Down to the depths…

Morning out back was a misty fog that encompassed the area.

As with every day it started with the announcements from April in the barn. She never misses an opportunity to make sure that I know she is not only awake, but hungry. In addition, she has done a great job of teaching all of the other ewes exactly how much noise is appropriate to move the old woman in the house. However, in the past few years she hasn’t noticed that the old woman doesn’t respond as quickly. I’ve learned a trick or two, too.

In the end all of the parties in the barn are fed. This leaves the quiet necessary to begin the day. It also leaves me the ability to get back to the important issues at hand. Of course a cup of tea and breakfast is tantamount to a luxury after doing the labors in the barn. But then there’s the decisions that have to be made in order to proceed through the rest of the day. Usually I have a pretty good idea about what is going to be accomplished; however, it doesn’t always work out that way and I’ve learned that flexibility is the best alternative to chaos.

I expected to get some writing done, but ended up finishing up a draft to post. It doesn’t really matter because I’m not on any sort of timeline. I can either do the writing or not. I can put it off or wait until something hits me worth considering. After all no one is paying me to spew out anything of any importance except for my own pleasure. And there’s no one standing around waiting for me to punch a clock.

However, there are a few things that should be done because after all winter follows autumn and with the advent of a few trees deliberately allowing their worn, dried leaves to descend to the ground time is not on my side. I have been adamant about not going to the cellar. But it is a necessary evil. Consequently, today I descended the raggedly steps to the cellar.

The steps to the cellar are a ladder-like downward attachment to the first floor. The right side of the attachment is the safest. The left side has a crack in the wood runner. There is usually a light at the bottom of the stairs, but there’s never any guarantee that the light bulbs are still working down there. I take a flashlight and carefully take my time with each step. Then once down onto the ledge it is time to fight off the cobwebs. There are hundreds of webs attached to the underbelly of the first floor. There are a few spiders still clinging to their webs to push aside in order to accomplish the reason for the trip to the cellar.

Next, I checked the box that encompasses the water pump to note that the heat lamp is out. The heat tape that wraps around the outside water faucet is still lit which is a good thing. It is probably a good idea to replace it though just to make sure that it is working through the winter. And there are a few light bulbs still burning. Then it is time to take off the metal tubing from the furnace in order to replace them. They have been rotten for a couple of years and between the metal tape and duct tape it is definitely time to replace them. The smell from the exhaust wasn’t so bad, but the heated duct tape wasn’t particularly aromatic. The pipes came off easily enough and I put them at the bottom of the steps.

Then I went to the oil tank to check the level. It appears that it is about half full of oil. Since the tank is about 275 gallons and I put 100 gallons in recently it will need an additional 100 plus gallons to fill it. A swift check with the flashlight through the rest of the cellar did not net anything serious. Although the regular cedar posts planted upon concrete blocks or granite are still in place, one of the posts seemed to waver. I thought about giving it a push here or there and then decided that since I was under the first floor it probably was not a good idea to bother the prop. The check of everything done I decided how to ascend the steps with the pipes in hand.

I thought that the pipes should go before me so that there would not be an occasion to lose a section, thus having to return to the cellar. So I pushed the tubing ahead of me one step at a time. I reached the top step and pushed open the cellar door which was a good thing. I am always afraid of being stuck down there. Although both Anthony and Michael were in the barns and I had told them if I didn’t reappear in due time to come looking for me. Max met me at the top of the steps with a tail fluffed out. Then he hissed and backed into the kitchen as I lifted the pipes. I passed Max and then Sarah as they were not pleased to see the strange thing. Out the door the pipe went and down the steps to land on the ground still somewhat intact.

The dreaded chore was done. I cannot express how I hate the cellar of this old house. I am sure that the ghosts of the house from the late 1700’s still remain. I have heard their whispers. They seem to find the cellar and the second floor comfortable. Consequently, since I live on the first floor they tend to keep to themselves unless I must invade their spaces. Bonnie and Betsy Ann haven’t ever been inclined to go up or down the stairs. And I figure if they aren’t interested then it is probably a good idea not to push my luck. Dogs have more sense than people most of the time.

As I reappeared Anthony stated that the barns were cleaned, the truck loaded for the dump and the pool for the ganders filled. It was time to go to the dump, get grain and beat the hay being delivered. The goslings pool was about half filled and that would have to do if we were going to get everything done. I realize that neither my truck nor car have wings; however, they do get around quick enough. I flew from one place to another and by 4 p.m. hay was unloaded, stacked and the gosling’s pool was in the process of being filled.

Monday the piping for the furnace will make a trip to Waterville with me. Then I will have to make another trip to the cellar to install the pipe. I will take a new heat lamp with me. I will install lots of new light bulbs. I’ll attach a new heat tape to the water pipe. Then, eventually I will call the oil company to fill the tank. The cellar will be fine until I have to pay attention to it again. There’s a few things to cross off the list!

And so it goes…

Copyright © 2011


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