Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Tails From the Farm

Winter Breaks

It’s hard to believe that it’s January the fourth in Manitoba, and I was able to water the horses with Jimmy, the water truck. Yesterday the temperature rose to a balmy, two degrees Celsius, or for those of you who think in Fahrenheit that’s almost thirty-six! What’s the big deal, some may ask? Well, January in Manitoba usually means freezing, biting winds and bitter cold. It means hauling hot water to open frozen troughs for horses, bundling up against cold that freezes bare skin in mere minutes, and dealing with snow. This above zero business is crazy, and rather wonderful in small amounts. Who doesn’t enjoy a break from freezing their butt off? Certainly not I.
Yesterday’s watering went tickety-boo. The outside tap worked. The tank was filled with enough water to take care of every trough and horse, and no pails had to be hauled from the house with the toboggan. It was wonderful. I figured as we were having a second, lovely day, why not use the water truck again? After all, it makes life so much easier. It only makes sense … right?
Unlike yesterday, I had to pour a little hot water over the outside tap to thaw it loose, not much, just a dribble is all it took. After that, it was pretty well a repeat of before. After about forty-five minutes or so, there was enough water in the tank to water all the horses plus fill the biggest trough. Away I went, pleased with the prospect of having the job done in a short while, instead of labouring over it for what always feels like ages.
First stop, Jim and Aurora. Oops, the tap lever wouldn’t open. No big deal. I brought along a few gallons of hot water to thaw the tap and possible frozen hose, just in case. It worked a charm on the tap fitting. The problem was, even after pouring hot water over the hose, it still had a frozen spot somewhere. No water was leaving the tank. Oh well, the day was young. By turning the Jimmy around, I could position the back to the sun, and the warmth would thaw things loose while sweetpea and I had lunch.
Almost positive the issue would’ve resolved itself after a bit of time, I still took along some hot water, just in case. To my disappointment, the water still wouldn’t run. It was a titch annoying. Still, there were more ways to skin a cat. Back to the house, I went. Getting a short length of garden hose, I decided to siphon the water out of the tank. It’s still winter after all, all that water was not only too heavy to leave on the truck, it was also most certainly going to freeze into a solid block of ice, and would burst open the tank, fittings and hose. Nope, it had to be drained, end of story.
Draining a big tank with a garden hose, is a time consuming process. It works, but is about as entertaining as watching cement set. After patting and scratching horses, I figured, I would see if any ice, would easily chip out of one of the troughs. Did hammer meet fingertip in a most unpleasant manner? Of course it did. Did sweetpea and I get the big hose to open up and run, even after slowly running two more, five gallon pails of hot water over it, you bet … we didn’t. Still, the tank slowly emptied, we didn’t have to haul load after load with the toboggan, and best of all, tomorrow’s watering will be easy peasy. All’s well that ends well.

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About Trudy Andrew

Trudy Andrew lives on a small farm just east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she enjoys her Morgan horses. A dreamer since she was a child, its no surprise to those who know her well that her imagination would find an outlet in writing, as it has in the past through artwork.
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 Oakbank, MB