Thursday, January 26, 2017

Switching out cattle fountain in the dead of winter

I wrote this back in Dec but never posted it so thought i better get caught up.

In a perfect world a cattle fountain would never give you trouble in the winter but we all know how that goes. Two days before the temps were to drop to well below zero, Bruce discovered a frozen cattle fountain. When he tried to remove the pipe, it broke off to add insult to injury. He called both Grassy and I to come help as he dipped black muck out of the bottom of the pit. When I got over there, I found him, with all his winter garb, stuffed through this small door of the fountain, he could hardly move.

I just hoped he would be able to get back out, I thought we might have to chain him to the tractor. But, with the help of a bucket, Bruce managed to crawl back out. Marcus Lumber came out the next morning to fix the broken pipe and this time Bruce took the fountain off the pit to make it easier.

He was contemplating what to do about a fountain, looking a new ones when his good buddy, Freddy Boy, stopped over and said he had two Peterson cattle fountains that he no longer used. It was a cold day when we went to look at them so I stayed in the car and let the guys do their thing. Bruce decided on one and when it warmed up a bit, Fred and his brother, Larry, took it up and put it in Fred's shop to do a little work on it.

Last week the temps got up to the 40's so Bruce took advantage and replaced it.

Out with the old!

Fred's fountain is small than ours and it sat on this 'donut' to cover the well pit.

The first job was to put a ring of roofing tar on the donut to create a seal to keep out the cold wind. Ideally the donut should have been upside down but this wasn't an ideal situation and Bruce had to improvise. (He did come home with lots of tar on his hands but luckily Goo Gone cleaned him up.)

The next job was wiring an outlet under the fountain to plug the heaters into.

Somehow I missed a picture of moving the new fountain and we had quite a job wrestling it into place. Bruce would lift it just enough to take the weight off and I tried moving it around. Could that be why I had so many sore muscles the next few days? Remember, these fountains are made of concrete.

It was finally in place and Bruce spread more tar around the bottom, in a perfect world it would be 70 degrees to cure it but you have to work with what you have.

The fountain was mounted and it was time to hook up the hoses and plug in the heater and we found the flaw. The door in the waterer and the hole in the donut was small and the water pipe was low, not a good combination! Bruce tried getting inside but with his coveralls he just didn't fit. I told him I would try, if that didn't work, we would have to take the fountain off, AAUUGGHHHH!!!

I had to take my coat and glasses off, I had on my new, lighted, stocking cap that proved invaluable, and had to go in like a diver, with both arms extended. I had a death grip on the DeWalt drill, because Bruce kept saying, "Don't drop the drill in the pit!" with the little driver bit to screw the clamp on. It's a good thing I'm not claustrophobic! Right Kim?

Bruce passed me the black water hose to slip over the nipple, it went on easy at first but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get it all the way to the bottom. I contorted, pushed, twisted to no avail, I could still feel a little gap. Bruce said, "It should go on all the way," then he hooked up his end and found out how hard it was. He was standing on the ground and had lots of power I was dangling over the pit. He finally said to just clamp it and I managed to screw the hose clamp and not drop the drill in the pit!

By that time I was so wore out, I couldn't back out of the door, Bruce had to pull me backwards, he probably wondered if he was going to have to get the tractor.

It was getting dark but Bruce was on adrenalin rush, the fountain was so close to being done, He finished putting the float in the back of the fountain and we had to take the little door off once again, we had that thing off and on too many times to count. I removed my coat once again, dove inside and plugged the heater in and turned on the water. 

It worked, it really worked!!! He left the cows out of that yard overnight to hopefully let the tar set up, it hasn't, it's waiting for the 70's. When he did turn the cows in, they were very suspicious, "That's not the fountain that we had!"

Cows are funny that way but after a new days they gave in and started drinking, now Bruce finds them gathered around the fountain in the morning, kind of like the office workers around the water cooler.

The cows probably get as much done as some office workers.

1 comment:

  1. Oh boy Julie, you are so brave.....I was getting nervous just reading about what you did. To close for me ;-)

    Now no worries about freezing fountains !!!!