The problem with this kind of intense cold that does not let up for weeks on end, aside from the sheer misery of it, is that it accumulates and deepens the longer it goes on. I was sharply reminded of this this morning when I found the water hydrant in the barn frozen. I was foolishly hoping that, since it had made it this far, it would be OK. Anyone who has ever had to haul water for livestock will know just how big a problem this is.
Fortunately, after working on it all day, I got the water flowing once again. For those who ever have to deal with this, the cure for a frozen hydrant is lots of hot water poured around the base of the pipe and, in this case, using an iron bar to break through the frozen ground so that the warm water could reach the bottom of the pipe buried in the ground (where it should be deep enough to not freeze in the first place if it is installed properly. If you were unlucky enough to hire an incompetent moron to do this job, as I did, the pipe will freeze anyway). After getting the pipe thawed, I used several old towels and a lot of old straw to suck up as much of that warm water as possible so that it would not freeze later.
I have heaped more straw around the base of the hydrant, hoping to keep the frost from penetrating the ground again, but the forecast this week has me thinking I should keep the main line turned off whenever I am not using it, just in case the pipe bursts underground in spite of my best efforts.
Everywhere I look, others are having a rough time this winter as well. Drought out west, horrible storms and floods across the pond, relentless cold...it's bad everywhere. Maybe the rain that has finally come to California will usher in better weather for all of us. One can always hope right?
On another note, blog posting may be a bit sporadic over the next few weeks. There is nothing exciting going on, just appointments and too much to do. If I disappear here and there, don't be alarmed and thanks for sticking with me.