Necessities really do come first. And of all that is necessary, water cetainly tops the list! Sure, there is plenty in that overflowing pond for the horses that are free to roam and the chickens lose on the ground. But what of the Stud horse, DBoy, in the pen? The three hogs in their pen? The dogs that live in a pen or are chained up here and there? And especially, us?! Thankfully, Pete had accepted as trade in some deal or the other an old prehistoric generator. He and Bubba got it to run after a little tinkering and a lot of sweat! But the darned old thing didn't push enough juice to run the pump. However it did push just enough juice to run the compressor that brings the water out of the ground and into the holding tank! (See, the pump just sends it through the pipes into the house.) So, battle half won. How do we get the water out of the tank? You don't. You turn the pipe from the well to the tank around, put a turndown on it, and fill Bugs plastic wading pool! Hurrah! With a strapping teenage Bubba around, you dip that out with a 5 gal bucket and distribute it to all the animals. Mom fills every pitcher and milk jug around for our drinking, cooking, etc. THEN, you take turns getting in the pool to cool off and clean up. And it is so icy cold, thank you Jesus!
Well, Mama enjoyed it quite a bit, but then again I am a 45 year old woman, if you know what I mean. And Bug took to it pretty good too....just another day in the pool to her. But the guys had a little problem with it. Something to do with their plumbling, apparently.
Next on the list, how to eat. That's not too hard for folks who dear camp every year with none of the modern conveniences.....except all our stuff is in the deer camp. Would probably take Pete and Bubba a week to get there and back through all the downed trees. Well, there is the butane burner. And Pete keeps a fire hole dug out all year and has a grill on a swivel above it. Don't know how soon we can get more butane, but the Lord has given us an abundance of firewood! So you do what you can slowly over the fire and the rest on the cooker. And at first you eat fairly good. Got lots of stuff to eat on before it rots.
Let's see....water, food, and the third necessity, shelter. That little front that turned Rita away from Galveston held us with clear skies. And our long dry spell left us with no mosquitoes, at first. But the heat is something awful. Thank God for shade! And did we ever chase it, all day, from one spot to another in the yard. At night we went in the house and all slept on pallets on the living room floor. This is so we could all get the benefit of one small little fan that Pete took out of an old van and mounted to the window-sil. Pull the truck up to the window and hook the fan wires to the battery and you have cool evening air blowing across you.
Now, gradually, things improved in each of the three areas. Pete got an old bathtub and cleaned it up. Set it out near the firehole. Then each evening he'd heat a couple of large pans of water over the fire and pour into the tub to cut the chill and warm the well water. We took turns as to whose night was first in the tub. (Come on, someone out there has surely bathed in a number three washtub?! ) You washed your hair on your night to be first.
Eventually the food in the freezers was all beyond consumption and MRI's and canned soups and Chef Boy'r'd type meals became the standard fare. It took about 5 days for FEMA and the National Guard to get setup and distributing food, water and ice in our area. Oh, how we celebrated to have ice!!! A cold drink of water. An icy jug of koolaide!
And our nighttime hours got a little better once Pete's cousin relented and let him borrow another small generator that he uses to light his wagon when he rides at night. With it, we could have 8-9 hours of a large box fan in the window running and even watch an hour or two of the Western Channel on satellite! Yippee!
Thus was our lives for two weeks. Next installment I'll begin to share some side stories with you. And, sorry Mary, no pictures. We aren't the kind to always keep a camera around loaded.....and the nearest store up and running was probably two hours away. By the time there was a place you could get a camera or film, there just wasn't the same pictures with the same feel to be had.