By Patty Wilber
When the stock tank is iced up pretty thick on the south side of the barn despite the bubbler and some sun, and the frost free spigots have frozen, you know winter has sunk her teeth in deeper than I might enjoy.
So, dress warmly, and go break the ice!
Unfortunately, the north-side tank (which had a tank heater and a bubbler in it as that side doesn’t get a lot of sun) developed a sizable leak, so we thinned the ice with the tank heater, broke it with a sledge hammer and bucketed the bergs and the liquid water to the south-side tank–to save water and to prevent creation of a bigger horsey-ice rink.
Once we had enough water out, we tipped the tank on its side (heavy and awkward with the residual water and ice, in the dark in single digit cold) and rolled it out of the horse pens (to forestall–as it were–inquiring minds: why doesn’t this have water in it any more? i think we should try to move it. no! i think we should step in..NO! i think we should poop in it….etc.)
It has a leak because last year Lacey chased a horse fully twice her size into the tank and he put a hole in the bottom.
The patch failed. JB weld to the rescue (tomorrow!)
Cometa has his own pen (or else he overeats–”just keeping the place neat and tidy”, he claims), his own water and his own tank heater.
However, he unfortunately DRINKS, so water must be added periodically. In order to do this, first I had to find a hose buried in snow and drag it to one of the unfrozen spigots.
The inflow pipe for this faucet is about 2.5 feet down and the buried end of the spigot sits on a bed of gravel. After use, the water drains out a small hole into the gravel bed. Thus, the standing pipe has no water in it and does not freeze. If the inflow pipe is not deep enough it will freeze. If the drain field is faulty, the standing pipe won’t drain and IT will freeze.
Our trouble at the barn is the former. This one up near the house, works all winter, but it is not close to the big tanks at the barn.
Don’t forget! Drain the hoses after each use and for sure disconnect them from the spigot!
I do (I promise) ride in most weather, including cold (whussed out Thursday and only rode one), but there are a few other things we need to get done.
Manure. It keeps coming out, whatever the weather. We collect (rake, shovel, wheelbarrow), compost and spread. This works really well, IF the tractor starts. If it does not……
We tried an octane boosting diesel additive, a starter fluid aid sprayed on the air intake and all we got was some smoke and a dying battery. We got that far on advice (thus adding to our limited mental tractor trouble-shooting file.) We had problems with air in the fuel line when we had our fuel filter replaced…
Have called in an expert (after investing in a battery charger to perk up the necessary source of starting power.) This will be our third try at a tractor expert.#2 found what #1 missed, but doesn’t normally come to the tractor-it needs to come to him.
I met #3 at a party on New Year’s Day.
It was a party with a lot of farm and horse people! I just hope he can get ‘er going before we are overrun with hay burner by-product!
Since I can’t do much about the manure, might as well clean out the barn loft.
There was all manner of accumulated wood, pipe, broken barn sky light bits, gutter remnants and DIRT. It blows in one end and then, apparently, settles down for the duration. I was amazed at the dunes of dust that I could literally shovel out. After only 16 years of neglect!
Picked through, saved, tossed and organized. I don’t think we were at risk of Hanta virus as mouse turds were rare. Dust pneumonia though–definite possibility!
Made enough space in the loft for the wire, hose, spare barn skylights and fencing material from less than robust chicken shed.
The chicken shed will go as soon as we cap the water and protect some electrical in there. “We” used loosely. Hiring that out. I do plan to be personally involved in the destruction phase, though!
Hopefully, the tractor, manure and the water tank issues will all be solved/completed this weekend…in between the mammogram (routine), and a “preseason” horse show.