Cold Weather Brain Freeze

We have enjoyed a long, and very warm, autumn season here in Oklahoma. As a matter of fact, I was still getting a few tomatoes in early November and my herbs were still flourishing. During November, my lettuce patch finally went to seed, but not until I was able to harvest a second crop of greens for the year. Since we had not had much late summer rain, I was still watering what was left in the gardens and some of the new landscaping plants I had put in. Oddly, I even had to mow the slope and a few patches around the yard where grass was still coming up. The extended warm weather also made me feel a bit sorry for Emma and Ronnie deer when I found them panting many afternoons. Their thick, dark brown winter coats had begun coming in way back in September, and I knew it had to be awfully hot in seventy and eighty degree temperatures. Thankfully, late in the month, the temperatures dropped into the fifties and sixties, finally making everyone a little more comfortable.

By the first part of December, our nighttime temperatures were at or below freezing many nights. Having grown up in Nebraska, I was always a bit excited to prepare for winter weather, and I had already rolled up hoses and put the mowers and garden tools away for the season. FD purchased straw for bedding in the chicken barn and added a couple of bales to cast around the deer pen as bedding for Emma and Ronnie deer. I dragged out an old water barrel to use as a winter stock tank for the deer. We had used this tub for Daisy deer when she was little because it was deep enough to drop a submersible stock tank heater into the bottom to keep the water from freezing. However, when I took the heating device from the box I stored it in, I realized a mouse or rat had chewed up the protective coil around the electrical cord. So that evening, FD replaced the damaged plastic with some new flexible cable cover and secured it around the cord with zip ties. But, after only one day in the stock tank, I could see that was not going to work. Emma is a terrible snoop, and has to nibble at or eat everything she can get her mouth on. So I removed the old stock tank heater and put it down in the wildlife water tub down below the slope. Fortunately, over the last four years, none of the local wildlife has attempted to bother the heater or the electrical cord I have strung down the slope to the water tub. But with snoopy miss Emma set to be wild and free in just a few short weeks, that record, along with the submersible heater, may soon be blown out of the water…

A mouse or rat chewed up the protective outer cord covering.
A mouse or rat chewed up the protective outer cord covering.

With this turn of events, FD and I would have to go to plan B, which we did not have. Oh well, we needed to make a trip to a nearby town to pick up our new eyeglasses anyway. Surely we could come up with something at one of the four farm stores in the area. There, we felt certain one of them would have a small stock tank heater with a better design to protect the cord from Emma’s investigative lips and teeth. So after work the next day, FD picked me up and we headed off to the optometrist – optimistic we would find our plan B. After a brief visit at the eye shop and feeling a little elated over being able to see well again, we ventured on to the first farm store to see what we could find. Almost immediately, we discovered the answer to our problem! A big, green 16 gallon water bucket with a replaceable heating element built in to the bottom – and the electrical cord came out of the bottom at the back of the bucket! This design would allow us to run the cord right under the deer fencing and Emma would never be able to reach it, let alone see it. Feeling very excited about finding just what we needed at about the same price as a submersible heating unit, we practically danced out of the store!

We reveled in our success, cheering ourselves all the way to our car. And then reality hit as we both realized that, on top of not even having a plan B, we had suffered a brain-freeze moment when we set out to find our plan B. Yes, it was the car. FD’s little two-seater, convertible car. I immediately, and half jokingly, said there was no way I was riding in the trunk if the bucket would not fit – and we both knew it was not likely to fit. But FD, being the eternal optimist, said, “Oh, it’ll probably fit”. But no, no it did not. So I settled into the passenger seat and flattened my legs out as best I could while FD placed the bucket, very carefully, in my lap. That bucket I was so proud about earlier, took up the entire passenger space. To top it off, after traveling only a block down the street, FD had the nerve to reach over and push the bucket even further back into my gut to get it away from the dash because it was rubbing the leather. I said, “Are you kidding me?” How could this ride get any more uncomfortable? At least I could see over the bucket enough to see where we were going, but it was quite mortifying whenever we passed another vehicle. There I was – the crazy woman riding in a convertible sports car with a big, green bucket in my lap. And I knew what they were all thinking – “Who, in their right mind, would buy something that big and barely have room to transport it home?” So, we laughed all the way home where, upon arrival, my legs were numb and my back felt wonky from sitting in an awkward position for so many miles.

My lap companion all the way home!
My lap companion all the way home!
My view over the bucket. At least the sky was beautiful driving home that evening.
My view over the bucket. At least the sky was beautiful driving home that evening.

Once we had the bucket in place, filled with water, and plugged in, Emma was the first to check it out, licking and nibbling and sniffing. Ronnie, being a guy, just went over to have a drink. I am quite proud of that bucket. It was a sensible and practical solution to our problem with Emma. But that bucket will also always be a reminder of the brain freeze we had that day, and of my embarrassment at being the woman in the little blue convertible – with the big, green bucket in her lap!

© 2016 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


29 thoughts on “Cold Weather Brain Freeze

  1. Wow, Lori you and FD were very lucky to “find” that big green bucket and it was ever so fortunate that it fit in your lap. 🙂 But I’m relieved to know that you won’t need to carry water to the deer pen first thing in the morning and several times a day. It’s a lot less work to have those heaters for your watering devices.

    It sure does sound cold where you live. Temps here have dropped to 29 or 30 degrees, maybe 2-3 times thus far this fall.

    Oh and the pic of you is really good. You are happy and sitting pretty in more ways than one. 🙂

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    1. Aw thanks, Yvonne. It generally isn’t bad here in the winter, but this year that arctic “blue northerly” is hurtling down south. We will manage fine, but lots of folks won’t be prepared. We haven’t had temps this low in three years, and it was a long stretch before that.
      FD and I have many things to be happy about. It’s been a good year for us. And we celebrate our 16th anniversary on New Year’s Eve this year. I look forward to working in the pecan orchard this winter, and setting Emma and Ronnie free in a month… so much to look forward to. 🙂

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      1. Lest I forget, happy 16th anniversary. December 31st is my son’s birthday. He’ll be 51 and I thank God for his life and his return to his former self after his accident that occurred New Years Day 20 minutes or so past midnight.

        You and FD stay warm and well.

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        1. Thank you, Yvonne. I am so glad to hear your son continues to improve and heal. You had a big part in helping him along. It has to feel very wonderful to help him celebrate his birthday this year.
          You keep warm too… I think the whole nation will get a taste of this “Siberian Express”!!

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  2. I hate it when we need a plan ‘B’ and don’t have one. Those funny moments in life are among the best to remember. We need to not take ourselves so seriously sometimes. Great outcome and I love the short haircut!

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    1. FD and I sure had a good laugh all of the way home! That bucket has been wonderful for me. Easy to clean and refill compared to a larger tub that was difficult to clean and move. And the fact that Miss Emma won’t be destroying it is so important. Thank you about the hair – it is the shortest it’s ever been and I love it! Outdoor work is so much more pleasant without hair in the way!

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    1. Ha ha! Well good! We seem to have a lot of laughs around here. For the snow, go to “WP Admin”, then “Dashboard”, then “Settings”, then “General”, scroll down to “Snow” and check the box. It will start snowing on your blog every year (I think around the end of November or 1st of December). I always find it a pleasant surprise when it starts!

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  3. What a great story to start my morning off laughing. How many miles did you have to drive?

    BTW, I love your hair style.

    We are preparing for a major winter storm here in Minnesota with up to 10 inches of snow predicted along with high winds and plunging temps. Remind you of Nebraska?

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    1. Ha ha!! Yes, Audrey… I think of you and Cecilia a LOT lately. Totally reminds me of Nebraska. I spoke with my baby sister yesterday and said I just didn’t know how any of them dealt with the cold as they got older. Her response, “Well NOBODY likes it, but we live here and deal with it”. Ha ha.
      We only had to go 23 miles to home, but there were plenty of looks along the way. It sure made us laugh. Thanks about the hair. This is the shortest I’ve ever gone and I wish now I’d done it years ago. It feels great and it was wonderful in the heat this summer. Who knew all of that heavy, thick glorious-ness could be such a burden? Ha ha!! And I have some great ear flap hats to get me through the winter. I never had a clue how our hair keeps faces, necks and ears warm!

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  4. Hi Lori, When I read about the difficulty of fitting the bucket in the car, I thought ‘get rid of the toy car.’ However as the sports car is probably FD’s pride and joy, that is never going to happen. Good luck with a smooth release for Ronnie and Emma.

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    1. Ha ha! You’ve got that right, Margaret! It’s an older model car that he picked up for a song last year and is mainly used to get to work and back. Of course our intention that evening was to find a better model heater (which are small devices smaller in size than a dinner plate) and not a giant bucket! I will take all of the well wishes I can get for Emma and Ronnie’s release in a month. I will, of course, try to have video and photographs of the event! 🙂

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  5. Really got a laugh with the bucket carry. I can’t tellyou how many times I’ve ridden like that when we were in the little mustang out for a ride, but found something we’d been looking for, bought it without thinking about transporting. Creative people thrive!

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    1. Indeed!! I am quite sure we’ve all had this experience. In NYC many years ago I bought a book at Strand Bookstore – a book I had not been able to find anywhere! I was so elated to find this book that I did not consider I was dozens of blocks from the hotel, and still had a lot of sightseeing to do – in the cold and snow!! That book became quite the albatross for me I can tell you. I even had to get creative packing it for the trip home (it was large and heavy). I gave it to a niece recently… I think she was more enthralled about the story of how I acquired the book than the book itself!! ha ha

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  6. Oh heck, Lori, if it had been me, well, I would have just been beaming that we figured it out and didn’t have to drive back home for the truck! So, where’s the picture of you in the new glasses? 😀

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    1. I think we’ve all had an experience like that… and usually figure it out on spot! There is always a solution. Oh, they’re just reading glasses. I have monovision and my close up eye actually improved quite a bit this last time. I’m giving credit to our healthy way of life!

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  7. Ha ha. Worth all the trouble in the end. I smiled when I saw your picture. We now have the same haircuts! I was nervous to do it, but now I love it. And it will sure make going all gray a lot less traumatic. 😉

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    1. I quit coloring my hair years ago. It’s kind of a calico now – grey, a few silver streaks, brown, with blonde highlights in summer. I should have gone short like this a long time ago. I had no idea how heavy and hot my longer hair was. It is much quicker to dry, style and go! Messy looks good too. 🙂

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