Thursday, December 16, 2010


This morning I woke up to the sound of rain! Loud pouring rain that almost soothed me back to sleep, but then I was so excited to see that the snow may be melting I had to sit up in the bed I made in my loft, to look down to the windows. Only....
there was no rain!
I started my way down the ladder, with even more excitement thinking, OH YES my pipes have defrosted and I have running water again for the first time in 2 weeks!!!!!!!
when I got down the ladder to my horror my cabin was flooding, with all the water I had wished for everyday. I had my wish, but it was pouring out with force by the gallon onto the floor from underneath the sink somewhere. I pulled out my stove as fast as i could to get a better look only to see the stupid sediment filter had cracked to pieces! Because it has been so COLD in my cabin (without having insulation yet) that not only did my plants melt and die, the water had froze in my tub to ice, but now my filter had cracked and was spewing all over.
I ran outside, slip sliding through slushy snow, scampering under my house to find the shut off valve - which i assumed would be right at the water source before it comes into the cabin... but...
it wasn't there. No. Shut. Off. Valve!
I began ripping plastic vapor barrier off the under side of the cabin only to be deluged in waterfalls of water that had been filling up in the plastic, water down my sleeves and on my face, wetting my hair - while cramped under the cabin. No. shut. off. valve.
I ran back inside, tried dumping buckets, but it would fill faster then I could ever dump. I ran my hands along the pipe lines feelings for something, anything that could save me.
I went back under the house to poke holes in the vapor barrier only to slip and hit my hand on a rock and cut myself. Open cut, bleeding. Grrrrrrrrr!
it's times like this i realize, i am alone out here. Water is pouring everywhere, coming right through the siding of my cabin, dripping out the outside wall. Just the day before I was punching icicles off the Luck Cabin and cursing the bad winter, begging the universe that be to PLZ melt this shit. OK, so i didn't mean quite like that!
I went inside to look at the pouring filter, to write down what size & type it was, since it was obvious a new filter case would be a possible answer to this bullshit moment (not a good solution, just A solution). I have to say I never really liked the idea of a filter, I find that EVERYTHING that is more advanced, everything that is dependent on the system, everything similar to things like filters causes more problems in the end. I cursed the filter, and decided my gall bladder can be my water filter.
while getting soaked under there, i put my hand underneath the sediment filter and.. FELT THE SHUT OFF VALVE!!!!!!!!! hiding!!!!!!!!
Turned off the water.
Lessons :
  • Pex piping still didnt break or come apart in the bad sub zero weather and was good! Pex RULES!
  • Cabin needs insulation or this is totally insane
  • Filters mean more money, more problems, more environmental waste and break easily in the cold (AKA, i am removing the filter.)
  • Gravity fed spring water.... needs proper shut off valve somewhere OUTSIDE cause you can't stop the water flow. Also,the water keeps on flowing during sub zero weather which is good. I think the shut off should always be right at the very beginning of the pipes that are going to the house, right where the water comes up out the ground.
  • No matter how much you prepare, shit happens. It is life.




Kittie Howard said...

OMG! What a mess! But you kept your cool (no pun intended) and efficiently dealt with the problem. Girl, you gotta get some insulation. We're in for a tough winter. As I recall, last winter you were snowed in for a bit. Now, now, don't make me worry (I'm very good at that!)

Anyway, we're leaving Sat a.m. for LA...can't wait! But, from our house to yours, hub and I wish you a joyous holiday season and a Happy New Year!

jason said...

Sorry you had to deal with this. Hope things get a little easier for you soon.

Liberty said...

holy crap Leslie!
what an ordeal!
I somehow totally missed the fact that you had o insulation! I didn't realise that at all.
now I better understand just how cold it could be getting for you in there.

I REALLY hope this was the last ordeal you have to go through this year (or ever :).

have you looked into the temporary quick fix of stacking straw bales (not the round kind - the blocky ones) all around your house and fixing in place with LONG lengths of rope?
not sure if you can tolerate hay straw.
and you'd still lose so, so much heat through an uninsulated roof.
and I don't know how risky it would be re: fire if the bales were not encased in snow.
bales may also be an option for making the barn warmer. that is one place I've heard of them being used. though it is very inviting to rodents.
also, a cool story of a person insulating an existing house with straw bales on the outside and then stuccoing:

Wild Canary said...

You describe our lives so well!
What a mess and you stuck with it until it was done, instead of sinking into a hopeless puddle.
Hoping the cut won't be too serious as I have found that when I cut myself in the cold, it heals faster??? don't know why.
Best of all wishes for warmer, dryer times.

Everett said...

WOW... that's one of those stories that will make a good intro to a book. It only gets easier from here right?

Word of advice though: Make it a diverter valve instead of a shut off valve if you're going to put it outside by the source. If you "shut off" a spring it can back up and WILL find another way out. If that happens your spring may be gone. Dead. So let the water flow, just divert it from your cabin.

Good luck!

pex said...

That's crazy. At least everyone turned out more or less ok.