bad this year. In the 21 years I've lived in Nevada, up until last winter I've never had problems breaking ice. However, both last winter and this winter the water troughs froze over to be about three inches thick. A hammer doesn't cut it. I have to get a man out there to swing a sledge hammer.

I have two electrical outlets, so I usually keep deicers in two troughs, but I have six water troughs -- one in each stall and one in each outdoor pen. This year we discovered that a brand new deicer that we bought at the end of last winter is broken, so we were down to just one. Since the ice is so bad this year, I asked my husband to pick up two deicers while he is in town. We can switch out the plugs in the two outlets between three deicers.

However, we both spaced the fact that the two outdoor troughs that needed deicers were different brands with different size holes.  So, we ended up with two deicers for one Rubbermaid trough and no deicer for the trough with the broken deicer.  To make matters worse, we didn't know where the cap was for the trough with the broken deicer.  My husband asked me to clean off the broken one to see if that would get it working, so I cleaned it with steel wool (while it was unplugged, of course).  It seems to have fixed it, but we're waiting to see how it handles itself during the night before we throw a party over it.

My husband informed me that the person at the feed store told him that you have to remove the deicers in the spring because they will break sitting in the troughs unused during the warmer months.  I've had the horses break them when the water level gets too low, but I didn't know that continued exposure to the sun would damage them.  Geez.  I don't have the strength to tighten and loosen them, so my husband always has to install them.  He throws such fits putting them in that he wasn't happy about the prospect of having to uninstall them every spring and reinstall them every winter.  He also wasn't happy over the fact that they cost $53 each and only last one or two years.

The other problem we have with these water troughs is that the rubber washers rot, and then the plugs and deicers leak.  You can buy an entire replacement plug with washers for about $20, but I just want the washers.  I'm going to have to hunt around the hardware store for something that will work. 

I'm am completely astounded that for the second year in a row, every major storm is coming through on the weekends. Every freakin' Saturday and Sunday I'm trapped inside the house. I need sun. I need air. Wah.  What are the odds that storms would be on a 7-day track for two years straight?  This is just plain bizarre.

Also astounding is how, even on this ice in these frigid temperatures, I still can't go outside without my nosy neighbors coming out to hover. You'd think a woman in her 70s and a man in his 80s would be incapacitated by this weather. 

Today I looked out my kitchen window to find the man's truck stopped in front of my house blocking my driveway. Just a few minutes before, I had been outside feeding the horses, and these neighbors had been in their yard buzzing around the truck with its hood up.  Anyway, I guess they decided they couldn't get enough of me and had to drive over to my house and block the end of my driveway.

I took pictures through the window to add to my stash of evidence concerning their stalking and trespassing behaviors, and then opened the front door and stepped outside onto the porch to take a few shots. As soon as I opened the door, the woman ran out from behind the truck. I'm not exaggerating when I say "ran", and the man took off in the opposite direction in his truck. I tracked the woman, and she ran to her house. I don't know what the heck they were doing, but I want them to stay away from me and my property.  They had just been talking to each other on their own property a few minutes before, so I don't know why they felt it was necessary to carry their conversation over onto my property.

Plus, with the number of times that truck breaks down, I don't want it breaking down at the end of my driveway.  These people are so incredibly annoying.  We've got a whole street where they can stop in emergencies, but they always choose to park blocking my driveway -- I'm guessing because they don't want trees blocking their view of my windows and yards.  Since the last neighbor who lived in that house used to do the same thing and I later found out it was because she was casing my house in order to steal my hay, I'm a bit over-reactive toward people who loiter there.  It's best not to do anything suspicious on my property.

When I looked at the pictures on my computer, I saw that the man got into a car accident recently. There's a big dent on the side of his truck. I'm guessing it was related to the icy roads.  I know you all would love to see the pictures, especially the one I got of the woman running away, but I have to protect myself from getting sued.  So, instead, here is a photo of a very cold dog...


Crystal said...

aww thats a cute picture, looks like he should be undr the covers, lol!

fernvalley01 said...

Love the pic of Scrappy! as to the rest... well that just sucks! I did buy a new fitting for the heater plug at my local feed store, they are starting to sell parts for all of the tanks and heater .I guess if you can't get them there you could send me a photo of what you are after ,and I can try to grab you some here. If I mail them when I am in vegas it should be cheap

Mikey said...

OH, how I would have loved to have seen that!! LOL!!! This is so good. Maybe they'll leave you alone now!!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Crystal - I just ordered Christmas cards and put that pic of Scrappy on the back with the caption "STAY WARM".

fernvalley01 - That is such a sweet offer. I don't want to bother you with such a big favor, though. I'm sure I'll find something that should work at the hardware store.

Mikey - Taking pictures of them has been very effective. What really creeps me out, though, is that whenever I take a picture of them casing my house in their car, they suddenly get rid of that car and start driving something else. They seem to ditch/switch cars every few months.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Oh! He doesn't look cold...he looks cozy warm in his beautiful sweater :)

I want to see what you're talking about, too. Maybe you can still show the photos. Just place a black strip or blur across their creepy faces/heads.

You reminded me that I need to buy a new wire brush to remove the hard water deposits that build up on our pond de-icer. We have horrible hard water.

We're having issues with icy buckets, too. But we had some gophers or ground squirrels chew through our underground electric lines last summer and the barn is too far from the house to run electric up there.
So I have very nice heated water buckets but I can't use them. bah!


Leah Fry said...

A cute pet photo trumps nosy neighbor pix any day of the week, in my book. Sending some sunshine your way...

Sydney_bitless said...

Try the de-icers at a few barns I manage got them and they are great.

Breathe said...

Well, it'll be one heck of a slide show when you get all those photos done.

Hope you see some warmer weather soon...

Johara said...

I have the deicers that are free-standing. Either the floaters (not good with 'playful' horses lol) or the ones that sort of sink to the bottom. When warmer weather hits, I unplug them and stash them away.
Had to get a new one this year, one of my babies destroyed one last winter. The ones from Big R look very similar to this one:

Each post of yours makes me thankful for the neighbors that I have. They aren't all perfect, but ho boy are they better then your creepers! I wish you all the best in getting out of there. (Or them getting out of there!)

Love the pictures, keep on posting! :)

Anonymous said...

My neighbor had been doing that drive/switch/drive thing. Here you have to show proof of insurance to renew the vehicle registration, so they were buying used cars and driving them until the registration expired, then selling and buying another - no insurance at all, never put the cars in their names! Got busted, too.

We tried those screw-in heaters for a while, but finally gave up and caulked the plugs in and use drop-in heaters now. Kind of a pain to make the cord horse-safe, but once you have a system you have a lot of flexibilty in what you buy, where, and for how much.

I think Scrappy looks very snuggled in for the winter!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

In my case, Bombay and Gabbrielle would have to mature a lot before I could use any kind of deicer or water heater that floats or has a cord coming out of the top. As is, I have to shove the water troughs right up against the fence so that they can't reach the electrical cord, or they'll chew it like licorice.

Anonymous said...

Ah, I should have said we run the cord through plastic pipe past where they can reach. Even defeats yearling stud colts!

Grey Horse Matters said...

And a very cute dog. Hope everything warms up for you and your neighbors sell their house to normal people.

achieve1dream said...

Poor Scrappy. I feel for him. I'm so not enjoying the cold.

Oh and sometimes I do think weather watches a calendar. Last spring we got storms on every single weekend! It was so irritating. The pattern will break eventually though. :)

Good luck with your legal pursuits. I really hope you can get them off your back.