Although a foot of snow is beautiful here in the woods, the cold along with it brings new challenges. Our nighttime temperatures have been zero or below with the daytime temps only in the teens. Thus watering our abundant livestock gets to be a challenge. Will’s fabulous wood fired stock heaters work great for keeping the ice out of the horses; cows; and yearling steers’ water tanks. But we still don’t have our water line buried all the way down to the barn, about 500 feet from the house. Luckily, Will installed roof-type heat tapes inside the 1½-inch black poly water line so we only have to deal with the hoses to and from that line. But if we aren’t very careful to get them entirely drained after every use, they can freeze. And our big steers’ water tank doesn’t have a heater yet. We have to run about 200 feet of hose from our frost-free hydrant in the yard to their tank. With that much hose, we have frequent freezes. The only way to thaw that much hose is to drag it to the house and lay it out in the entryway and living room. I’m very thankful we don’t have carpeting! But the hoses do thaw and we do get the critters all watered.

Some folks just let their animals eat snow in the winter. Yeah, they’ll live. Usually. But the old farmers say, “water is your cheapest feed” and animals not only are much happier with drinking water but they stay in better shape over winter. So we drag hoses until we get the next steps toward easy homesteading completed. It takes a lot of time and is annoying and messy. But it costs nothing and when the animals come to get a drink I can see them smiling. Happy animals makes us homesteaders content. Even when dragging hoses at below zero!


  1. hi. could you do as fire hose drying towers do? it doesn’t have to be very high. say you thread a rope through an eye screw and pull one hose end up and anchor the rope. then you walk along the hose with the hose on your shoulder. when you get to the end it is drained. or does it have to be perfectly dry? i don’t need a height for our hose, used not in winter, but i walk it to drain it before i put it away.
    deb harvey

  2. C Phelps,

    Now that’s one thing we’ll try to find, for sure! I’ll start looking this week. Thanks for the tip!


  3. Robin,

    Thanks for the thought, but the frost goes deeper than 8′ here and I can guarantee that the heat from below ground would never keep water from freezing at 35 below here in Minnesota.


  4. We haven’t received any snow in the Buffalo/Niagara Falls area. My concern is with the lakes NOT freezing we’ll probably get something like what you have in the photo in the next few weeks.

  5. At a RV supply store I bought a garden hose “cleaner”. It’s used to blow out the water lines in a camper for winter storage. It is a brass item about 1.25 inches long; on one end are male garden threads and on the other is a air value like on a car tire.

    As I understand your hose use in the North land, you hook the female end of a hose to the water source, run the hose nearly to Canada, and put the male end in the animal water tank.

    Afer your done, hook the hose cleaner to the female end of your Canada bound hose, and blow air through it until the water is out.

    The item cost about seven dollars here in lower Michigan.

    Hope this is a thought you can use.

  6. Hi Jackie.
    I have heard of a way to keep tanks thawed, but have never tried it. It involves burying a piece of pipe, vertically, down past frost level, under your tank. Then the heat from the ground will keep your water thawed. Kind of like a root cellar I guess. Not sure of the size of pipe you would have to use. Would be interesting to see if this would work.
    Stay warm !

  7. Lee says if you have a sled, he will come sledding but does not want to drag his sled all that long walk. From Illinois. Also he will bring a heavy rope so Will can pull him up the hill. Really it is beautiful and I wish it would snow here. One thing I loved about living on Kodiak Island was the snow. It was wonderful…

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