I hope I don’t need a horse…

Jan 13, 2024 | 0 comments

Sydney on Sugar, 1945. Or was it Spice?

Early this morning, hunkered in my office with the space heater on full-bore, I wrote my friend Michael Lemeshko with a research question about John Briscoe — a Pacific County pioneer about whom Michael wrote his book, The Cantankerous Farmer vs. The Ilwaco Railway & Navigation Company and the rest of his neighbors on the Long Beach Peninsula.  At the end of my query, I asked,  “Is Deb’s horse wearing an overcoat or in a heated barn or do horses care?  (Deb-the-horse-owner is Michael’s wife.)

A few minutes later, the answer to my Briscoe question arrived along with this bit of information about the horse and her situation:   “Deb’s horsey, her name is Missi, is blanketed and in her stall, unheated, with 15 of her pals in a barn. A benefit of this is that the horses generate enough heat to prevent the barn pipes from freezing. Who would of thunk.”

Who’da thunk, indeed?  Which made me wonder if all the precautions my good-friend-the-plumber and I took regarding the pipes under this old house will be adequate.  Or do I need to install a horse or two in the pump room (which I think might still be the most vulnerable area.)  The problem is space.  Maybe a Shetland Pony and a Husky would fit, though highly doubtful. Right now I’m making do with a 60-watt lightbulb but perhaps a couple of warm four-footed bodies would be better.

Pump Room Light

I’ve experienced frozen pipes before.  Once in my house on the bay  and once just last winter here in this house.  Of course, it’s never the frozen part that’s a big problem — except for the lack of running water.  It’s the broken-pipes-aftermath that is enough to make you want to move to Arizona.  But only if you choose your location carefully.  Flagstaff, for instance, not so much.

Maybe I’ll relax a little with the sunrise and the outside temperatures rising.  Although… I did like those two Shetland ponies at Camp Willapa years ago.  Sugar and Spice were their names.  They were headstrong as I remember, but even as a skinny little seven-or-eight-year-old, I could out-stubborn them.   I do hope it doesn’t come to testing my patience and strength with their descendants all these years later.



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