The HOMESTEAD PIPES Are FROZEN! - America Sees DEEP Temperature DROPS!

in homesteading •  5 months ago

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Unless you are living under a rock, you will have heard the news that much the United States is going through freezing temperatures. I have been hoping for a cold hard winter as the last two years didn't seem to get too cold at all. On the homestead, those things are noticed more than if you are living in temp controlled homes with all the modern comforts.

The biggest difference is that much of the insect population doesn't die off and you have an abundance of insects the following spring. Ticks, mosquitoes and of course, FLYS! So winter, BRING ON YOUR WORST!

The seasons begin to be greatly appreciated once you see the design in it all. It helps to regulate things that would normally get out of control if you removed it altogether. So yeah, I'm wanting a cold and long winter.

But as a result in the short term, we have to adapt and overcome from the changes freezing temperatures will bring.

  • Frozen house pipes
  • Animal water frozen
  • Water tanks frozen
  • Well pump needs thawing
  • Solar batteries need charging more often

So life gets a little bit challenging during these winter freezes but that gives you a wonderful chance to practice keeping a good attitude!

This is our main tank on the homestead and it has a 1500 gallon capacity. I say it's our main tank because it has the best opportunity to collect the most precipitation. It's connected to Tim's (@hansjurgen) house with its large deck roof. But it's frozen today and not giving us any of its precious contents.

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This is the outdoor laundry house and the water tank for this is frozen as well. Jaimie and her mom have moved laundry operations indoors. Jaimie has a dry rack that originally was the side of an old baby crib that she uses to hang laundry to dry by the fire.

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The animals water trough is needing to be broken up almost every hour. We are giving up on that and just bringing them unfrozen water from our wells. We are keeping a close eye on our sheep right now as we are expecting lambs soon. Lambs always seem to come in the coldest times of the year.

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The turkey coop has its own water tanks as well. They of course are frozen and so Tim is having to bring them fresh water daily. The same is true for the chickens.

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FROZEN PIPE LINES

As long as you keep the pipes lines empty, the chances of your breaking your pipes greatly decrease. It also helps that our water lines are not under pressure and are all gravity fed. When freezing temps come, Tim (@hansjurgen) empties the lines and makes sure valves are closed.

These are a few of our garden tanks. We replaced much of the pvc lines with steel a few years ago. As you may be able to tell, the valves are closed and the lines are empty.

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The kitchen sink pump is not working much lately with our house pipes drained. Jaimie really misses having water at the sink whenever she wants it.

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Instead, our boys go out daily and bring in water jugs from the backyard well. This is one of two working wells on the homestead. Many times this well pump is frozen and the only way to get it to work is by pouring hot boiling water over the metal when it gets as cold as it is right now. My boys are hard workers!

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So this is life on the homestead during much of the cold winter months. I'm sure it's similar for the other homesteads out there on Steemit. I know it seems crazy to live off grid like this. But we wouldn't trade it for all the conveniences of modern city life, ever!

Life is difficult no matter how you choose to live it. It's your attitude that allows you to happily get by.


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Life challenges by attitude and yours is a good one!
Agree on the bug control via weather! Tweeting!

Stay warm my friends! We are in the same situation with the animals watching the baby lambs close.

Do you try to store water indoors when a cold spell like this come around? How much do you need to keep on hand indoors? Or does the well work with a little hot water?

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We keep about 30 gallons on hand in the house. We refill about 10 gallons per day at the pump.

Could you not insulate the water tank, pile straw or earth around it (earth would be a pain for maintenance I grant you) to keep out the freeze?

For the animal troughs, put a floating ball (like a tennis ball) in the water, it's bobbing action will help prevent a light freeze at least, though will eventually freeze over if it gets cold enough. Anything that keeps the water moving will help.

I bet you're going through your wood pile pretty quick now! :)

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Yeah, its 12 degrees outsite. I don't think a floating ball will help with those temps But I will try that when it warms up a bit. Yeah, we are going through the wood at the moment. I need to head out and cut some more this evening.

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Even if it means the water stays usable for an hour longer each time, it's a win right :)
Using the old tricks to make life easier for little or no effort.

We get our logs pre-cut/split but I do salvage old timber and I need to split more of that down into kindling, slacking in summer means hard work in winter, I learn that every year and forget it just as fast lol

I know I'm from up North and all but just a few thoughts that might help, as up here, when we have outside (or inside that need it) water lines, going to unheated barns etc, we tend to wrap our lines in poly insulation made for the types of temps they will experience, to try and stave off any freezing. You may want to prep your lines each year by doing this. It may help for a time at least. Obviously, this doesn't insulate your actual tanks though. Others may have better suggestions for that. As far as your water troughs/buckets , have you ever considered building or buying (if finances allow, bc they aren't cheap) solar heated ones? Here are some links for some others have found useful with their livestock. Might save you some time/energy in the long run.
http://ranchtanks.com/
http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/WaterHeating/water_heating.htm#Animals
https://www.zoro.com/tundra-pipe-ins-poly-2-18-in-id-6-ft-6xe048218/i/G1583023/

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I wondered what you do when the animals’ water freezes. And here I thought the winter would be less busy for you guys! Oofta, making sure you have access to water in the winter is a lot of work. And I agree, everyone’s life is difficult, just not all in the same ways.

Hopefully the snap breaks soon! You all are troopers over there! Stay warm <3

Ofcourse its frozing winter and maybe in future the temperature decreases and thank you for providing this great content :)

And we wouldn't trade this life for anything. That is for sure!

We are not totally off grid like you guys are, yet, but we are getting used to what we have. Making sure the well doesn't freeze does seem to be a challenge. I know that it has frozen a couple times in the past (well, at least the filter that is attached to the well.) Our well is surrounded by a concrete loop, so I was able to put a bunch of insulation in that. Hopefully it works!

Question: We just got our first 275 gallon totes like you have. What did you use to paint them black? You find any particular sort of paint works better than others? Any not work at all?

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Leave the comment about the paint over at @hansjurgen page. He does the painting of the tanks and would know which paint to use.

it will be so difficult to live in this conditon so u need to bring some instruction from the wasa department and to make save its from frozen @mericanhomestead

Looks out from under Rock...Ohhh WoW it's winter.

Life is difficult no matter how you choose to live it. It's your attitude that allows you to happily get by.

Keep up the good attitude! We have it easy here on grid with a gas furnace - but this comes with a price. We don't spend any time outside and we're finding ourselves getting sick very easily. We just got over a respiratory illness, now it's a nasty cold. I think our indoor air quality is suffering. Even with humidifiers, the air is very dry.

One good thing about the cold - people are staying home when they're sick - it seems like it's the only time people self-quarantine, when it's more comfortable to stay at home. Otherwise people continue their routines away home and say "It's just a little cold." Yeah. Thanks alot for your "Just a little cold." Now we're sucking snot out our 1 month old all night long. Ugh. We need to keep up the good attitude too! @ironshield

One good t

what do you do for showers?

Thanks for the article on how the cold is influencing your homestead. Doing the work treadmill thing I managed to let my six full IBC tanks freeze up like ice cubes, I can only hope they will thaw okay. This freeze didn't exactly sneak up on me, but leaving 30 minutes before light and returning at dark thirty doesn't help any. At least I don't have any pipe involvement yet. Wish me luck.

Even homes that aren't off grid have problems with frozen water pipes. The blessings of winter!

It is a pain for us right now. We leave NC and move to Missouri and in the process I get my kids all ramped up on how the Midwest has awesome white winters and they can build snowmen, have snowball fights and go sledding. Um, yeah not so much, blistering cold with flakes on the ground.
Just south of KC it is in the single digits and dips into the negatives. I think right now we are at 3, maybe 4 degrees. With the temps this low the kids have been inside for much of their Christmas break. While we are on the grid, I try to keep the gas/elect usage down by supplementing with the fireplace. I am going through firewood at a faster rate than I had expected. This cold weather has definitely been an eye opener for me, showing me where all the cold drafts are located in the house but also giving us information so we can prepare for next winter when we do have animals that we will need to tend to.
Like your water containers, all my rain barrels are solid blocks of ice. I foresee the PVC piping splitting and leaking once temps rise. Funny thing is that even the 5 gallon water jugs that are in the shop are solid. It is crazy!
This morning I went out deer hunting in Nevada, Mo. Even with 4 layers on and my insulated waders on I still froze! Sadly no deer either.

I pray you, the family and the animals are holding up well!

Kenny
Pfeiler Family Farm

Its all that global warming...

@mericanhomestead: It is definitely a cold (and DRY in northeast Kansas) winter this year!

We have had chickens for around 10 years now, and this is the first year that our chickens' molting has lasted for over a month. Of course, all 11 chickens don't lose their feathers at the same time but usually when one starts to molt the rest follow suit. I can tell the molt has begun because they have large bare patches and feathers everywhere in their bedding (and it lasts for about 2 weeks).

This year, their molting season wasn't as obvious but lasted much longer than previous years which means we are buying eggs elsewhere since our backstock diminished quickly.

The reason why I bring this up is it makes me think that maybe the chickens "knew" to not lose all their feathers at once since it was going to be FREAKISHLY cold this winter. Just a thought.

How does your dug well hold up in the extreme cold? Does it ever freeze up?