It was a rough day of issues related to country living; a water filtration malfunction in the most epic way, then spectacular rescue from my neighbors to help cap the water pipe and fix the generator, prep for the storm and cleanup the shattered tree limbs from the storm two days prior--I’m rethinking my winter plans.
The glass biolight sleeve had shattered inside the UV casing, shooting broken glass into the water system, and as I squatted in the shed, temperatures dropping outside, with my hands clamped over the pipe trying to keep the glass from entering the pipe system into the house—I realized many of the issues I’m cleaning up now could have been prevented with regular maintenance that I’d deprioritized during the push to get projects out and contractors settled.
In my panic in the moment, I forgot to reach for the shutoff valve for a whole thirty seconds.
My neighbors are amazing. Once I remembered the shutoff valve, then scrambled for a bucket to try to flush the system I’d managed to contain and capture the remaining glass—I ran to my neighbor to see if they had a 1” compression cap I could borrow to seal off the UV casing and bypass the biolight system until I can order a new glass sleeve. Both my neighbors rushed in ready to help stop the mess from getting worse. I wouldn’t have running water today without them. As it is, I’ll be drinking bottled water until after the hard freeze when I can flush the full system and do a hard reset on the filters and light just to make sure there’s no glass. (Also, bypassing the biolight means whatever comes out of the tap is basically straight river water from a very shallow aquifer—No drinky.)
The first storm that came through dropped a bunch of limbs from the 150-year-old Douglas fir, and shattered my favorite ceramic pots on the deck. Along with rattling the whole house and blowing my tarps all over the yard, the storm flooded the creek and pushed sizable debris around. It also dropped a tree in my neighbor’s yard.
Long story short, this is all just part of living so far off the beaten path. These are the daily issues. Much of which could have been prevented if I had been on my game, but I was not. That sleeve in the biolight system should have been pulled and washed when I shocked the well back in November, but I told myself it could wait a minute. So many other urgent things to tackle first. And now it’s a much bigger problem.
So new winter plans include re-setting the property so I can focus more freely. Yes, winter is my writing and building season—but if my cottage is falling down around my ears, I won’t be able to focus. The to-do list is significant. Basically, everything that wasn’t a top priority for the last 18 months needs to be prioritized over next six weeks. This will also free up some worry around the need to travel to LA and know the house is safe and well-tended while I’m gone. Also, I won’t ask the house-sitter to drink bottled water—the whole water system needs to be redone, flushed, and reset prior to having a sitter.
Plucking a sliver of glass from my hand today before sitting down to write was that moment of—I’m not sure this setup is working anymore. To be able to jump back and forth freely from the woods to the city, I’m going to need a more automated setup and system of upkeep. I don’t have one in place because I hadn’t seen that far ahead. So, now is the time.
This space needs to be a retreat, a safe place to return, write, produce and build (and recover) without interruptions between meetings and events in California. I’m sure everyone has a system to help maintain their sanity during those pushes. Thus, this space will need a reorg and a plan in place for it to run more efficiently and be that kind of safety net spot—at least for a while.
Meanwhile, the ice front is moving in. I’ve got the firewood prepped, the blankets piled up, and the laptop charged for writing. See you all on the other side.
The ice front moved in. Despite putting a heater on the water system, the pump still froze. So, it’s a good thing I had prepped with bottled water. Oye. Meanwhile two days of below freezing temps and I managed to get much of my re-write list knocked down and a bit of the studio organized. Huzzah!
Athena lives and writes in the Siuslaw Forest, Oregon.