The Coldman Cometh

We knew it couldn’t last forever; it appears the mild days of winter have passed and we are now prisoners in the icy grasp of the Coldman. Arctic air has settled over the Northwoods bringing us consecutive nights of -25, -18, and -2 degrees and have wreaked havoc on our water works here at the farm.

Saturday morning I noticed our drain pipes had frozen solid so we had to significantly limit our water use until I could chip out the ice in some areas and get the drain pipes thawed enough to keep the water moving. I managed to get that done just in time for us to shower and do a load of dishes before some friends came over for dinner.

Not a huge deal but the Coldman was definitely enjoying himself.

Sunday morning Krista informed me that we had no water coming out of the kitchen sink. I quickly checked the tub and bathroom sink and toilet water supply line and found no water moving anywhere. An excellent start to the day! After bundling up to head out for morning chores, I cranked the spigot in the heated pump room at the pressure tank and not a drip nor drop was provided. Sh*t!

The Coldman let out a fiendish laugh.

Water is a big deal. We obviously need it for drinking, cooking, washing, and flushing but on a farm there are more bodies depending on water than just ours. Pigs and goats need 15 gallons per day. Chickens, rabbits, and ducks need another 2, and our microgreens consume about 5 gallons per day. Add that to our human needs, at a minimum of 10 gallons per day (no showers, no washing clothes or dishes, and minimal flushing), and we’re looking at 32 gallons of water.

Luckily for us, we had some water stored. Our previous experience with pseudo off-the-grid living paid off big time. Living with no running water for nine months really gave us a sincere respect for how much water we use every day and what happens when there is no water on demand. This knowledge gave us the foresight to put up some water here at the farm, just in case.

The farmer nods with a slight smile to the Coldman. The Coldman scowls.

You might be thinking, just call a plumber and all will be well - but you’d be wrong. We called four plumbers today and couldn’t get a hold of any of them, likely they were/are inundated with other extreme cold water issues. We could drive into town and buy jugs of water from the grocery store, but at $1.50 per gallon that would cost us just under $50 per day for the bare minimum amount of water we need. Not something we want to spend our hard earned money on if we can help it.

We made it through the day having stored enough water for the plants, animals, and ourselves. I finally managed to thaw the main supply line to the pressure tank so we have water at the test spigot. Not ideal but it’s a start. I’ve also checked all the heat tape and insulation around our water lines and hope to have the lines thawed by tomorrow morning.

We’ll see who gets the last laugh: the farmer or the Coldman.