Staycation with a fire and a pickaxe

Well I am reminded why I don’t take many vacations. Rarely, if ever, but I thought I would take the 4th of July week off on vacation to get some painting done. Best laid plans they say…

This is Thursday, day 6 of my staycation and I haven’t picked up a paint brush except to purchase a few at the local Home Depot. Instead I accomplished very little  in the last 5 days. It doesn’t mean I haven’t been working. It just means I’m not making a lot of progress. So this is how my staycation began:

Woke Saturday morning with plans to have a brief visit with a friend then begin my painting. My visitor was due to arrive so I went upstairs to open some windows and get a good breeze going through the house. Upon looking out the window I was opening, I thought I saw smoke in the paddock of the stable. Maybe it was just dust being stirred up by the horse, except she wasn’t in the paddock. Yep, that was smoke. This was around 7:00 a.m. and I hadn’t had any coffee as of yet, but you wouldn’t have known it as I headed down the stairs at a brisk run, and yelled at Lynn to get up there was a fire at the stable.

Out the door I went to assess the situation. There were no flames but a black patch of smoldering dried grass. I immediately saw a couple of extension cords leading from the irrigation pump to the stable had overheated and sparks had started the fire. It appeared to have been smoldering for awhile. So first thing I had to do was make sure the cords were unplugged, I didn’t want to hit live wires with water.

That being done now I had to find a hose. Tried one that was closest to the fire, and it had more leaks than a colander. So I had to run and grab one from the back pasture – one of the new 100′ ones we just bought. Grabbing it through the fence and taking it off the spigot, I accidently touched my forehead to the electric fence wire. That jolted me awake. Then dragging it about 100 feet to hook up to the closer water supply, was my workout for the month. I proceed to douse the smoldering grass with the help of my new neighbors. In short order, the grass was doused with water and I was boiling mad.

Charred Grass.
Smoldering fire doused.

I was mad at myself and at Lynn. Let me explain. He has been using extension cords to get power to the pump (about 150′ from the power source) for appx. 30 years, and he’s never had a problem until now. Those were his exact words when this spring I tried to get him to bury an electric line up to the shop. These were cords that ran in front of the paddocks and the horse/horses walked back and forth over them for 17 of those 30 years. He said nothing ever happened, but he isn’t looking at all the times they have been unplugged by the horses and the pump had to be primed and restarted. He has selective memory syndrome.

I blame myself, because I thought I had found a solution by having him plug them into the stable, therefore rerouting the cords so the horses couldn’t step on them, when he would not let me dig the trench to bury the line. I don’t like arguing so he usually gets his way. Until I really get ticked, which is where I was this particular morning.

Digging in the early spring would have been so much easier as the ground was soft and wet. Now, not so much. So we (I) came up with a plan, I was going to call an electrician and have them come out and do it right. Upon more thinking about costs; waterlines not being mapped when he ran them for the house, we worried about hitting those, and I didn’t think we would be able to get an electrician for at least a couple of weeks, and we needed the pump going or we would loose the pastures. I do real well at talking myself out of things. So I became a trencher.

I have spent the last 4 days digging in the hard ground trying to dig a trench. A 150′ foot trench. Thought about renting a trencher, but I didn’t think I could handle one. I’m 66 years old and a pickaxe is about as dangerous as I want to get.

Then we headed to Home Depot to get conduit to bury real electrical wire and hook it up to the service with a breaker that would actually trip if all wasn’t well. A novel idea… do it the right way! Oh, and I picked up a few paint brushes, if I get that far this week.

I was talking to a friend of mine, that said why don’t you hire some young strong boys to do the digging. You know, this is going to sound stupid, but I never thought of that. I am so used to doing things myself, that that never occurred to me. I mentioned this to Lynn, and he wasn’t for that idea either. Ugh, now I remember why I never thought of that, Lynn never wants to let anyone else help. If he can’t do it, then the only other person who can, is me. He’s anti-social besides being pig-headed, but what can you do, he’s too old to re-train. (Wow, I feel better since I got that out there). Oh and he never reads my blogs. He he. 🙂

Trench from the pump to the shop.
Gotta dig it deeper
Yep, those are throwaways.

Hoping that I can get this done in time to go back to work on Monday. I like work, it’s predictable, and I get to drink a cup of coffee before I have to dig right in. Pun intended.

Stay tuned and I will let you know how this adventure turns out.

Annie, the reluctant trencher