The Freezer of Darkness: “The Horror, the Horror”

The awful truth is that behind pretty blog pictures, homesteading isn’t all just flowers blooming….

Or new twin babies….

Or fresh-from-the-garden veggies…. 

Or misty mornings….

Sometimes it will be all those things for a while. And then suddenly something happens to shake you away from blissfully kneading home made freshly ground sourdough bread or tying up your thriving heirloom tomato breeding project in the garden, and suddenly shit happens and you feel like you’ve been run over by the bad luck truck.

It all started last year when we were finally prosperous enough to replace our 7-year old chest freezer. The lid was broken and hardly able to hold in cold air. We were so happy to be able to finally replace it. 

At Lowe’s we fell prey to an upright model whose door looked sturdy enough to withstand the existence of a freezer. We examined all the shelves and talked over the price. It was slightly smaller than the broken freezer, but it had an awesome self-defrosting/cleaning feature that was  very tempting. 
But there was this nagging voice of doubt in my mind about the design of it. It was perfect for stacking up Hungry Man dinners or frozen packaged lasagna, but how would we really stack beef roasts or frozen whole chickens? But then again it would save space…. 

There was a regular top-opening lid freezer I kept turning to, and I found myself trying to talk Ethan into buying it instead. In the end however, we walked away with the upright one. 

It was wonderful to transfer stuff out of the old freezer and into the new one. It didn’t fit nearly as much, but there were strange and wonderful things we discovered at the bottom of the old freezer that went straight to the dog, the pigs, or the compost.

  My doubts and fears seemed entirely unfounded until we made the unpleasant discovery that the upright door wouldn’t stay closed unless it was kept locked with a little plastic key. This was sort of annoying, because you would think you had locked it, only to find it had cracked itself open and everything in the door shelves was defrosting. 

Shortly after that it self-cleaned, which we discovered meant that it randomly dribbled freezer juice all over the laundry room floor. And the worst part is we had to plug the old freezer back in when we got our beef back from the butcher, because the new one couldn’t fit what we were planning to store in the old one. 

 Just last week we were frantically preparing for Ethan to leave for work for several weeks.  The car had a broken radiator that had to be repaired, plus some fences had to be fixed, pigs moved to the garden, etc.  The to-do list was a mile long.

I woke up one morning to a rather off smell coming from that corner of the laundry.  I mentioned it to Ethan, and he commented off-handedly that the effing freezer was defrosting itself again. (This was the insidious reputation it had created for itself over the months it lived at our house!)

By the next morning, the smell was worse. I observed flies, and I think I mentioned how much better the other chest freezer would have been a few times at least.

 “Are you sure the freezers are all working?” I finally asked that evening. It smelled SO bad. 

“They’re fine,” Ethan assured me, “the defrost feature is just really annoying,” he replied. 

By the next morning I knew something had to be done. Ethan was about to leave for weeks, and a horror movie-like scene played through my imagination.

” Hey, can you get a chicken out of the upright freezer for dinner?” I asked cheerfully when Ethan stumbled into the kitchen to make coffee.

He agreed, and shortly afterwards “Things fall apart. The center cannot hold,” and it became apparent we were in the middle of a major freezer crisis. 

It was dark, very dark, because we store all our home-raised meat, butter, and cheese, which makes up a huge part of our sustenance, for the entire year in the freezer.  Luckily there were lots of Labor Day sales over the weekend. We bought the largest freeze we could afford offhand, which turned out to be awfully tiny. I had a birthday party to take Clothilde to (thank goodness!!) but Ethan struggled heroically with the freezer while we were away. 

It was the stuff of nightmares. Pools of nasty. And yes, maggots. The stuff inside the freezer was still very cold, but the drip issue had created some unspeakable problems. I won’t tell you about them in detail, because it makes me want to throw up just thinking about it. I’ll just say the chickens got excited, and the dogs had to be kept at bay with a squirt bottle. 

Freezer 1

When Clo and I returned bearing party favors and leftover birthday cake, there was still ick everywhere and Ethan had willfully surrendered any decision-making capabilities on his part for the rest of our life together. He said dealing with the freezer made him realize that I was always right about everything anyway, and the worst part was not being able to afford the mind bleach after that. 

Actually the worst part was that all the stuff from the big upright freezer packed to the gills fit in the tiny freezer just fine. 

“And this also…has been one of the dark places of the earth. “

12 Comments Add yours

  1. Elena says:

    Oh you poor thing! We’ve had a broken down fridge/freezer just last month, and had to wait for the new one for a week. Of course we have nowhere near as much stuff in ours as you do in yours, but also our kitchen is in the corner of our living room, so when I discovered the defrosted freezer with goo leaking out in the morning, the shock and horror was similar (think carpets!!). Yours is much more serious of course, but I can empathise. πŸ™‚ The good thing though is that you’ve now been recognised as the decision maker, until Ethan forgets, of course. Men and mothers have selective memory, I find. :-p

    But I’m so glad that it all worked out ok for you in the end!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh gosh, the carpet issue actually sounds worse, since at least our freezer is in a shed outside! Right now we are on equal footing again since earlier in the summer i unwisely invited a start up forest school out here… much drama later, we have at last shaken them off just yesterday, amid great celebration, and as Ethan pointed out, he was against it in the first place 😁 he has bad judgement about appliances, but i am always getting into scrapes with various mom/ school groups, like the Waldorf Homeschooling Hari Krishnas that invited themselves out once this past spring, never to return (and i spent like a whole morning trying to hide all signs of eating meat just for them!).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Elena says:

        I think since those Krishnas invited themselves, you should have left everything as is. They would have been terrified and gone at the first sight of a whole frozen chicken! πŸ˜€ What did they think you were keeping the pigs for? Sweet conversation? πŸ˜†

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re right, i totally should have! As it was the living turkeys free ranging in the orchard were too much for them. I shouldn’t have even bothered with ten thousand other things that would horrify them… cow hides drying on the side of the barn, the feathers scattered around the plucker, and the dog’s random bone collection kicking around out front….


      3. Elena says:

        Are they suggesting to make your dog a vegetarian too? :-O I would suggest they try converting an alligator. πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I don’t think they thought things through so well or they wouldn’t have come out in the first place!


  2. tonytomeo says:

    At least freezing is an option. Without electricity, we can only can meat, which is not very good later on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I sooooo appreciate our food preservation appliances!!! An old cracker farmer from around here who grew up with no electricity told me they used their smokehouse to preserve pork. Of course of they butchered a cow they had to eat it right away and share it among friends and family. I want to ask him more details about smoking pork that way. When hurricane Irma came through last year, we added kefir grains to the milk just after milking, then skimmed the cultured cream and made cheese or clarified butter to preserve it. It worked, and i know we could get by but things are so much easier with cold storage!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. tonytomeo says:

        Freezing is so much better if it is an option. We used to can leftover food from the Open House at the farm. We would actually cook formerly frozen hamburgers and then can them. it was such a waste of energy, but it was better than wasting. The hamburgers were good cut up in soup, but were not very good as hamburgers.


  3. tammysharp says:

    Oh clever…sending him into the fray to discover things for himself. 🀣

    Liked by 1 person

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