Farm Follies: Frost-Facilitated Foibles

Oh, fuuuuudge..!

“F” that, indeed! I never fail to amaze myself with unexpected optimism; for example, hoping that the water hose will work during a cold snap. With this hope, however, comes the very real possibility that it’ll be dashed…and I’ll end up soggy and behind schedule.

Lacking a (working) water line out to the barn means lugging water from the outdoor faucet to the animals. This is accomplished reasonably smoothly by filling up 5 gallon buckets, placing them in the Gorilla cart, and pulling said cart out to the barn.

Ready to roll!

From there, the water is distributed between various pails and tubs and carried to the animals. The cart can only transport four 5-gallon buckets at a time, though, so two trips to the faucet and then the barn are needed. In short, it takes more time to do the morning watering using the 5-gallon buckets than simply hooking up the hose.

Unfortunately, cold weather adversely impacts the performance of the hose. When temperatures dip below freezing, water freezes in the hose and blocks it. Sometimes, the warmth and force of the water coming from the spigot are enough to blow out the ice. On those days, I rejoice.

On other days, though, even when the nighttime temperatures seem like they may have been warm enough to ward off ice, I get an unpleasant surprise when I turn on the faucet, hear the water begin to fill the hose, and then it stops. And stays quiet. When that happens, I run out to the open end of the hose to see if anything, even a trickle, is coming out. A trickle is good – it usually means that the water will melt the blockage. If there’s nothing coming out of the end of hose after about a minute, I have to call it and turn the water off…and resign myself to hauling water in buckets.

The worst part about trying to use the hose and finding it blocked is that the water coming into the hose from the spigot has created a lot of pressure in the hose, and when I disconnect the two, the water in the hose comes spraying out everywhere. I know what’s going to happen when I disconnect that line: I will not emerge unscathed. Also, it’s a frigid morning when this occurs, and the last thing I want to be when working outdoors is wet.

Different day, same soaking

I’ve recently had outdoor “showers” of this nature several times in the past couple of weeks. You’d think I’d just realize that if the temperatures are below freezing at night, if the bird waterers have a layer of ice on them in the morning, if there’s frost on the grass, it’s not likely that the damned hose is going to work for me. And, yet, I keep finding myself hoping that maybe it will turn out to be one of those occasions where all the signs pointing in a certain direction are actually incorrect.

Hmm…a sign?

You see, I’ve also experienced those mornings where logic dictates that I start the chores by filling up those buckets and making the trek with the cart, not even considering trying the hose…but I did. And the hose worked. A small miracle? You decide for yourself.

And because of those kinds of days, hope – which is arguably irrational – compels me to continue to take the risk of the outdoor shower. Even though I’m not laughing when it happens, I do have to laugh at myself later (after I’ve finished the chores and am dressed in warm, dry clothing): who in the world keeps taking that kind of gamble? Apparently, me. That’s the power of hope.