A big part of daily chores is making sure all the animals have fresh water. Simple enough one would think and it usually is. In the summer I string a hose from the spigot off the house to the stock tank in the corral. The goat tank is just on the other side of the fence of the cow’s tank making watering them pretty simple. The chickens and other animals require a couple buckets of water be filled and delivered. So not too bad but it does take some time and when there are little one to chase after it takes a little more time. Our little boy now has a gallon bucket that we put a quart of water in so he can help bring water to the chickens and not go wandering off.
Winter, on the other hand is a whole other routine. In the north is gets cold. Water freezes when it’s -30 degrees out (and warmer). Stock tanks freeze. Chicken waterers freeze. Dog dishes freeze. Cat dishes don’t freeze because the cat came with a heated water dish. Once a tank or dish freezes hard, it’s time to plug in the tank heaters and move the water from the outside tanks to the insulated ones in the barn. The hoses that worked so well in the summer, if left out, get buried under feet of snow and yes, freeze.
I had had the expandable hoses recommended to me by multiple people. They worked really well for them. They could hook them up, turn on the water, fill everything and when the water shut off, the hose would scrunch back up into this nice light ball and could be easily brought into the house. Well, that was not my experience. In fact the first time I used them one broke and they turned out to be more work than it was worth. This was really disappointing. But they do work well for flowers in the summer.
By the time Christmas came I had hauled enough water from the kitchen sink to the barn that my husband got me a utility sled. That was amazing! I could haul four full, five gallon buckets at a time to the barn, dump them in the tank and then fill the sled with enough firewood to last me the day. By this time I was seven months pregnant and it made the work much easier.
Last winter we were keeping two and a half cows, thirty (or so) chickens, threes dogs and a cat that appreciated water in the liquid form. This summer the cow herd, expanded to four, the nonexistent goat herd had climbed to four and the chicken coop, going in to fall, is holding at thirty-five(or so) and two turkeys (Martha and George) and we just found another cat in the barn ( I don’t know if it will keep permanent residence here or not). That’s a lot of water every day. Pregnant or not I don’t want to haul that much water every day nor am I willing to give up any animals.
I was in a bit of a pickle.
With the genius of my husband and dad, they came up with a plan to put a water line from the house to the barn, attached to a frost hydrant. Sounds like a fancy hose, right? Well, not so much. It’s so much better because it doesn’t freeze! (if it does, the cows have probably froze too.)
What you do, is dig a deep hole where you want water, eight feet deep or so. Then dig a trench from the hole to your water source, about three hundred feet to the house. Then put pipe or some sort of heavy hose in the trench and attach it to the water source and the other end to the hydrant in the barn. Fill in the eight foot deep trench and voila! Water! If I were the one taking on the task that’s about how it would have went. A few years later I would be done. Good thing it wasn’t up to me.
My uncle brought over his skid steer with an auger and extension. Between, him, my dad and husband they had a hole about 8 feet deep dug in the barn in a short time. This was after they disassembled the cow pen so they could get the equipment in there to begin with. From there on I’m not sure the “step by step” of what went on. It was a project I wouldn’t have been too much help with.
One way or another a bunch of rock was put in the hole in the barn to create a bit of a drain field, the guy’s from N & M Directional Drilling bored a hole from the north end of the barn into the hole and then from there all the way to the house, where they were able to come up into the foot and a half hole in the basement. How they managed to drill that far and find that spot in the house is beyond me! But they did. Then some sort of hose was pulled back through the hole they drilled and it was hooked to the hydrant, the hole filled in. There was some sort of work done in the basement to get the plumbing all tied in but after that there was water in the barn!
The best part is the water that is in the barn can be used all winter long! The frost hydrant, after being used, drains back down into the rock that was put in the hole so the pipe won’t freeze and the water line was bored deep enough that that shouldn’t freeze either! I put an old hose on the hydrant and cut if off just after the first lawn mower mishap. It’s just the right length to reach the cow tank and the goats! I will still need to bring a couple buckets to the chickens but that’s only every other day and the coop is just outside the barn. So much closer than the kitchen!
As usual this project was a group effort and I am so thankful! This has already been a big help and we don’t even have snow yet! Thanks, to my husband, my dad, my uncle and the guys at N & M Directional Drilling!