If they cut the power… do you have enough WATER?

I live in California… and right now, it is very wonky.  All kinds of information is floating around and one of those being a letter from PGE claiming they need to shut power for a variety of reasons.

I don’t mind not having power.  What I do mind is not being able to run the well to fill up the horse troughs when they need fresh water.

(I’m one of those people that keeps their troughs low so that they are easy to clean.)

Anyway, we received another letter like this today.   CA is a big state, so we never know who or where the power will be shut.  Yes, it has happened a lot in Grass Valley this year, but it hasn’t happened here on the Central Coast – yet.  But, I feel it may be coming this week or next.

So, I decided to have extra water for 8 horses.

*A reader suggested investing in a solar unit to power the well pump – an excellent idea.  We are looking into it.


I figured that I would clean all of their troughs, fill them, and then fill a few garbage cans and then a few of the huge fruit bins that I use as feeders.

So that’s what I did.

Of course, we ran into a few issues.  Number One, I have drilled holes in all of the fruit bins to let out rainwater.  So I had to plug those.  I just used clean, cloth rags.

Second, I cleaned out a few Rubbermaids that I use for treat bins.  I thought about placement and decided that I wanted to fill them near the fences so that I could easily refill their troughs via the Rubbermaids.

BIG MISTAKE.  I had the Rubbermaids, filled and heavy, set next to the fence by the trough.  Well, Dalton spent all night figuring how to remove the lids and spill the water without toppling the bins.  I HAVE NO IDEA how he did this… but he got dirt all over the lids, popped one lid and took out 3/4 of the water without spilling much.  Did he drink it?!  Maybe he got his head through the fence and was able to drink.  Not sure.  Anyway, I moved it a bit up the hill.


Since it takes a lot of time to fill the fruit bins (with our well), it was a perfect time to groom BG.  The poor girl has her hives back therefore I’ve separated her from Finn and Wrigley so I can treat her and pay attention.  Also, it gives her a break from Wrigley, who is a very annoying little brother.

After I was done grooming her, one fruit bin was filled.  Perfect.  I can do this daily and get all the bins filled for the projected powerdown date next week.


I’m trying to have a full trough for each horse. As you can see, BG is in her own pen (because her hives are back and I have to treat her…). I gave BG three toughs because she is really, really clean with water. I can fill up 3 troughs and they will remain clean until they are empty. In this way, I can have lots of water in her pen, and allow Finn and Wrig in if needed. (Wrigley is on the left and Finn is at the gate.)

This is Gwen and Norma’s water. They are clean as well. They have two troughs like this, so they will be totally fine.

Dalton, Missy Miss and Mo’s pasture is the issue. I didn’t know it would be an issue… but I had these two Rubbermaid trash bins filled with clean water… and Dalton managed to make a mess of them overnight. I had put them next to the fence when I filled them – so it would be easier to fill their trough from the bins – and he got both lids off even though they were bungied, and drank 3/4 of the water in one. However, he didn’t topple either bin. I have no idea how he got his head through the rails and into the bin, but he did. The red arrow shows where the green bin was overnight. There is very little water on the ground. He must have swished and swallowed.

The lid shows his work. Yes, this lid was on the ground and Mo was making music with it. Sigh.

Poor BG has her hives again. I have to continually help relieve the itch. No one has been able to figure out the cause, yet. But I have several tricks to relieve the itch.

Grooming and de-itching her, helps. She always feels better after treatment. It takes just about the time it takes to fill up a fruit bin with water.

We don’t like to stress our well, so I filled this up slowly. I have 4 more to go. These hold a lot of water… so we will be OK once this is done. (I put a rag in the hole that I drilled to let out water. It held.)


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2 comments have been posted...

  1. Rox

    You can often acquire the food-grade (blue color) 50 gallon drums from food producers for low cost, or slightly higher cost from dealers.If using these for water storage you would need a rather strangely named tool called a bung wrench to open the barrel top and you can use an inexpensive hand pump to get the water out. Best to use a human food grade water conditioner to lower the bacteria/algae count. I live in earthquake territory so have been reading a lot on the prepper/”survivalist” websites (the homesteader websites are the best because they don’t slam you with political nonsense) and it’s amazing what is out there. I use a clone of the tuffshed ™ for storage of about two weeks worth of water; I did have the shed erected on a flat concrete foundation and did the insulation of the shed myself so that I don’t need to worry about freezing weather. It is in a flat, easily accessible area by the barn – can pull the pickup right in front. For your household use you might look into rainwater capture barrels (if you get enough rain to make that worthwhile) – the ones designed specifically for home use. I do recall that there are now wind and solar setups for water well pumps and as you are in sunny country the solar one might be an option for extended brown- or black-outs. I find it extremely odd that the government agencies supposedly advising people about emergency preparedness never think to mention water issues for livestock.

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