When we were madly rushing around watering livestock while the new calf had to be dried off, I quickly shut off the well, drained the hoses. But I forgot to push the handle of the frost free hydrant down to drain the hydrant and water line. The next morning, I found it, still open! I tried to push the handle down. No dice — I just knew it had frozen. When I got to the house, I told Will and he went down and lo and behold, the handle went down. Then he started the generator and plugged in the well. Water gushed out! Unfortunately, yesterday morning, it was frozen. We’re still not sure why, but I kind of suspect the line hadn’t drained completely back into the well before Will pushed the handle down, which creates kind of an air-lock, holding some water in the line. Anyway, it is frozen. And we have stock to water. What to do?

A while ago we bought a 200 gallon plastic tote in a steel cage just to have handy for whatever use we needed it for. It was all washed out and right by the barn. So Will loaded it on the plow truck and drove up to the yard. But before we could fill it with water, he had to fix the frost free hydrant there. The new coupler I’d bought was poorly made and only coupled onto the lifting rod by a couple of threads, which stripped soon after putting it together. To make a long story shorter, he got it re-threaded and put back together and water came out!

Will had to fix the frost free hydrant before we could use it.
Here’s the plastic tote being filled with water.

So the animals were watered using the tote and a siphoning hose. (As that’s so slow, we’re going to re-work the unit using plastic water line hooked to the tote’s gate valve.) Cows are not patient when they’re thirsty!

The cows were real glad to have their tank filled up.
Hope and Ninja loved playing and lying in the sun today.

While we were watering we were entertained by the two newest calves, Hope and Ninja. They are growing like weeds and have learned to run and play. They’re best buds already. — Jackie


  1. I really dislike cold weather and was wondering the reasons you all chose to live in such a cold area. Just nosy I guess, LOVE your blog and was glad to receive my seed order so promptly. Hoping for smoother sailing for all of you.

  2. I just really love your”can do” attitude! So many would fall into the”woe is me” category. I truely hope the rest of this winter goes easier for you and that we’ll all get an early spring .

    • Well, the woe-with-me attitude sure doesn’t get you anywhere. So the option is pretty straight forward, it seems. I WILL sure be glad to see temperatures above freezing though.

  3. So sorry you’ve had a bit of a rough time. You two are such an inspiration to all of us!! Hang in there and enjoy this sunshine.

  4. Jackie,
    I’m so glad you guys got your water fixed temporally.Those calves are so cute!!
    I’ve just got a couple of Hopi squash left from last year and want to can them. Could you post some pictures of how big you cut the pieces to can. And do you just add boiling water? Any spices? How long do you can them. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen pictures of you canning Hopi squash before. Do you cook it before you cut the skin off? They are very tough to cut through. Thanks. It has become our favorite winter squash because it just gets sweeter when stored for a while.
    What is your favorite way of fixing it?
    Thanks for the info. As always you are our go to.
    I will share the extra seeds with fellow gardeners.

    • Okay Barbara, here’s the scoop: I cut the pieces roughly into 1″ dices. I first cut the squash in half, remove (and SAVE) the seeds. I’ve found that if I poke the end of a knife into the skin, then rock it back and forth, they’re a lot easier to slice. I cut the halves into 1″ slices, then cut the peel off and dice the squash. I pack it raw, the add a bit of salt and boiling water, leaving 1″ of headspace. Pressure can at 10 pounds (if you live above 1,000 feet, check our canning book for instructions on increasing your pressure as needed). Pints are canned for 55 minutes and quarts for 90 minutes.
      I love it all ways but I think stuffed with a mix of ground sausage, onion, garlic, croutons and diced sweet peppers, topped with grated cheese added about 1/2 hr in can’t be beat!
      Good for you in sharing the extra seeds. This once-nearly-extinct squash is now pretty safe in the hands of so many thoughtful gardeners.

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