Posts Tagged ‘stock tank’

It’s true – Hubby and I have had another hot and steamy date night at the ranch and I know you just can’t hardly wait to hear what wildly romantic things we did.

Picture it… Sunday… late afternoon.  I had been working in the tree strip – trimming out dead branches, pulling weeds and generally trying to get things cleaned up like I do every spring.  Yes, I realize it is nearly the end of summer but I figure instead of looking at is as being 4 months behind I will look at it as being 9 months ahead of schedule.  That sounds so much better – doesn’t it?  Anyway I had been working outside most of the day.  I was hot and sweaty and smelled almost as bad as I looked when Hubby asked me to go for a ride with him.  My buddy Kathy once told me that her Mama had given her a small piece of advice on how to keep your marriage together if you ever decide to marry a farmer or rancher.  Her advice was simple but good:

 “Every time he asks you to go somewhere, drop whatever you’re doing and go.” 

So with that in mind I jumped into the pickup and was ready for adventure.  I was pretty sure we weren’t going off the ranch because he didn’t seem to mind how bad I looked or smelled for that matter.  I soon realized none of that would matter.

We pulled up beside a flat-bed trailer loaded to overflowing with a mixture of pickup parts (such as a very large engine – complete with transmission and drive line attached and 3 axles – complete with wheels and tires).  Heck – with a load like that we could have gone down to the scrap pile and found enough old parts to build a complete pickup and still have an axle to spare. 

On top of the trailer full of ‘parts’ was a very large and very heavy stock tank which we needed to load onto the back of the pickup and haul to the School Section pasture.  Now, I don’t know about you but I’m not exactly the type of gal who spends her days in the gym lifting weights or doing chin ups so I’m not really sure what could have possibly given Hubby the impression I could actually lift my half of this tank but after much straining, groaning and cussing we did manage to get it worked off the trailer and onto the back of the pickup where it stuck out about 2 feet on either side and another 3 feet beyond the tailgate.  Of course Hubby left me there holding the back-end of the tank in place as he found an old weathered landscape timber that was just barely long enough to lay across the back of the pickup for the tank sides to rest on.   One tie down strap, 3 bungee cords and a rope later it was tied down sufficiently to make it the 2 miles to the pasture. 

We took off, moving slowly so we didn’t lose our load because I, for one, didn’t want to have to reload it.  We only passed one car on the drive.  It was our neighbor, Ellen who thought nothing of our unusual and over-width load.  She just smiled, waved, dodged off the road and bounced down the ditch to avoid the tank and never even slowed down to call the cops.  From her lack of concern I would venture a guess that stuff like this has happened to her too – being married to John I have no doubt… 

I am glad to say we made it to the pasture just fine with only having to stop once to readjust the tank. 

As soon as Hubby mentioned the School Section I knew that we would be setting this tank down in the bottom of a ravine – after all – that’s where the spring is that runs water most of the time and really, what good is a tank if you don’t have water?  One thing I didn’t know was that the road down into the ravine had washed out so we would be lowering the tank down the rocky side from above.  Here’s a photo from the top looking down on the full tank that was already there.  You can also see the remains of two other tanks to the upper right of the full one.  The bottoms of both of those tanks are gone and only the sides remain.

I’m not sure how deep this ravine is but I would guess about 20 to 25 feet.  Thankfully, it’s not straight down even though it looks it from here so I was able to slowly play out rope around the ball hitch on the back of the pickup while Hubby shoved the tank over the side.

Here’s the tank about half way to the bottom after it got hung up on some of the rocks and shrubs.

 Time to load up and drive around to what’s left of the road but first I would like to point out the old cedar post against the back tire of the pickup.  Hubby almost got choked up when he saw it because before his father passed away Bud would sometimes have to haul water over to the cattle if it got dry and the spring stopped running.  He would load a huge water tank (several thousand gallons) onto the back of the old stock truck and fill it with water.  Now the stock truck was new (back in 1964) so as you can imagine things have gotten a little worn out and the old girl has gotten a little ‘loose in her joints’ – so to speak.  But Bud had nerves of steel and he would back that big old truck loaded with a couple of tons of water down to the edge of the ledge where this old post laid.  When his dual tires would bump against that post he knew it was time to set the brake and park it so he could hook up the water line that ran down into the tank.  Now that wouldn’t be so bad if the ground was level but scroll back up to check out that first photo I posted to see what kind of slope there is at the top.  I was holding the camera level when I took that picture.

Scary, isn’t it.  And that was in a pickup with good brakes!

 Anyway we drove around to the other side of the tank and hiked down along what used to be the road. 


 There’s the new tank – stuck half-way down the wall.  From this angle it almost looks like it’s perched on top of that post – but it’s not.  As our boys would say – we had to ‘get Western’ with it and pulled it down of the rocks and out of the bushes.

Then we slid it next to the full tank and joined them together with a hose.

Wha-Laa, we had water.

I asked Hubby if he wanted to go skinny dipping in our new Cowboy Hot Tub but he just looked at me like:

“What are you, crazy?  There ain’t no water.  Well shame on you!”

Quick – name that movie…

It was filmed in Australia and stars Tom Selleck and Laura San Giacomo (of Pretty Woman) who played Crazy Cora and stole the show because she is a wonderful actress and she also got all the really good lines…

Yep – Quigley Down Under – my all-time favorite movie and when he rides off into the sunset and stops to look back at her I just melt into my cowboy boots every time…  Ahhhhh

 But back to the tank.

 Hubby wouldn’t go skinny dipping with me (probably because I had a camera clutched in my grubby little paws) but he did take a few minutes to sit and enjoy the peace and quiet while I kicked off my boots and soaked my feet in the cold spring water. 

Then it was back to the tree strip after another adventure-packed, gut-grueling date with my Honey.

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Friday night I came home to a problem – no running water in the house.  This is bad.  Water is something we’ve gotten rather used to.  I guess, technically, we still have water.  It’s falling from the sky so we’re not quite as bad off as some and I guess I can always wash my face in the bird bath – I don’t think the birds would mind too much – as long as I fill the feeder while I’m out there.

But thank goodness I didn’t have to upset the birds.  Hubby discovered what the problem was – a leak in the pressure tank that had sprayed water all over the electrical stuff down in the well pit.  Since water and electricity are not very friendly to each other the breakers had tripped (like they are supposed to) and shut everything down. 

So early Saturday morning we made some calls and found a new pressure tank at the hardware store 16 miles away and I made a quick trip to town and brought home a shiny new red pressure tank.  Just like our last ‘date night’ (remember the ball joint on the Ford pickup) Hubby and I got to spend some quality time together fixing the plumbing. 

Pretty darn romantic isn’t it? 


Here’s my man in the pit – yes, it’s a hole in the ground and in the summer you might find salamanders down there sometimes but luckily no snakes so far.  

After a quick switch-er-oo life is good once again and we have water.

And the girls are just as pleased as we are – look at them. 


They came running as soon as we pulled up to the well pit – which just happens to be beside one of the stock tanks – where the girls hang around and visit. 


“Gertie – don’t be such an old ‘water buffalo’.  It’s my turn!”

Cattle are actually very curious creatures.  They were bunched up pretty close – checking out the pickups, the well pit, and especially the stock tank because the water was getting low there too.  You see, when we don’t have water in the house – they don’t have water in the tank. 

They don’t like it either.


“I need a drink – a tall, cold one.”

Everybody on the place starts to get a little antsy when that happens.


“Move aside Missy – I’m next.”

But even more amazing than running water – check out what I saw in the tank as I was checking for running water.


That’s a Koi (goldfish) in the stock tank.  If I remember right – 3 summers ago I had a small tank set up in the garden because I love goldfish and every garden should have some – right?  Well things went good all summer but when it started to turn cold in the fall I had to drain the tank or it would freeze solid and split out.  I have owned several aquariums over the years but that fall the only ones we had both had small leaks so I filled them with plants instead. 

So what where we going to do with the Koi fish?   That was the question.  Hubby came up with a great idea, he suggested we throw them into one of the stock tanks.  These tanks are not heated in the winter but they are built from huge old tires off of heavy equipment and if you build them right – the water rarely freezes.  First, you lay down the big tire, cut a hole (for the cattle and horses and wildlife to drink from) on the top edge of one side, fill the center hole on the bottom of the tire with bentonite (a mineral that is heavy and gets really slimy when wet and will pretty much seal off the water from escaping into the ground.  Then you set up a float system so the water shuts off automatically when the tank is full (like in the back of a toilet), cover the center hole on the top of the tire with lumber and bury as much of the tank with dirt as you can while leaving the spot open for the cattle to drink.  Pretty simple. 

I wasn’t sure if the fish would survive but at least they would have a chance so we set them free in their new stock tank and pretty much forgot about them.  The next spring I asked Hubby if he had ever seen the fish through the winter and he just shook his head and we figured they were gone.  If the cold hadn’t got them probably a snake or something else had.  So we pretty much wrote them off – at least until Saturday morning when this little guy swam right out and said hello.  He’s gotten a lot bigger then when we put him in and he’s kind of pretty thing.  I think we’ll name him Spot.  I’m not sure if the second one is still in there but we just might have to figure out a way to catch them.  Maybe it’s time for another tank in the garden. 

 I still love goldfish!!!

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As we left our soggy rodent friend yesterday he had just escaped a watery death at the hands of his arch nemesis (I always wanted to say that) and our hero Hubby.

Houdini had scurried around the rim of the stock tank – no easy feat in itself, narrowly missed being smacked by a wildly swung shovel, raced through the garden to a small opening in the garage and disappeared in the cool, dark shadows within.

No amount of cussing, screaming or digging through the accumulation of boxes, spare parts and who know what else was in the garage produced hide nor hair of the rodent. 

Houdini had vanished once again – and in the process, he had discovered a new and exciting kingdom.

This is the real Harry Houdini – what an inspiration to our rodent friend.


We neither saw Houdini nor any sign of him for a couple of weeks and probably would have forgotten all bout him – allowing him to live out his days in peace if it hadn’t been for Houdini’s bad habits. 

Suddenly, Grandpa’s car started having problems.  Nothing big – just little things like the heater had quit working and the lights on the dash weren’t quite right.  Could it be that Houdini hadn’t ridden off into the sunset like we had hoped.  Had he had moved into Grandpa’s car and begun feasting on the wiring?


So one fateful day, Hubby and Grandpa decided it was time to fix the car.  We were well into fall and the cold days of winter weren’t far behind.  Grandpa would need the heater fixed.  They opened the hood of the big old 1974 Cadillac and stepped back in amazement – their jaws slack and agape.

It was a modern marvel of ingenuity – perhaps the 8th wonder of the world right here on our very own little ranch.  Houdini had created the first mobile compost heap in history! 

Being within easy access of Grandpa’s garden had, as it turned out, given our furry little rat a ready supply of veggies which he had carefully stored away for the winter.  Every nook and crannie of the huge V-8 engine compartment in Grandpa’s big old car was packed with a variety of veggies, baling twine, corn stalks and whatever else Houdini could lay his fuzzy little fingers on.  Empty squash and zucchini shells, rotting peppers, tomatoes  and old, moldy cabbage leaves were just a few of the veggies he chose to store away with an occassional bean or onion top thrown in for a well balance diet.  Believe it or not – everything Grandpa had tossed into his compost heap had found its way under the hood of his car.

I can only imagine how many trips to town Houdini and his rolling compost heap had made and how many veggies were now scattered on the side of the road – perhaps after first being shredded by the fan of the massive engine – a giant 8 valve food processor.  And just think of poor Houdini, if he had ridden along he had probably been a nervous wreck, watching his food so lovingly stored for the winter falling to the ground below with every pothole and washboardy stretch of gravel road shaking more of his precious cargo loose. 

Oh the horror of it!  The pain and anguish!!!

And as if that wasn’t bad enough – his stash had now been discovered by the two men on earth who hated him the most.

Amid more cussing (a lot of cussing), the remains of the rolling compost heap were removed from the engine and the chewed wiring was repaired. 

Rat poison and was spread throughout the garage along with the dreaded catch-em-alive trap and several rat-sized, spring-loaded, not quite what you’d call humane traps. 

War had been declared!

But Houdini wasn’t afraid, and he wasn’t a quitter!!!  I honestly don’t think he knew the meaning of the word.

Since things had become unbearable in the garage, Houdini packed his bags (figuratively speaking) and left – headed straight for his new life…

His life in the barn.

To be continued, again…

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