Well, we survived the Great Freeze of 2021, barely. I have to admit that I was one of the lucky ones after reading and hearing horror stories from my neighbors of what they went through and the after affects. For me, I never did lose electricity or heat although my heating system had to work very hard to keep up. Even then, it was not working at full capacity but it did blow out enough hot air to keep us from freezing. The warmest place was in bed under the covers with extra blankets thrown on and that is where me and the dogs went early in the evenings. The dogs are both like little, live hot water bottles and the three of us cuddled together for most of the night.
Our biggest problem was lack of running water for both drinking and flushing the toilet. I resorted to taking advantage of the great outdoors as much as possible and collecting water out of the ponds when having to flush became an absolute necessity. In my earlier blogs, I relate as to the good nature of my neighbors who not only kept checking on me but also provide food and bottled water. When it did start to thaw, I collected water in buckets for the same use. Eventually, after more than a week, the water was turned back on and we returned to some form of normality. I was very fortunate that at least in the house, the freeze did not break any pipes which is kind of surprising as I know the cold water pipe froze to the kitchen sink that is on an outside wall. For that, I am very grateful as it would be a very difficult repair.
However, outside in the ponds was a whole different story. Even though I had covered all of the exposed PVC pipe most of which is also insulated, the frost was so sever that it broke the pipe in several places especially where it was attached to faucets. There were two chlorine filters installed in-line and both of those froze. I spent most of the last two days working on repairs and still have more to do. I have an older above ground pump that is attached to one of the Aquadyne filters. This pump is made of cast iron and is at least 35 years old having previously served as a water pump when I lived out in Hazy Hills which was prior to 1985. I don’t think it has any plastic components in it but the frost has split the metal casing. I might be able to get it welded or brazed enough to hold water the water pressure. Here’s hoping as I really don’t want to spend $350:00 on a new pump seeing as how I am selling the property.
As for the vegetation, there is very little left standing in the yard and it will be a project to cut everything down and haul it off. Maybe, I will get my Landscaper to do that part. It is difficult to know just how much Mother Nature can recover and what is totally dead and what is just damaged and will regrow. In the ponds themselves, everything has been knocked down and is a frozen mess. Pond plants turn to mush if left in the water when they die and also create an awful stink as they rot. Not good for either the fish or the humans. The only way to clean that up is to get in the pond and cut it all back and with the water still very cold, an unenviable task indeed. To make matters worse, I already know that my waders have sprung a leak from the last time I used them and I sure don’t want to buy a new set as I previously mentioned that I am selling the house. Guess I will just have to bite the bullet and put up with getting wet and cold feet.
The ice also played havoc with many branches on several different Live Oak trees. Some I have cleaned up but a few are still on the ground and again, I will get my Landscape contractor to take care of. There are several that have broke and are still attached requiring tree climbing experts to cut them down. One large one is over one of the ponds. All in all, at least a couple of thousand dollars worth of damage, probably more.
From my perspective, all of this could not come at a worse time knowing that I am selling the house. I could just leave it for the new owners but that wouldn’t be the proper thing to do and would certainly not show the house to its best advantage. On the bright side, I drove out to Henly to check on the Eagle, my RV and changed out both propane tanks and hooked up the water. Nothing appears to be leaking and everything is working as far as I can tell so I can’t ask for more than that. Well maybe I can hope that we will be making the move pretty soon as I am really looking forward to it.
Such is life in Texas following the big storm February, 2021
For related stories of my neighbors, follow the previous links in the column to the right.
Don’t forget to check out the other blog with more fish stories at https://www.pondblog2011.com