This a a tale of two water systems that failed this week.
This morning- Thursday- Yana and the students who were working had come over from the "new barn" after morning milking, which is at 6 am now to save peak period electricity use and lower the electric bill; to feed the calves (and cats) milk and check for fresh cows. This barn by our house has the dry cows and heifers who are getting close to calving, and a small bull in the tie stall, and some small heifers in the pens. The baby calves were here when we returned from Canada and they were even milking five cows, but Garry had them move the heifer calves and all the milking cows to the "new farm". The calves are tied in one barn and the cows go into the milking parlor the morning after calving. Garry got a bucket milker to use in the parlor for milk that needs to be separated and not go into the milk tank and sold.
Anyway, someone knocked on the door and told Garry "Oy,oy,oy"... obviously something bad had happened in the "old barn".
There was a flood, water had poured everywhere, in the barn alley and even outside through the doors. The water system was not working. so the cows' water bowls were dry. The source of the flood was in the milk house, the pressure tank for the water system had blown up sometime in the night, and the water had kept pouring out of the pipe that had been under it.
Garry spent about two hours going to the city for supplies to repair it, and then more than an hour installing a new tank, while trying to get things moving on getting ready to make the foundation for the cheese building, with Nikolai and Sasha's help. Once he was done, it wasn't working, and he was heading to the house when I told him I had just fixed a tripped breaker for the barn in the house, so the cows and heifer really could drink again.
Late in the morning it started to rain, so Garry is tracking mud in every time he comes in for something he needs, like a calculator to find out the square root of 136... three times, he wrote it on his hand the last time.
Part two... not a drop for the cows to drink
Tuesday morning we had a different problem, no water for the milk cows when Garry went over in the morning to see how things were at the "new farm" in the freestall barn. He discovered the water pump was missing. The guard sleeping in the barn had no chance to see what was happening because the water pump is hundreds of feet from the barn. It is a special expensive pump because it has to pump the water so far (400 ft) and 60 feet uphill to boot. They had also stolen the extension cord that connected it to the barn.
Garry was upset, he discovered later that Max had gotten a phone call at 11 pm the night before from Julia saying that there was no water when they went to start the night milking (at the later new time now). Max drove over to the barn and discovered the missing pump then. So the cows had no water to drink all night and part of the morning, which meant that they did not give much milk on Tuesday.
Of course, Tuesday Garry was busy with the planned shed demolition that day (see previous post), but he and Max spent some time finding the old mobile water tank and filling it to get some water to the cows, and Victor tried to find a replacement water pump to buy in Dnepro. Max thought he knew who the thief was, and they were ready to try to get it back, but Max prayed about it and decided to wait a while.
Soon a couple of young teen boys showed up with the water pump to return it. Max put them to work putting it back in place. They said that they had felt bad about it after they had taken it and they had tried to go put it back that night but had seen Max driving around and had gotten scared and left.
Max had told them that they had to come and apologize to Garry Tuesday night and three of them showed up, one gypsy boy (whom Max found out later had been influenced by a stepfather to steal the pump), and a couple of boys that Garry had watched grow up and had even played football with. Garry had lent the gypsy boy's mom money for medicine when he was in hospital last summer, so he was pretty disappointed about who had stolen the pump. Garry and Max lectured them on the damage, lack of milk production, and said if it happened again that they would not be so forgiving.
Then Garry was inspired by the boy's rough clothes and worn out shoes to say wait a minute and ask their shoe sizes. He went into the suitcase of donated shoes from Steinbach and gave all three boys brand new athletic shoes. As they went out the door, they heard one boy say that they had stolen the pump hoping to buy new shoes with the money.
Garry thought after he did it that he hopes it wasn't a mistake to give them shoes and no one steals the pump again to get shoes. However, Max and guys made it much more difficult to take now. The cover of thin roofing material has been replaced with a slab of concrete with a small hole in to fix the pump.