It’s Nanowrimo, National Novel Writing Month, and being the rebel that I am, I’m working on a nonfiction book about farming. I’ve been writing all morning when I look out the window to see the water fount in my front chicken coop lying at an angle on the ground.
It was inevitable. I have several of these heated water founts, and only one with its original handle. After a season or less of hanging on a metal S-hook, the plastic handles give way.
My Nanowrimo writing goal is 2000 words a day, and I’m halfway there, but chickens must have clean water at all times. This won’t wait. I hit the Save icon, and go outside to fix what’s broken.
First, I wash out the base and the barrel. I don’t want to work with dirty equipment, and the water fount has to be washed every time it is filled.
A piece of the handle is stuck in the hole. I tap it out. Then I go in search of a piece of baling wire. I recycle the wire from my square bales of hay, and I try to keep a clean wind of wire inside my barn.
I keep a length of plastic water hose there, too. And a tool bucket. I grab my wire nippers, my favorite needle-nosed pliers, and a pair of utility scissors. I’m ready.
I slide the plastic water hose over the wire before I fit the wire into the holes that once held the plastic handle. The water hose is necessary. The wire alone cuts your hand when you’re carrying three gallons of water.
After I’ve secured the wire, I refill the fount. But first I have to devise a stand to hold the once-flat barrel. The new handle doesn’t lay flat, but two blocks, a couple of inches apart to accommodate the handle, does the trick.
It has been less than half an hour since I saw the broken fount. I return the repaired water fount to its hook, and before I walk away, two of my hens are drinking.
Not all fixes are so simple. I was ready for this one because it had happened before. I had all my tools and parts where I could find them. Like a Scout, this farm girl was prepared, but she knows the next job might not be so simple. Or expected.