Monday, December 7, 2009


The sound of a frozen brain in a frozen world.

I simply could not figure out this morning what was reasonably possible to do in a world below freezing and still covered with snow. The sun was out and it was supposed to get warmer, but when? The day is usually half over before the melt really begins. If I drive down my driveway will I be able to get back up?

I finally got moving and the snow receded quite a bit during the day. My planned chore of a trip to the dump was sidetracked. I need to work on emptying the cozy cabin so the drywall can be taped, mortared and textured without all the stuff in the way.

But, the well froze in the snow storm and it only got down to 22 degrees. Not really cold by high mountain standards. I covered it with a blanket and put a light underneath to thaw the thing. Great now I will have to put up with this wet rag on the well head all winter.

Then another light went off when I finally started moving. I will build a hideous wooden box for the well head. The warming light can go inside. Maybe some insulation can be added. I will not be dealing with a frozen well this winter.

A couple of hinges and a latch and the hideous box for the well head will be done. If I get ambitious I might even paint it. It may even do temporary duty as a insulated, two kitty sized, cat house for a spell. It came with a built in door on the back side to go around some pipes and wiring.

Certainly people further north must just forge ahead during the winter ignoring the deep freeze. Such a mind set has yet to come to me. Cold confuses me. A kind of paralysis sets in.

Feeling a bit like a fish out of water or that I am just not mentally prepared this year.


We'll just have to look for ways to keep moving and have fun at the same time.

More weather approaches.



Anonymous said...

This looks to be a wild ride of weather this year, if the beginning is any indication. I see some of the mountain residents are having a terrific time. The box is not hideous, it is necessary. You will figure out a way to make it cool, just like the cozy cabin. We have never had a well, but it seems like there might be heaters or something for them? What do people do farther north about the cold? Build huge houses around the wellhead? Maybe you need a book about cold living.


Christopher C. NC said...

Frances I had an extra wire with outlet run up to my well head. A light bulb is generally enough to keep them unfroze. I am going to look into using a hollow chimney tile to put around it. Mostly people up here use those fake fiberglass rocks.

Lola said...

I agree with fairgarden. The box is not ugly, it is a useful object that your talents will change. I remember that my brother just put a light bulb to keep his from freezing.
I must admit those fake rocks are hideous. Ours in N.C. was under ground so it never froze.
Oh, I sure hope Crawford is not stuck there. A fish!!!!!!

sweetbay said...

Your cat doesn't look fazed by the weather, at any rate. :)

Jim/ArtofGardening said...

Sure the box is ugly, but you'll figure out how to paint a Fibonacci-based pattern on it and it'll be your favorite thing ion the Outside Clyde grounds..

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I agree that the box is ugly. Maybe you should stack rocks around it to hide it. Do you have to get to the well head very often? I have not seen one on top of the ground.

Anonymous said...

yes, we used a light bulb on our old well and it worked well (haha). Ours was half underground in a concrete bunker which is still there - talk about ugly!
I agree with the others that your imagination will find a way!
I love your sense of humor about the cold at least. My husband, a Floridian, has never really adjusted after 35 years in our moderate Mid Atlantic temps - so you are actually adjusting very well! (there's that word again!)


chuck b. said...

I was going to say paint the box too, but rocks might look better. That wood won't last from year to year anyway.

I find the cold kind of invigorating, but it's a matter of degrees. My cold is invigorating; yours is stupefying.

Gail said...

Maybe the hideous box needs a roof on it so it looks like a kitty Gazebo? I used the lightbulb technique to keep the pipes from freezing right where they entered the cellar in our first house. We didn't get the snow that East Tennessee got...but the rain is here to stay. gail

Siria said...

Hi Christopher! I too agree with everyone that you will come up with a very creative way to transform the cover to the well head. Unfortunately we have one of the hideous fake rocks to cover ours. At least it is not too close to the house. Ours froze one year and we insulated the inside of the fake rock and haven't had a problem since. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with to transform that cover! :)

Phrago said...

Hey I own the same fish candle holder... Patrick

Christopher C. NC said...

Lola a light is all it seems to take. I did not buy a $200 fake rock for my well when it was put in. I'll think of something else.

Sweetbay this was during the warmer end of the day. They are getting more particular about when they will venture outside in the cold.

Now Jim that will be a challenge, a Fibonacci pattern. How about an impressionist meadow instead?

Lisa I can't put rocks around it. The box is big because it is grand central station for water lines that goes out all over the property. I doubt the resident gardeners will want the box in their way come summer time.

Bev I hope this cold becomes second nature at some point. I'm not sure why they do the well heads like they do around here and don't place them below grade as a matter of course. Oh well!

Chuck if I paint it it will last longer. It was made from scraps so no big cost involved. The real stupefying part is the wind.

Gail we had mega rain last night that is going to turn to cold tonight. Hopefully I can finish the well box today.

Siria unless the make jumbo hideous fake rocks I don't think one would even fit over this well head. I think it was installed before the era of the hideous fake rock and is rather spread out compared to my new well head.

Patrick the fish is in the mini-Japanese garden below the main deck of the resident gardeners house.

lisa said...

As a hard-core winter dweller, let me offer a couple suggestions: heat tape for pipes, and an adjustable milkhouse heater for larger areas. I think your "ugly" well box would look really cool if you insulated it in and outside, then covered it with tongue and groove log siding for a "mini" cabin. You could then add a "garage" on the side for a kitty shelter. (Just be sure that the entrance is a U or L-shape, so the wind won't blow staright into the shelter area.

lisa said...

I got to thinking-if your well box was a mini cabin, then you could put some bushes or trees nearby and prune them to bonsai form. Just sayin' :)

Christopher C. NC said...

Hi Lisa. There actually is heat tape with thermostat wrapped around the exposed pipe and covered with insulation and then foil tape. The problem seemed to be the pipe was freezing inside the cement well casing just below grade. The milkhouse heater would heat more than the lightbulb I have in there now.

Before I go all exotic on this hideous box there would have to be approval from the actual owners of said well, my parents. They are not here in the winter and just shut things down. Me being here is causing the frozen well head troubles. In the summer this is grand central station for watering the gardens and if they find it difficult to get to that, it will have to go for the summer into stoarage.

All this is good learning for protecting my own well head for next winter when I plan to be living in the cabin.

lisa said...

I well IS below grade, just exposed to more air in the crawlspace under the house (to the point where it can freeze in winter, also not designed for such weather at the outset. I'm the genius who decided to live in a summer cottage year-round :) Some of my problem is ice melting and dripping onto the ground very near the well too, which exacerbates the situation, to be addressed next spring for sure. Ah well, it's all a learning curve.