Blue Water Ice

Winter water is a challenge on the farmstead. The world has little liquid. In one way this is good, it actually feels warmer when it is cold enough that everything freezes up solid. The wet cold suck the heat away much more than the dry snow and ice.

We have warm springs on the mountain above us. The over flow from the one that serves our cottage goes to this barrel set in the hill which serves to create an air gap between our system and the animals system. This is a health sanitation issue to prevent backflow to our home.

The height difference between the inflow and outflow allows for variations in flow and creates more pressure in the pipes to the animal waterers. The ice rings show the up and down activity of the water. The out flow from the barrel leads to various waterers. The air in the barrel is moist which has led to the development of the spectacularly long hoar frost.

The barrel has foil-bubble-bubble-foil around it to help protect it from the winds as well as being set into an earthen alcove which becomes somewhat buried with snow. A cap of bale wrap and it is snug for the winter. I walk by and hear the tinkle of the flow telling me we still have flowing water.

Outdoors: 34째F/16째F Partially Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 64째F/56째F

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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7 Responses to Blue Water Ice

  1. Vera says:

    What a fascinating description of the photo which in itself was strong enough in its depiction of how cold it is where you are to make me actually do a little shiver!
    We don't have 'warm springs', just a very busy and energetic river which is at the moment full to the brim after recent rains.
    Hope you are keeping warm.

  2. Mary Ricksen says:

    A very unique picture.
    Bet that water is cooollllddddd!
    I wish we could send us a draft of warm air from here. But we've been too cool lately.
    How warm is the water that comes from the warm spring? I had no idea there could be a warm spring in Vermont. Where does it come from? Got a mini volcano under there?
    All I have to say is that this weather puts a dent in the question of global warming! Home you and your family stay snug and warm Walter.
    I am writing my second novel which takes place in Vermont. I have a question. In 1880 what roads would one use to get from Burlington to Stowe? Just curious if you might know being a long time Vermonter.

  3. Vera, down in the middle of our valley is a small stream that collects together in the marshes from all the mountain springs and then flows down to what we call the river in West Topsham. The 'river' is quite small by low land standards though at maybe 50' across.

    Anna, we are fortunate to have the springs. I suspect that the farm house was originally built here for the sheltered position and the water uphill of the house. I have very old tubes of wood that I found in the mud – ancient pipes that were preserved due to the lack of oxygen where they were buried. Cedar I think.

    Mary, the water is actually relatively warm at 45째F compared with the much colder air. I had to chop a hole through the ice of mystery pond last week to fish out a pipe. I ended up doing this three times as I didn't have exactly the right location. The first time isn't too bad. The air was about 4째F and windy so I started out cold and removed my nice warm glove. Reaching into the water felt warm compared with the bite of the wind, for a little while. Then the heat had been sucked out of my arm leaving my hand stiff and unfeeling. When I brought my hand back up the wind evaporated the moisture and I really felt the cold. After warming my hand back up I chopped the next hole in the ice. It is much harder reaching in that second time knowing just how cold it will be… Very much a psychological effect since the water was still 45째F nothing had really changed. The third time was even more, er, challenging. I never did find the end of the pipe I was fishing for. Thrice was enough on a cold windy day – I am no polar bear despite my mid-winter attire.

    As to roads, interesting that you should ask. The spine of the mountains is high between Burlington and Stowe. From the height of our land we can see the cleft. I have heard that Rt-100 was a stage coach road and that probably went south from Stowe and then turned west through the pass where I-89 goes to get to Burlington. That is a fair bit west and north of us so I haven't heard many stories about that trail. In the 1880's that was a long distance – most people rarely left their valleys.

    On a related note, there is an old woods road that comes from Rt-5 in West Topsham headed west up over Hannah Hill to cross our valley at the height of the ridge along Riddle Pond Road. It continues on the east side of the peak as what we know as Stage Coach Road, now a logging trail on our land. Alternatively I have heard this called Stage Coach Road. This cross road is where the school lot was in the village that existed in our valley and the roads are now called Peak (Peeke? Peake?) Road to the west and Bagley Road to the east – the latter which I think is a new name. My understanding is that this was part of the original route up from the south (Boston?) through Vermont to Quebec which passed through Montpelier and Burlington. Later this road was replaced by Rt-5 and Rt-302 from what I've been told. This probably connected to the Rt-100 stagecoach road at the cleft of the mountains there where I-89 and Rt-100 hit.

    I'm guessing though. All this is based on old stories I have heard and looking at the land. I have no written records. I just googled now and didn't find any definitive answer so you'll want to research this more. Good luck with your novel.



  4. Mary Ricksen says:

    Thanks, that gives me something to work with, some good key words. Finding information about Vermont when you are not there is almost impossible. So I ask Vermonters I know and relatives, but they live on the islands. It's hard to have to use the general consensus, if I can't find what I need after searching frantically.
    I write time travel romance novels, now don't run, there's a lot of historical information that goes into romance novels. They are not what they used to be. That's why knowing the right answer is so important.
    Thanks for the input!

  5. Time Travel Romance Novels… Cool! Well, those details are little things I've picked up from talking with people over the years. It is amazing to me that people travelled so far back then. I'm not much of a traveler even today with our modern vehicles. Now time travel, that's even further out… :)

  6. faella says:

    Walter, I found burdock comes out by stabbing a spade beside the plant and then prying it until the plant "pops" up. Then pull it out. It may take a few times/years to get it all. The pigs do love it. I am new to the pig raising and have just been given a proven sow. I plan to AI it soon. How do I get my pigs to pasture instead of rooting? Chris

  7. We've done the same with a spade shovel and we have two hand tools, weed stabbers, that work even better. They are a sharp Y shaped fork at the end of a 3' long wooden handle. The only problem with this technique is it leaves root parts in the ground. Still, it does work and gradually clears them back. That is part of how we were doing it before the pigs took over the job and we continue to make the rounds this way to get areas the pigs can't get to. Pigs on a leash is an interesting idea but I think I would more likely just have the dogs herd them if I was going to do that.

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