Friday, January 14, 2011

New Challenges

The cold and freezing weather has caused me to be rather inventive. I have a 210 gallon plastic tank for my truck, which is used to carry water that I purchase from a nearby city. 210 Gallon Water Tank

I use it to fill the water tank in the upper pasture, since there is no access to water up there. Whatever is left, I add it to my well tank, since my well only produces a small amount of water.

Because of my inexperience, I was having a difficult time emptying the water from the container before it would freeze in the hose, spigot and then the tank. Two days ago, the cattle needed water and it wasn't going to warm up anytime soon. There was no way I could give it to them. I ended up shoveling snow into their tank, hoping it would melt with the heater in the tank and they would have something to drink. That solution wasn't working very well. Even if I got more water in in the transfer tank, it wouldn't flow because of the ice. I had to melt the ice. I figured if I filled the tank with water and added a heater, the ice would melt. I got the water and bought a the smallest heater I could find, with enough power to heat at 200 gallons. The heater had a protective wire cage to keep the heating element away from the sides and bottom of a tank. Unfortunately, it wouldn't fit through the opening on the top of the transfer tank. I removed the cage, put a metal rod through the element and positioned it in the tank, keeping it away from the side.Tank Heater Apparatus

I didn't worry about the bottom, since it was ice. I left it in all night, checking it every couple of hours, to make sure everything was ok. In the meantime, I brought the hose in, thawed it and dried it out. By morning, the ice was gone. I grabbed a bale of hay and drove up to the pasture. I filled their tank and gave the steers some hay.

The steers were very happy.Happy Cattle

When that was finished, I was able to drain the tank into the well. I love it when a plan works.

As a reward to myself, I did something I have been wanting to do for a long time and made Shiner Bock bread. I made four small loaves. I am eating one and froze the others for another snowy day.Shiner Bock Bread


  1. Me, too. I felt a little sheepish because, as I tried to describe my dilemma at the farm supply place, no one had encountered that problem and looked at me funny. I took that to mean I was doing something really wrong. I believe I started out wrong with the flat wound-up hose. Now that I was able to empty the tank, I am pretty sure I won't need the heater again.

  2. Congrats on solving the problem Mom!

  3. Good grief, that sounds like a lot of work to get water. So do the well experts think the water is gone because of the drought this fall or is your well bad?

    So are you willing to share that bread recipe? It looks fabulous.

  4. Aaron - Thanks.
    Christine - Evidently the well never supplied much water, about 2.5 gallons per minute and now it is down to 1.5. I had a holding tank put in that has 1600 gallons of water. My well supplies what it can and I occasionally add city water to make up the difference and to add chlorine to my coal mine sulfured water, making it drinkable. The more livestock I acquire, the more it will stress the well, so I eventually may have to move the livestock to a new system fed by my spring-fed pond. Lots of things that I didn't understand, when I bought a farm with a well. I'm learning quickly.

    Of course, I will share the bread recipe.