Wednesday, March 9

A wintertime chore

During the winter, Scott and Bob's cows are kept in a leased pasture west of Casper without good running water, so that means almost every day in the cold months someone has to go out and open the small reservoir so the cows have something to drink when they need it.

Because the reservoir level has fallen slightly over the winter, Scott decided to open two new water holes for the cows. Usually, if they're regularly opened, all it takes is a shovel, iron bar or an ax to break the thin ice over the holes, but since he was opening a new hole Scott used a chainsaw to make the initial cuts, and good thing, because the ice turned out to be about eight inches thick and would have taken forever to open with an ax.

(note: this is before he got his new Husqvarna chain saw. I'm sure he'd love to go open new water holes this weekend just for an excuse to use it.)

After he cut the outline of the rectangle, he cut the big rectangle into chunks to make it easier to clear the water hole.

Of course the dogs were there to help. It was very extremely windy that day, as you can see by Lucy's ruffled fur.

Once the ice in the hole is completely free, it's time to take other tools to it to get it scooped out of there.

First thing is an ax, to get the big blocks broken into smaller chunks.

Lucy makes a good supervisor.

Then the smaller pieces of ice can be shoveled out of the hole.

Scott likes to leave the smaller, wet pieces of ice right around the hole's edge so they'll freeze and provide some rough traction for the cows when they come to drink. The girls love ice cubes - the cracking of an ice cube tray never fails to bring them to the kitchen at the house - and Lucy was wondering if the big chunk could be all hers.

But Foxy is the one who really goes nuts for ice.

She's such an odd little dog. But at least it doesn't take much to keep her happy.

And she likes chasing ice chunks across the reservoir. There is much slipping, sliding and skidding that goes on.

And then she takes her ice chunks and loses them in snow drifts.

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