This winter there have been ample discussion topics for the office water fountain, local coffee shop, church fellowship time, or school sporting events.
It started out with the bitter cold temperatures in December and continued as a discussion topic on and off all the way through the last round of below zero temps just last week. The lack of snow was a topic until that was replaced with the abundance of snow fall.
But of late, any discussion of either temperature or snowfall includes the frost in the ground, which, of course, is a result of the combination of the first two topics with drier than average soil conditions thrown in for good measure.
I'm like most of you that are reading this in that I have done my share of complaining about the cold temps and the snow shoveling of late. When I began to hear about all of the frozen waterlines folks were experiencing, I began to worry about the water temperature in the line entering our home. I have never personally experienced frozen waterlines in a home, but I know from the testimony of friends that it is bad.
And then there were the ever-increasing reports of frozen septic lines. We've lived in our home for 30 years and never experienced that problem. I just knew that I didn't want to experience it. I had a pretty good track record going until last week.
The drains began to slow. There would be some gurgling noises, too. I feared a frozen septic system. So, what did I do? I wisely (not!) cut my water usage. Changed from baths to short showers. I even began to do the laundry and took the loads to the laundromat. And what happened on Saturday? The system froze completely.
What is a fella to do? My wife wasn't very happy. She isn't a complainer. She really puts up with a lot from me. Did I mention she wasn't happy? It didn't take a very extensive search on the internet to find that reducing the hot water usage was not one of my better ideas. Makes sense now wish it had then.
No water coming into a house is a real hardship. No water going out of a house really clogs up the system (pun attended). I can laugh about it because my story has a happy ending (at least for now). I fortunately have an access besides the clean out where I could run a garden hose with hot water and after a couple of hours work eureka! The water was again flowing the direction it needed to flow. For now, we are spacing out hot water usage to over more of the 24 hour day rather than having long periods of inactivity.
State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says we've had a pretty cold winter so far. In fact, the period from the middle of October to the middle of January has been the coldest in Iowa since 1986-87. And this is the ninth coldest winter since Iowa began keeping track about 150 years ago.
To my great disappointment, Hillaker said the deep frost may be around for some time. "Typically, the greatest depth occurs right at the end of the winter season, or early March," he said.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the frost will be leaving soon. Did I mention my wife wasn't very happy? She didn't find the info from Hillaker any comfort either. Can you blame her?