I was rejoicing in the warm weather (20 degrees) and that we were getting chores done early when we discovered the pig water hydrant was dry. The frost-free hydrant worked during the morning pig feeding but it was not giving up any water tonight. The four adult pigs were completely out of water and we were at least ¼ mile from the nearest water source.
It was day seven of an arctic chill but the day's warmer temperatures seemed balmy by comparison to the sub-zero weather and wind of the last few days. Despite the relative warmth, we were being warned that a “bombogensis” is on its way. Apparently a bombogensis is the formation of a rapidly strengthening weather system and this one threatened to bring more freezing temperatures, a foot of snow and hurricane force wind. We fed out extra hay to all the cattle, put the bucket on the bobcat for plowing and plugged in all the diesel engines.
Diesel machinery is very sensitive to cold and lately our diesel powered pickup has frequently sputtered and died in the frigid cold. The Bobcat, also diesel powered, dies unpredictably as well. Usually it needs the heat of the torpedo heater to come back to life so we are always glad when it quits near a power outlet. But now we needed to get water to the pigs, a problem we never expected.
Both Bruce and I were quiet as we watched the dry hydrant and thought about the pigs water. Bruce had the idea that we could fill one of the barrels we use to store brewer's grain with water, then deliver it to the pigs in the bucket of the bobcat. We could scoop water out of the tub with a bucket. As I was watching the water fill the barrel, Bruce got the hydrant to work … ever so briefly and only once, then it stopped. At least we knew the hydrant wasn't frozen and it was just a broken part, not a frozen water line. So on Thursday, during the bombogensis, Bruce will venture out in search of a replacement part.
Meanwhile we'll keep manually watering the pigs who seem to be always hungry and thirsty. Bombogenesis or not, we continue to provide room service to the pigs and the cows. This is one hotel that never closes.