Who would have thought a dark, rainy day would be a breath of fresh air? It has been so cold, for so long, that a day that promises to get up to 40 degrees with rain is quite exciting. The rain on the south windows is actually frozen, but there is hope.
I’ve been waiting for a warm day to clean out the poop tray in the chicken coop. It has gotten piled kind of deep, but when it is frozen to the floor there is not much I can do about it. Lucky me, I think I can go out and deal with it when the temperature reaches its peak around 4:00 today.
We’ve experienced unexpected problems caring for farm animals in the winter. The hydrant in the barn sits on top of a pipe cemented into the floor. It is a frost-free mechanism, such that when you close the pump handle on the hydrant, the water runs down into the lines below the frost line and you don’t have to worry about pipes bursting. What I did not know is that the residual water in the pipe can still freeze and the water ceases to flow.
I looked it up on the internet and found that this is a common problem. If you don’t want to carry buckets of water from your house to water the animals until spring (I don’t), you can use a hair dryer and warm the pipe every time, or install a heating tape with a thermostat to keep the pipe above freezing. I used the hair dryer for a few days until even that wouldn’t do the trick. Yesterday, my husband applied the heating cable and I am hoping that by this afternoon it will have loosened things up enough to get back in business. It was not an instant fix.
We have a couple weeks to get things in good shape so that we can go away to visit the new baby and leave the chicken care to a relative for a few days. Who knows, maybe spring will have sprung by then and all our problems will be over?