Ice Storm and water management

Ice Storm and water management

We knew to be suspicious of the forecast of up to 12 inches of snow that was expected to fall this week. The weather in east Tennessee is apparently extremely difficult to predict. The forecast changed yesterday from snow to only rain and then hours before it hit, the forecast changed again – this time to ice. That’s the one we want the least, because it creates insane road conditions and threatens our electric service. Our horses are of course dry in the barn, munching on yummy square bales of hay. It’s tricky keeping their buckets full and unfrozen; we hope to be able to have heated buckets in the stalls in the coming weeks.

Ice buildup on trailer

We have a supposedly freeze-free faucet now and although it helps, it’s hasn’t been fool-proof. There have been several times where we haven’t been able to get it to work at 5 degrees below freezing. I eventually figure out it worked best when you close the faucet value but open the hose shut-off valves. This allows the water to drain inside the pipe so it doesn’t freeze. Still, I plan filling the trough carefully. Four equines can go through 100 gallons of water, the capacity of our trough, in about 4 days in the winter. On long cold stretches, like we’re accustomed to seeing in east Tennessee, we are in danger of running out of flowing water and having to carry buckets from our house. So in the AM when I let the horses out (if it isn’t precipitating), I take the ice from the buckets (if clean) and dump it back into the heated trough.

First, I put the buckets into the trough. I dip them below the water line and then slosh the buckets back and forth and side to side.

Iced bucket in heated trough

After a couple of minutes, I turn the buckets upside down and usually the solid chunk of ice slides out into the water.

Bucket ice in heated trough

Part of our routine in the winter. Can’t wait until spring!

3 thoughts on “Ice Storm and water management

  1. Hahah! We have one of those stand alone, never freeze faucets inside the insulated barn where 5 heat radiating horses spend their nights.
    My BIL works for a town that has one standing in an open field that they have never once had trouble with.
    Our faucet freezes every GD year & there we are carting out 5 pails from the house each night – the very reason that we spent $5000 (yes, that is five THOUSAND) getting the yard dug up and putting a line in, the hydrant itself was just over $200.
    I could spit nails over it all; believe me, I have used some very unladylike language on the topic.
    As a way to do <something (other than dig it all up again, it’s already buried 8′ deep) & more probably in an effort to get away from my tirades on the subject, Mr. Shoes has built insulated boxes (he attached to the stall walls) that we set the water pails down into at night.
    It can get to -50 degrees here… in the mornings since he made these boxes all the water is drunk up, and the one horse that always leaves some in the pail has iced over when it’s really cold, but milder weather the ice will be thin enough that I see she breaks it multiple times by the ice rings around the edges.
    I still want that dirty-dog hydrant to work properly even if HELL should freeze over though.

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