The horses heading toward the front gate now that the back gate was closed.

Finding the Horses on a Drizzly Easter Sunday Morning

On Sundays I generally sleep late. The alarm goes off every other day at 0500, but on Sundays I have no alarm at all and my body takes full advantage of that fact. I do not ordinarily wake up planning to go off on a walkabout mission finding the horses.

Finding the horses is never a planned event, but always something that I move to the top of a priority list and its usually a situation that presents itself in the most inconvenient times. Finding the dog was a first time occurrence earlier during the week, but finding the horses is a sporadically yet regularly enough thing that I have made more than one blog post about it here through the years.

This morning was one of those inconvenient times. I woke up with a headache, probably from sleeping too late. It rained and stormed last night, so the water is up. It’s not as up as it would have been if I had started looking for them earlier, though, so perhaps my late start was a good thing, after all.

I started out with the usual routine of feeding animals in the morning. First Badger. Bobbie Sue is no longer with us, so he’s the only dog. Ordinarily he’s waiting outside the back door to see when I start feeding, since he can no longer hear the sound of food hitting his bowl. He wasn’t there. Yesterday we left the shop door open for him and the light on, and the old house door open because we knew the rain was coming. I brought him in the old house to show him his food bowl and the hay on the floor, and Rob brought him in the shop to show him where his bed was. Badger inspected both with a sort of disinterested look.

So he wasn’t there when I put his food this morning and I had a dreadful feeling we’d be out in the rain today searching the backroads again. But I still had to feed the chickens and horses. By the time I’ve fed the chickens the horses are usually waiting at the gate, snickering at me to hurry up. Not this morning. But we just brought them a new bale of hay the other day, so I thought since I was late getting started this morning, they’d just gone back to the hay. They’d hear me when I opened the gate and come then.

Not so. Comanche didn’t snicker when the gate chain banged against the gate. If I don’t want them to come up, I’m quiet about that. But this morning I wanted them to hear it so I made extra sure it clattered good. The creek was high so the water was loud and I thought maybe they didn’t hear it. They almost always can hear me whistle even with the high water though, so I tried that. No answer.

I resigned myself to crossing the creek to see where they were and what they were doing. Headache and all. The creek turned out to at least not be over my boots, so another point for sleeping in. The extra hours gave it time to go down a lot. I crossed the creek and walked up the hill to the hay feeding spot. No horses. No immediate signs the fence was down, either. I called them again by whistling, but didn’t get a reply.

Walked to the back end of the field and that’s when I saw the back gate. Wide open. And two horses trotting up the path from the deep yonder toward their own field so they could come get second breakfasts. So that was good. They hadn’t gone any further than the wilds right beyond the gate. And the grass on that end wasn’t rich and green like the grass they would have encountered had they gone up the mountain and into the hunting club to the east.

Too much rich and green grass would have been bad for them. It can cause them to colic or founder because it’s a sudden and drastic diet change, so I try to be extra vigilant about fences and gates during spring.

When I made it over to the gate I saw that the latch ring dangled from the chain. It must have gotten loose and most likely Shasta noticed that and nudged it until it gave way. I rigged it to stay shut until I can get back out there to make a more permanent fix.

That’s our house on the hill in the distance. The creek is down at the bottom of the hill they’re on now. My morning feeding chores and then walkabout while finding the horses amounted to almost a half a mile’s walk this morning, so at least I got a little exercise on this muddy, drizzly day.

Photo from my post on finding the horses.
Zoomed in on the horses as they went ahead of me toward the front gate to get their second breakfasts.

They waited for me at the bottom of the hill, then sped past me at the creek. Because I was slow in crossing and they’re much better at it than me with my clumsy rubber boots and only two legs. If they wouldn’t have been soaking wet, I think I would have hitched a ride.

Oh, and by the way, by the time I got back from finding the horses, Badger had found me. He caught up with me in the field as I walked back to the house. So all is well again here on the Wild Ozark homestead. No lost pups or horses this day.

Happy Easter if you celebrate it that way, or Ostara if the seasons mark your passage of time more than the holidays. Either way, Spring is here, even if there is a chance of freezing rain this evening.

Hiking to the Wild Ozark Corner Bluff

A while back, I posted about our exploration of the bluffs along the driveway. This time we went hiking to what I call the “Corner Bluff”.

It’s not far away, either, but takes a bit of effort. Getting to this one is fairly difficult if approached from the ground level, so instead of climbing up, we took the 4-wheeler to the top of the mountain and hiked down to it.

Most of our hiking trips are short ones carried out right here at home, because we have so many places on our own property that we haven’t explored. Here’s a great compilation about long hiking trails in the USA for those who enjoy extended adventures on foot.

The photos below are from our hike to the Corner Bluff.

We saw Mossy ledges while hiking to the Corner Bluff.
Mossy Ledges

What makes it a Corner Bluff?

I call it that because it exists on a topographical corner of a mountain that’s partially on our plot of land. It’s not at the corner of our property, which is a square in theory, but on a physical corner of a mountain.

Rocks and Walls

There are big boulders and tall walls in this spot.

A really tall rock. Had to get on the ground to get the top in the frame.
A really tall rock. Had to get on the ground to get the top in the frame.

 

Rob standing on the ledge of one of the walls. Helps to give you an idea for size context.
Rob standing on the ledge of one of the walls. Helps to give you an idea for size context.

Some of the rocks in one of the areas look like faces, complete with eyes, noses and mouths. I didn’t get any good pics of those, but I did a while back on one of our other hiking trips in 2011 or 2010. If I can find the pictures I’ll post them later.

Green even Mid-winter

Ferns growing in very little soil
Ferns growing in very little soil.

 

Moss and lichens on the rocks
Moss and lichens on the rocks.

 

Fruiting bodies on the moss collect the morning's fog droplets
Fruiting bodies on the moss collect the morning’s fog droplets.

 

The moss acted like a sponge. Water drained slowly down the rock bluffs through the moss. We don’t usually go hiking without bringing water, and the sight of all of it percolating made me even thirstier.

If the thirst became too terrible, I suppose we could have gathered enough sips from the moss to save our lives in an emergency.

Moss covered wall at the Corner Bluff
Moss covered wall at the Corner Bluff

Trees

This twisted little tree is growing on top of the rock.
This twisted little tree is growing on top of the rock.
A tree skeleton full of texture, shades and lines. I love tree skeletons almost as much as the living ones.
A tree skeleton full of texture, shades and lines. I love tree skeletons almost as much as the living ones.

 

This gigantic oak is growing underneath and between the rocks. I can only imagine how far the roots must go between the layers in order to hold it up.

Fav Hiking Finds: Nooks and Crannies

My favorite things are the hidden places like this nook between the rocks.
My favorite things are the hidden places like this cranny between the rocks.

 

Rob seems to particularly like looking in the nooks where critters like bears and bobcats could be sleeping.
Rob seems to particularly like looking in the nooks where critters like bears and bobcats could be sleeping.

Odd Rocks

This rock looks just like a knob for a cabinet pull on the face of one of the bluff walls.
This rock looks just like a knob for a cabinet pull on the face of one of the bluff walls. I didn’t pull on it for fear of breaking it off.

 

We don't have much limestone on our property, but this does look like it has a lot of calcium/magnesium because of the holes. Most of our rocks are sandstone.
We don’t have much limestone on our property, but this does look like it has a lot of calcium/magnesium because of the holes. Most of our rocks are sandstone.

 

This rock wasn't at the bluff but we saw it earlier on our way to the bluff. The rocks in that spot have a lot of iron veins in them. Odd-looking, huh?
This rock wasn’t at the bluff but we saw it earlier on our way to the bluff. The rocks in that spot have a lot of iron veins in them. Odd-looking, huh?

Getting Back to the Top

It’s funny how you don’t notice how far you’ve gone when you’re walking down hill or over the sides of walls until it’s time to go back to the top. I was worn out by the time we had the 4-wheeler back in sight.

Hope you enjoyed the photo-essay of our rock bluff exploration!

Unrelated Note

I heard spring peepers yesterday and this morning. It’s the middle of January. I should not be hearing spring peepers.

Using a Spring for Water – Winter Issues

When you rely on a spring for water, you need a tank. This is our 1500 gallon water collection tank.
When you rely on a spring for water, you need a tank. This is our 1500 gallon water collection tank.

Using a spring for water requires more effort than relying on tap water. Sometimes, just because you turn on the faucet, that doesn’t mean the water will come out like it’s supposed to.

Yesterday, while Rob worked on changing the O2 sensors on his truck, I burned some calories. It was only twenty degree as I hiked up the mountain behind our house to check on our water tank.

Having a spring for water is nice, but it works best when that spring is a good distance higher in elevation than the house.

The Problem

We’ve had some well-below freezing days and have been keeping the water running pretty much around the clock. The flow became low in a couple of faucets in the house.

When using a spring for water, ideally the plumbing *should* all work the same as it does in a city. It’s just the maintenance of the system that is different.

At first I thought perhaps the tank was getting low on water. But that didn’t explain why some faucets had good pressure and flow and some didn’t.

Then I thought maybe the lines under the house were beginning to freeze in those faucets that were off.

Puzzles

But that didn’t explain why, after running hot water through them, it didn’t help. Or why the sprayer at the kitchen sink worked fine but the faucet didn’t.

Just in case the water was low, I hiked up the mountain. I’m not sure, but I think the spring is a good three hundred feet in elevation above the house. I don’t know how many walking feet it is, because the angle to get there obviously isn’t straight up. But it’s not gentle.

I wish I would hike up there every day, but it seems I’m only motivated when the likelihood of running out of water prompts me to start climbing.

Great Exercise

It’s exceptionally good exercise for my knee – if I don’t misstep. Since tearing the ACL and meniscus a year and a half ago, I’ve been using my natural terrain to help rehab and that has worked great. No surgery.

There’s an old logging road that runs up there, but flooding over the years have washed it out and made hip-deep trenches in some places, and narrow footpath trails alongside those trenches are all that’s left.

Oh, and loose rocks and shale clay, and acorns galore. It all makes for an adventurous hike.

This time, the tom cat came with me. I didn’t get a picture of him because I didn’t bring my camera. I knew I’d have enough to do with just breathing and staying on my feet. Mr. Kitty thinks it’s cool to stop right in front of me while I’m walking, and he did this on the way up there, too.

Motivating the Cat

I stepped on him a couple of times and booted him to get moving and he started behaving better after that. He made the entire trip up there and back down again. I think this cat thinks he’s a dog because he sure acts like one sometimes.

It didn’t take as long as I thought it would to get up there, and I wasn’t as winded as I thought I’d be, either. Must be that ginseng jelly I’ve been eating every morning on my toast!

The view from above the house on the bench where the spring tank sits.
The view from above the house on the bench where the spring tank sits.

The tank was full to overflowing, so the level of water definitely wasn’t the source of our problem. Having a spring for water offers multiple opportunities for figuring out the sources of problems, ha.

So I looked a little harder. The overflow line was plugged. I could tell that because some critter had made holes in it and the water was spraying from the holes but not making it to the other end where it should exit.

Stuck Lid

So I decided to take off the cap and have a look. Well, the cap was stuck. It felt frozen stuck. It’s over my head to reach up and turn the thing, and I couldn’t get good leverage to make it move.

Rocks are particularly handy and I’m glad we live somewhere there are lots of them lying around. I tried the rock. It didn’t work. Then I noticed a shovel leaning against the other side of the tank. That worked after a few times hitting the cap ridge in the direction I wanted it to turn.

What’s Inside the Tank?

From tiptoes I could look inside. There was a layer about an inch thick of ice on the top of the water. If you look at the photo at the top, you’ll see the little “neck” to the tank. The water was only about an inch below the lid. The overflow line is the one at the top leading out.

So I thought maybe a sort of vacuum had formed, causing the pressure to be lower at the house than normal. But again, that didn’t explain why some faucets worked right and some didn’t.

Anyway, I broke up the ice and tried to open up the overflow but couldn’t get that to work. It just kept clogging back up with ice. At least I knew without a doubt that we had plenty enough water to continue running the water as the temperatures drop to near zero in the next few days.

The Solution

Once back at the house it occurred to me that only two faucets had issues. The others all seemed fine. Then I thought about taking the aerator screen off of the kitchen sink faucet to check that.

Sure enough, the problem the whole time was right there at the end of the faucet and not anywhere else along the lines.

Algae is always present in the water and it usually doesn’t cause any problems. I think the green algae actually helps to keep the water cleaner than without, but I haven’t found any evidence to support this thought. I know the red/brown and some blue-green algaes do indicate poor water quality, though. At least two varieties of blue-green algae is edible and nutritious.

However, Rob likes to keep the water algae free as possible, so he shocked the tank last week. Algae had clogged the aerator screens on those two faucets. We’ll have to take them off of the faucets the next time we’re flushing the lines after shocking. Or better yet, just get rid of the fine screen in the aerator altogether.

Using a Spring for Water

So that’s the saga of what it’s like living on a spring for water so far this winter. Ordinarily there are far more incidents to write about but I’m thankful it took this long to encounter one and hopeful there won’t be another!

Things Collected During My Morning Mile

I have a housefull of things collected. Some I actually do get around to using, some stay on a shelf gathering dust. A few of the most prized collected things are just there for me to look at and enjoy, like the hornet’s nest and abandoned bird nest hanging in my office.

Most mornings after feeding the critters I take a walk for exercise. Sometimes I slow-jog or fast-walk. I’m still working on building back up to that part of it, and I’m still working on getting back up to a mile.

This morning was the first time since I was sick that I made the whole mile!

Well, with me, a walk is never just a walk. I’m looking around even when fast-walking. Usually I try to remember things of interest and come back to it later with the camera. Since I started doing the walks for exercise more than for exploration, I quit bringing the camera with me.

If I’m not noticing things to collect or plants to identify, I’m thinking of my writing projects and working through issues with stories.

This morning, though, I saw a few things I just had to break my stride for.

Here’s a picture of my things collected from this morning.

Things collected during my morning mile.
My morning mile collection.

The first thing that stopped me was a plant. Plants are frequently subject to making the list of my things collected.

This is one I transplanted into a pot last spring and can’t remember what it is. Right now it’s dormant, so all it is is a cluster of roots and a bud for next spring. So it’s hard to identify since it’s not one I already know.

The thing is, everytime I check on this plant, something has uprooted and tossed it out of the pot. The same thing happened last night.

So I repotted it again and carried it with me. It’ll wait at the house until spring and I can see what it is then.

Then I saw the red and yellow sweet gum leaf. The picture doesn’t do it justice. It is perfectly colored, no holes or tears, and very bright.

Yes, I know there are hundreds if not thousands of beautiful leaves on the ground right now. As you can see, I picked up a few more that struck my fancy, too.

I just learned how to use glycerin to preserve leaves and it leaves them pliable and their color stays vibrant. A solution to preserve plants like this is 1/3 cup glycerin and 2/3 cups of water.  I reuse the same bath for a long time. Just keep it covered.

So now when I see a leaf I want to keep for future use, most likely on pixies or other crafty things, I take it home and pop it into the glycerin-water bath I keep waiting on the shelf in the kitchen. Then I put rocks on top of the leaves to keep them completely submerged for a few days. Take them out and rinse them off after 4 or so days, then let them air dry.

After the leaves, which are quickly becoming obsessively collected things, and before I was halfway back to the house, I spied the little dead praying mantis. I’ve always been fascinated with these creatures but never have the opportunity to look very closely at them. So it became one of my gathered things too. How lucky! It wasn’t even stiff, so I could open the wings and look at the grabbing legs, even.

Among my things collected in the past, there is also a dead hummingbird. how often do you get to see a hummingbird up close in real life? Only when it’s a dead one, that’s when.

Then there were some perfect little acorn caps. Again, I know there are plenty of these lying around, but many of them are cracked or doubled, and I use the singles for pixie baskets. So I picked them up when I spotted them.

So there’s a summary of my oddities; my collected things for the day.

What kinds of things do you stop to pick up during your hikes or walks? I always swoop in for bones and arrowheads and fossils, too. Just didn’t see any this morning.

Hey, it adds to the exercise routine when I have to carry extra weight up the long hill back to the house!

 

 

Driveway Flowers in September

It’s been bone dry lately. This morning I brought my camera with me so I could take pictures of the driveway flowers.

Ordinarily this would have been an “exercise walk” and I wouldn’t have brought the camera because that would have just caused me to stop and take pictures. Which would have defeated the purpose of the exercise, which is to get the heart rate up and sustained up for a little while.

However, I’m still not up to my old self after the tick fever episode, so exercise isn’t “exercise” in the same sense of the word yet. Ha. So I brought the camera and called all the stooping and squatting “exercise”.

Heading out to take pictures of the driveway flowers and get a little exercise.
Dogs waiting for me to catch up.

It’s been so dry. We hadn’t gotten any rain for weeks and the trees are already dropping their leaves. Later in the afternoon, though, we did get a really nice shower.

The creek isn't flowing anymore and leaves are filling up the small pools.
The creek isn’t flowing anymore and leaves are filling up the small pools.

The water goes underground in the creek once it gets this dry. It leaves only a few small pools here and there. I have to check regularly to make sure the horses still have their usual water hole, but so far it’s never dried up in certain spots on their portion of the creek.

When the water is low, it’s easier to find interesting rocks. This one has an inclusion that looks like part of a plant. Or something else. I’m not sure what it is, but it looks like a fossil of some sort.

Fossil in the rock.
Fossil in the rock.

In spite of the drought, some of the driveway flowers are still doing well.

An evening primrose flower.
An evening primrose flower.
Evening primrose blooming in the morning.
Evening primrose blooming in the morning.
Goldenrods never seem bothered by the droughts.
Goldenrods never seem bothered by the droughts.

Many people mistakenly think it’s the goldenrod causing their allergies. In reality, it’s the ragweed which blooms during the same time frame. I didn’t take any pics of the ragweed. It really messes with my sinuses and I didn’t want to get any closer to them than I had to.

This one is called camphorweed, but it doesn’t smell like camphor to me. It plain stinks. It ought to be called stink weed instead. The latin binomial gives a good clue to its nature:  Pluchea foetida.

Camphor weed almost gone to seed.
Camphor weed almost gone to seed.

Down in Louisiana, when someone speaks of boneset, it’s usually Eupatorium perfoliatum. Up here in the Ozarks it’s usually a different boneset. This one is Eupatorium serotinum, or late boneset.

This is the only boneset I've ever found in the Ozarks.
This is the only boneset I’ve ever found in the Ozarks.

I know that E. perfoliatum is an herb once used to treat “breakbone” fever, or dengue fever. I’m not sure if our local variety has the same properties.

Once summer begins morphing into fall, the Lobelia inflata seed pods swell and ripen. I collected enough seeds of this plant last year that I didn’t need to gather more this year. It’s a valuable part of antispasmodic formulas I craft and really works quickly for muscle pain.

Lobelia inflata with swollen seedpods.
Lobelia inflata with swollen seed pods.

I wrote an article on this often overlooked plant for the North American Native Plant Society. It was included in the August 2017 issue of their members-only newsletter magazine called Blazing Star. I’m still waiting for my copy to arrive in the mail. I’m excited about this article because it also includes my drawing of lobelia and this issue is the very first color print version.

A prettier kind of lobelia that grows here is the Lobelia siphilitica, or Great Blue Lobelia. This one would look nice in wildflower gardens, but they don’t do so well in drought conditions. The ones growing near the creek still look good, but these are beginning to suffer.

Droopy great blue lobelia.
Droopy great blue lobelia.

The asters always look pretty no matter how dry it gets.

Asters don't seem to mind the drought.
Asters don’t seem to mind the drought.
An asp on the asters.
An asp on the asters.

I found an interesting new to me flower on my walk this morning.

Cuphea viscosissima has purple flowers with sticky calyxes.
Cuphea viscosissima has purple flowers with sticky calyxes.
A small frail plant with purple flowers.
A small frail plant with purple flowers.
The little hairs have a sticky sap globule on the ends.
The little hairs have a sticky sap globule on the ends.

I’ve never noticed this plant here before and I’m not sure if that’s because it was never here, or because I just never noticed it. Of all the driveway flowers I normally pay attention to, this is one of the smaller ones I’ve ever noticed.

It’s only about a foot tall, and fairly frail and the flowers are small. But the entire top half of it has little sticky hairs all over it. The seeds of this plant contains an oil that is being researched for biofuel and for use in cosmetics and food.

I couldn’t find much about it on the internet, but it’s a member of the Loosestrife family. The common name is Tarweed, or Blue waxweed. It’s one I want to learn more about.

Well, that was the end of my driveway walk. After taking that last photo I hiked my way back up the hill and didn’t stop again until I reached the house.

Get in Shape with Nature- Starting out the Day Hot & Sweaty

This morning kicked off my first effort at returning to a daily walk/jog routine. It’s time to get in shape after 6 months of trying to take it easy.

Get in Shape

I can’t *really* jog yet. My knee is still testy after tearing the ACL and meniscus in April of this year. But I can slow-jog/fast-walk. That’s a pretty hilarious thing to see, I’m sure, but thankfully there is no one here to fall to the ground in laughter. I can make funny maneuvers to my heart’s content.

This morning I didn’t bring my camera so I wouldn’t be tempted to stop and take pictures. The point is to get sustained heart rate elevation. I didn’t almost step on any snakes or encounter any bears, so no excessive heart rate elevation occurred either.

I’m pretty sure I could manage to run fast if something was chasing me, but I’m not ready to test the theory.

Bears, Lions, & Snakes

There have been bears in the area, though not yet spotted on the driveway.  This one is trying to reach the deer feeder on the mountain.

Running from a bear would certainly help me get in shape! Wild Ozark Bear 2016
Running from a bear would certainly help me get in shape!

There is a big cat (either a large bobcat or a cougar) in the area too. I saw big cat tracks in the soft new dirt on the driveway yesterday. Snakes are always in the area, but rattlesnake mating season is upon us and so the rattlers are out and about.

The thing that would bother me the most about seeing any of this wildlife is the fact that my camera would be at home, sitting on the table. But then again, that might be a good thing because I’d be able to move with so much more focus on escape without it.

Good Luck!

Anyway, wish me luck in my continued effort to get back in shape. The next few days are always the hardest for me to push through. Are you working on new exercise programs or have had success with long-lasting ones?

Repairing Our Wild Ozark Spring Water Line

Today I repaired our Wild Ozark spring water line

Since I’ve learned how to do this myself, I figured I’d do it while Mr. Wild Ozark was at work. Later this summer we have plans to change out the entire spring water line and bury them, but this smaller repair needed to be done sooner rather than later.

The other day I posted about finding the leak. In that post I explained how our water is from a spring and is gravity fed to the house a few hundred feet below the source.

The hike to get up there is a rough one to me, although when I was younger it wasn’t as hard as it seems to be now. I think I’ll make this hike more often than once a year in the future. Perhaps if I do it more often it won’t be such the task when it’s a necessary hike.

Weather kept me from getting to it sooner. It’s been cold and very windy. Not my favorite kind of weather for doing anything outside. But this weekend there is icy rain in the forecast and I wanted to make sure it was done before that arrived. Today there was still ice on the ground around the leak.

If you want to enlarge these photos, just click on them and it should take you to a full sized image.
Ice all around the leak on the Wild Ozark spring water line.
Ice on the ground all around the leak.
The leak had grown a little larger since the other day, but still not too bad.
The leak had grown a little larger since the other day, but still not too bad.

I kept hiking higher to the water tank so I could shut off the valve. I also needed to cut the overflow line because it had been mangled by critters trying to get water out of it instead of drinking from the other spring a few hundred feet away.

Our 1500 gallon water collection tank.
Our 1500 gallon water collection tank.
The valve is old and brittle and hard to turn.
The valve is old and brittle and hard to turn. We’ll need to replace it soon, but I surely didn’t want that day to be today.

Now, I have figured out how to do things, but that doesn’t mean I know how to do them properly. I just know that this method works for me. Working on the spring water line is something I’ve had to do over the years fairly regularly, and most of the time it’s been during winter.

I also don’t always know the proper names for parts and tools. Ha. So you might notice that in some of my not-so-scientific terms for things, like the handy dandy little pipe saw in the picture below. Who cares what it’s really named? It works wonders. I wanted to make a cut on the part of the line I was changing out so the water would drain faster. I’d left a faucet running in the house before I went uphill, but that was taking too long to do the job.

Handy dandy pipe cutting saw.
Handy dandy little pipe cutting saw.
More cuts to drain more water more quickly.
More cuts to drain more water more quickly.

Once the spray slowed to a trickle, I used the same little saw to cut the line in half, leaving enough room to add a coupler to the end leading underground.

7. sawed end

Before putting the coupler on, though, I need to use the other cutter to make a cleaner edge on the pipe so it seals properly.

The other pipe cutter.
The other pipe cutter.
A smoother end.
A smoother end.

There’s the new line still coiled up. There are only a few places now to buy the parts we need for servicing our spring water line. Hardware stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot carry ordinary water line supplies, and they probably have the brass couplers, but not the kind of lines we use here to bring it down the mountain. The house itself has the PEX with crimp bands, but this is a thicker walled plastic that I haven’t been able to find anywhere besides our little local store.

25' of new line I bought on Monday.
25′ of new line I bought on Monday.

I’ll unroll it and hope it’s warm enough to straighten it out a little easier. When it’s cold it doesn’t want to bend too much and likes to stay coiled.

Here’s all the parts I’ll be using for this part of the project.

11. assembly of parts

13. assembly on pipe
I had to use the handle of the screwdriver like a hammer, since I forgot to bring one with me, to drive the insert down all the way. This part keeps the fitting snug and keeps it from leaking.

Then I’ll do the same thing to the new end that is getting connected to the old end.

And finally I’ll do the same thing to the other end. And then it’s done.

A finished joint between the old line and the new.
A finished joint between the old line and the new.

Ideally, the line should be buried so it doesn’t freeze and so that sunlight doesn’t weaken the plastic. But that’s something that’ll have to wait for my husband’s help. In the meantime I’ll lay it on the ground and weight it with rocks to keep it from trying to coil up again and make a loop in the air. Any part of it up in the air would be exposed to the cold more than it would be if it’s on the ground. When it snows or ices, then that snow and ice at least stays at 32*F and insulates the line from temperatures colder than that. In the zero and minus zero temps we can get sometimes, it is much harder to keep water moving. Even if I leave a faucet running with a fairly good stream in the house.

So this little project is done and I’ve gotten all the exercise I can stand for one day. I hope you enjoyed this little vicarious plumbing of the Wild Ozark spring water line 🙂

Exercising Outside on a Crispy Ozark Morning

exercising outside involves jogging and walking to the 1/2 mile to the mailbox for me.
A crispy cold morning, great for exercising outside

I did my exercising outside this morning, jog/walked to the mailbox in under 20 minutes – a milestone for me!

Exercising Outside

Feeding the critters acted as a warm-up spell, but it was still cold when I sat the bucket down and departed toward the driveway. The rest of my body warmed up pretty good with the pace, but my hands stayed cold the whole time.

I jogged downhill until I got to the first creek crossing. Then I had to pick my way over the icy rocks and made it through without getting my feet wet. Then jogged to the next creek crossing where it was a little more difficult to find a way across, but made it too without wet feet.

I like exercising outside because I get to see nature while I’m at it, but it frustrates me sometimes to not stop and get closer looks. No camera on hand to slow me down or otherwise distract. But I wish I would have had it to take a picture of the icicles on the dripping bluff.

Walked the remaining 1/4 mile at a quick pace, tapped the mailbox and turned around to head back to the house. I jogged a short distance until the uphill became too hard to keep up that pace then walked to the first creek crossing and made it through with dry feet. Slipped a bit on the second crossing and got wet shoes, but the new cross-trainers are water resistant so it was only cold, not wet.

By the time I got back up the hill to the bucket I was pretty tired, but there was one last fairly steep uphill to go. We usually take this hill in 4wd in the trucks to keep from slipping and kicking rocks with the back tires.

Made it to the steps, about a mile total, in 19 minutes and 30 seconds. Not too winded and didn’t need to collapse on the couch once inside. Whoo-hooo! I’m making progress.

Outdoor Weight Training

exercising outdoors with rocks
Here’s one of the flat rocks I laid into place.

After I recovered from my morning exercises, I later went back to the mailbox to actually check the mail. This time I used the four-wheeler. But I stopped at the second creek crossing and moved rocks around to make the floor a little smoother for the vehicles when we drive through it. I had my insulated

flat rocks in creek
Before long I had several of them placed in some of the holes left by the flood.

waterproof boots and gloves on for this.

I would have taken pictures of the icicles, too, but they had already melted. It was a lot warmer this afternoon than it was this morning, but the water was still frigid.

Now the crossing should be a little smoother. I haven’t tried it yet with a truck, but when I do if the placement wasn’t just right I’ll look for a few more rocks to put in the spots that still needs them.

driveway crossing creek
Now it looks a lot smoother.

 

 

If you like the more relaxing form of exercising in nature, you’ll probably enjoy my post on why it took me an hour to get to the mailbox and back.