Monday, December 28, 2009

Lazy Chickens?

That flock I got back in the summer (see earlier posts) as chicks have reached maturity, and should be laying... but they're not, at least not yet.

Don't know if the colder weather and overcast skies have been discouraging them, or if they're just lazy bums eating all my feed and giving me nothing in return.

Egg-laying is triggered by light, I've learned. So again, maybe it's the gray days we've had through much of December. But the combs have grown full and there's leg coloration (the legs turn yellow on many breeds when they're ready to start laying), both indicators that they're ready to start earning their keep around here...

On other fronts--- been spending time doing some basic pruning of domestic plants and clearing. You can never do enough clearing, when it comes to fire readiness. And no, we're not in any fire danger right now, but it's easier to do some clearing when it's cool out; less sweat, less heat exhaustion, and no canyon flies. Canyon flies are incredibly annoying miniature flies that zero in on moisture; so they're always diving at your eyes and trying to get in your ears. They're dormant in cold weather, which is very nice.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

More About Wells

We had the temperature drop below freezing for several nights in a row a few weeks ago, and it brought to mind another issue about wells--- or at least my well.

Our well pumps water into a small pressure tank prior to pumping it up the hill to our house. Which means there are several feet of exposed pipe. And, when it freezes... well, so does the water in the pipe, which means no water gets pumped.

To combat that I use heat tape. Couldn't find any in the hardware stores around here (too urban) to I ordered some online. It works great--- it's just an electrical line encased in a plastic/rubber insulation which radiates heat. Not a lot, but enough to warm the pipe when you affix it with a loop of wire.

My understanding is that heat tape uses a lot of electricity, but I haven't noticed too big a jump in the bill, and it's not like we have a choice. One time when I forgot to plug it in and we got hit by a surprise freeze, my wife had to go down to the well and aim a blow dryer at the pipes so she could take a shower.

Needless to say, I never forgot the heat tape again.