Our friend Tom stopped by yesterday with a bag full of plumbing fittings and proceeded to hook our new water storage tank up, in series, to our old tank.  But first, I dumped a little bleach (non scented) into the five inches of water in the new tank, and we then tipped it over to drain the bleach water out of the valve on the lower side of the tank.  The tank and the water were "clean" but I just felt better doing it!
Tom also bored out two holes on opposite sides of the top of the tank and installed threaded fittings to receive the ends of two garden hoses.  The short hose runs to our sump pit and the long hose is connected to the faucet where our water line comes up through the basement floor in the pantry.  (This will eventually be replaced with hard plumbing instead of a garden hose.)
In the past, I had trouble with the hose popping out of the tank when an air bubble made the hose buck and jump.  Right onto the floor where it merrily poured water out for up to fifteen minutes!  Not a pretty sight.  Or the tank would over-fill and pour water out on the floor when I got distracted and forgot I had water running into the tank.  Now if it runs "over" it runs out the hose, into the sump.  And the fill hose is firmly screwed into the fitting on the tank.  WOW!  That’s such an improvement!!!  Huge!  Plus, of course, we have doubled our water storage capabilities.
Now if our water line doesn’t freeze…..  You see, right now it’s -30.  With a windchill reading of -55.  Yep, that’s 55 degrees BELOW zero all you guys with green grass and 60s!!!  So tonight I’ll be starting the vehicles every 3 hours so they’ll start in the morning.  We still don’t know if David will have school or not; won’t know till morning.  And I like having a vehicle that will start in case of an emergency…..like when I had to go in to the emergency room at 1:30 AM two weeks ago!  We used to run a propane heater in the generator shed to keep the generator warm, then plug in a vehicle for an hour or two in the morning.  But actually it’s easier to just get up and start the vehicles, let them run 15 minutes while I build up the fire, then go back to bed.  Our new generator is really a whole lot easier to start when it’s cold than the old ones with the Briggs and Robin engines.
When I did chores tonight, I quickly closed up the barn and chicken coop, giving the critters lots of extra hay for bedding.  It’s going to be a cold, cold night.  But my first cucumbers for the greenhouse are popping up, so I still feel spring in that crystal cold air!!!

Readers’ questions:

Tips about eggs and celery

Jackie, you are such an amazing woman! You have always impressed me SO much with your knowledge and experience.I kinda hesitate to send these tips as you probably already know them, but here I go anyway. 1- Did you know even the freshest eggs will "pop" right out of their shells if you easily drop them (I use a spoon) into BOILING water—I know! Against everything Mama or Grandma ever taught you!–boil 10 min., drain, cover with cold water 5-15 min.Crack all over & there you go! Try it- I didn’t believe it either! It works! 2-celery will keep for a couple months beautifully if you wrap the whole bunch in aluminum foil as soon as you bring it in from garden or store and keep in the fridge!

Dianne Williams
Birch River, West Virginia

Thank you for your tips.  My very next eggs I’m going to try your method.  The best way I’ve found is to boil the eggs, drain them, then toss them up and down in the dry pan until the shells crack; kind of like popcorn.  Then I rinse them with cold water until the water stays cold and let them sit in that water for about two hours.  USUALLY the fresh eggs will peel well.  But I’m definitely trying your way.
But I did know about the celery.  It also works if you put it into a large plastic bag and twist it up tight.  Trouble is that my propane fridge is always bulging and I can’t spare the room to hold anything that long!  When I want fresh celery, I dig up a couple plants and replant them into a large plastic tub in the greenhouse for a couple of weeks, then down in the cellar they go.  They get pale, but stay fresh a long time as long as I keep the soil….which is mostly gravel….moist. — Jackie