I returned home on Thursday. In true Zeiger Homestead fashion, I arrived in town in the early afternoon, but because of an evening event at Aly’s work, and a late crossing tide, I wasn’t able to really reach home till after dinner in the evening. Since my return, I’ve become a bit water-obsessed.
The cabin’s water pipes froze sometime in the first week of my trip away (see Going Into Stall Mode). Other than brief morning stoppages in the winter, this is the first time the system has frozen for more than an hour at most since about 10 years ago. A prolonged cold snap coming when we had no snow cover to insulate the ground stopped water to the cabin. This is especially rare, as pipe freezing normally comes after a thaw, when the cold gets driven deeper underground, where pipes can freeze and even burst.
Running water has always set us apart from the truly hardy off-gridders, in my mind. The luxury of a water system makes our life far more comfortable, despite rare interruptions (see Fresh Water: Collecting and Conserving a Precious Resource). Without it, life becomes considerably more complicated.
Michelle handled the hardest jobs on her own while Aly and I were gone. She sought out frozen ground seeps from which to break and melt ice; she hauled water from a roadside spring in 5-gallon jugs (about 40 pounds per load) before purchasing a 2.5-gallon jug to make the chore easier; she insulated the cabin windows and temporarily skirted the space under the cabin to conserve warmth. Once snow began to fall again, she gathered it to melt for water.
Alone, she did well. She continued to do just fine after I returned home—but I went off the deep end a bit.
I harvested snow at an almost feverish pace, and planned to haul water in addition to the luggage from the trip. Michelle has had to reign me in a bit. She realizes what I have trouble facing: while we need water, we don’t need to horde it!
I’m calming down a bit, slowing my acquisition, adjusting to living in a dry cabin. The several feet of snow we have may help minimize complications as the weather warms later this week. Hopefully, the ice plug in the lines will melt, and we’ll have our running water back in a few days.
If not, Michelle may kick me out of the house!