The Nature of Still Water

We’re holding our breath here this morning at Wild Ozark, waiting to see what happens when the lines on the mountain thaw.

See, we’d insulated all the lines under the house and figured, hey, it shouldn’t freeze now under there tonight – let’s see what happens. Well, we forgot about the nature of still water in cold weather. If we didn’t leave a tap open, the water would no longer be flowing anywhere in our lines… it would become still.

And it did what still water does.

Now we most likely have a solid line of ice in the lines all the way from the tank at the top down to the house at the bottom.

The other natural thing that water does when it freezes is expands.

ice lifting rock

That’s why those little ice shards are lifting rocks. Because it’s expanding. But the thing about those shards is that it expands upwards because there’s nothing standing in the way except the weight of that little rock. To the sides of whatever little puddle of water froze, there is the surrounding earth keeping it contained, and that earth is stronger than the freezing water. Inside a water line, the thing standing in the way is the wall of the water line. And the ice is usually stronger than the plastic used to hold that water, especially when the plastic has been exposed to sunlight for a few years, causing it to become less flexible.

We don’t get our water from a well or a municipal water tower in the area. Our water comes from a spring about 500 yards above us on the mountain behind our house. It’s held in a 1500 gallon tank about 300 yards above the house on the mountain below the spring. This arrangement comes with a bit more maintenance than you’d find in most set ups. Keeping it flowing during winter is critical.

So, when it all thaws out I’ll take a little hike up the mountain to see what I find. This has happened once or twice before in the last 10 or so years. It’s always a spectacular show. I’ll bring the camera with me, just in case.

The Verdict

Update at 1144: Whoo-hooo! We got lucky. No leaks. I did bring the camera though and took some photos of the spring and cave out that way. Couldn’t get too close to the cave because the rocks I would have had to cross were slippery with ice and algae. I’ll post those when I get a chance later and leave the link here for you.

 


About Wild Ozark
Wild Ozark is a nature farm. Mostly we grow rocks. I use those rocks and some of the herbs to make earth pigments and watercolor paints. We also grow native clay that I use for making my Fairy Swing Mushrooms. And then there are the trees. We grow lots of trees. My husband uses some for his woodworking and some for our Burnt Kettle Shagbark Hickory Syrup, but for the most part they stand around creating good air, shade, & habitat for the ginseng nursery.
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About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods
I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. You can find my art on display and for sale at the Kingston Square Arts shop in Kingston, Arkansas. It's a tiny little town and a bit off the path to anywhere at all, but a wonderful ride out to a most beautiful part of our state. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making arts & crafty things, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.

4 thoughts on “The Nature of Still Water

  1. When I was a kid we had a country-house with water from a well.. I remember how we had to go with the buckets during winter when pipes where frozen.. I’m glad the ice didn’t damage the pipes.

    1. Our water freezes at least a few times every winter, mostly because I forget to leave the water running when I know it’s going to be cold. But I’m glad we don’t have to haul buckets to the house! I usually keep several jugs of water filled and stashed away, just in case we freeze. Some of these I use to water the chickens. Fortunately, when it’s very cold here the freezes do thaw in usually less than a week, so it’s not a long-term inconvenience. I’m glad the lines didn’t have leaks too 🙂

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