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January 13 & 14, 2007
Hard Freeze
Our friend John the electrician has a place down the road from us. He called last week to ask if we'd like to use a 40-foot lift he was renting. We coordinated schedules and agreed the best day would be Friday night. John went to the rental place and showed up with the lift just after dark on Friday to report he needed another part and he'd be by late in the afternoon Saturday to pick up the lift and go work on the security lights in a local mall's parking lot.
A front came through Friday and it got cold and windy. At 1600 feet our ranch doesn't get much snow, but it can get chilly here. By the time I got home from Hollyweird it was 30 degrees and blowing. The next morning it was 28 degrees and still blowing. The lift was springy and swayed in the breeze as I swung around in our treetops cutting deadwood out of our mature oaks.
It was hard work. After about two hours, I broke for tea and some sweets, figuring John would be back soon. We moved the lift to a third spot, and I went back up. But I began to have trouble maneuvering the chainsaw and I almost dropped it. Twice. Lift or no, maturity says that you look at the risk versus reward and I said "It's time to quit."
So we did, but then it really started to get chilly. The wind died down. We wrapped various spigots, gave extra hay to the horses and prepared for a cold night.
This morning when I got up it was as cold as its ever been since I've been here -- ten degrees. Our dripping faucet had a two-foot icicle. The horse water troughs were frozen hard, we had to sledgehammer the ice to open a spot for them to drink. When things started to thaw out, our icicle faucet pipe was burst and began to spew water. We cut it off and capped the pipe and will repair it at our leisure.
When the water for our chickens freezes, we take a pitcher of hot water out and dump it into their waterer. Generally by the time they drink all that warmish water, the waterer has thawed. They make heated waterers for chickens, but we only get this kind of cold snap once every ten years or so. Of course with global warming who knows what weather the future will bring.


icicle tap me 40 feet up