Saturday, January 01, 2011

Frozen Stuff ...

Marion County's largest NAPA and Knoxville's best Farm and Home store were closed for the holiday today (it's the only NAPA and only Farm store ... and I work there). That meant I had the whole windy day to work outside on the farm and hopefully catch up on projects that I have been slow to finish. I had a rather long list, but realistically I had a couple of things that I wanted/needed to finish up today. But, most of all I was excited to do chores in the daylight because I was beginning to forget what that was like.

So, as soon as I went out I started feeding pigs and getting ready to water the cows and then everyone else. Yesterday I had brought the hoses in to thaw (after breaking the plastic threads off of one) so I was set ... or at least I thought I was set. I hooked up the one good hose to the hydrant and then hooked up my "back-up" hose to the good hose. I went and put the end into the cattle tank and turned on the hydrant ... nothing! After some investigation I found that for the first time ever my hydrant was frozen ... crazy!

I brought both hoses back inside just to be safe and then attacked the hydrant with boiling water. It worked right away and I ran in (literally) to get the hoses and set everything back up. This time when I turned on the water I could hear it flowing, but my heart sank as I also saw the water flowing out of my "back-up" hose like a sprinkler all the way down the line. On a positive note if I need a soaker hose for the garden next year I have one ...

Did I mention that Knoxville's best Farm and Home store was closed for the holiday? Well ... it was! And, Walmart didn't have any hoses out (not a surprise). All of this led me to the church to borrow a hose which I promptly took back to the farm and hooked up ready to go ... oh wait ... that hose is frozen as well. I guess that shouldn't surprise me because I'm pretty sure I was the last one to use the hose way back in August when I was filling up water balloons.

Anyways ... to close up this long story ... I took that hose inside and let it thaw out (there was a lot of ice in there). And, instead of finishing up the chores in daylight ... I watered the livestock in the dark just as usual. Moral of the story? Have good hoses ... nice ... thick ... metal ended hoses! Drain them very well, and if your water hydrant is frozen try boiling water first. If that doesn't work, my all knowing (I'm serious he knows everything!) uncle told me to pile up straw around it and light it on fire. That would have been so cool ... but it was a bit windy ;)

3 comments:

wobbly.com said...

I like the straw idea, and it would provide entertainment for the kids.

How cold does it get around there?

Jake said...

Hey Ethan,

too bad about the frozen stuff...

a way to protect you hydrant for cheap... they make a styrofoam 'cup' that has a drawstring type arrangement that has a 'loop' on the inside of the cup... you hook the loop over your hydrant know and then cinch up the cup over the entire hydrant... the the cinch cable can be tightened up to hold the cup firm against the wall... this keeps your hydrant from freezing...

now, do it for virtually free...

next time you are near a convenience store (you may already have these laying around) buy a couple of 44 oz sodas made of styrofoam... enjoy the drinks.... now take and put one cup inside the other...

get an old pair of ear plugs - the kind that are squeeshy with a plastic cord... now, poke a small hole in the bottom of the cups.

Take the ear plugs and hold the plugs... stretch the cord straight... take the loop (opposite of plugs) and feed this through the bottom of the cup... Now, slip the cord over/around the hydrant knob and then push the open end of the cup against the wall and envelope the entire hydrant and pull the slack out of the ear plug cord... now tie a bow knot and cinch cup up tight...

almost free "McGyver" gadget to protect your hydrant against freezing and maybe even bursting!

cheers,

Rich said...

My grandparents had a water line that had a shallow point near the house that had tendency to freeze if it got cold enough, but every winter Grandpa would just put a bale of straw over that spot to give it that little bit of extra insulation.

Why not adapt that idea and stack some bales of hay around your hydrant to insulate it a little? You might also be able to stack a couple on the ground, put your drained hoses on top of the bales, and then throw a couple more bales on top of the hoses to keep them from freezing.

When the bales start to fall apart, throw them in the shed for bedding and replace them with some new bales.

Of course, an ice storm might have you chopping the bales apart with an ax to get to your hoses.

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