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Forty Years with Birds and Dogs 

The Hose of Winter

Ms.Khaki

Do it right the first time--like turn the faucet All the way off. Especially if the temperature drops below 14 F. If water dribbles down the hose, even a little bit, you're hosed.

I've got a long hose. It runs all the way down the hill, laid out carefully so there are no sneaky hillocks for water to Not climb over, all the way down the regulation 100 feet to the birds' pen. But when I left the faucet just slightly open one long, dark, very cold night, the dribbling water must have been able to freeze fast enough to build up and fill the entire length of hose with ice.

However--and this is a big however--especially if you don't live in sunny New Mexico--if you can manage to rearrange the hose--without snapping it in two-- so the sun can hit it--all of it--you might be able to flush out the ice and drain the remains before the birds get up the next morning. (Are there too many dashes in that sentence?)

Not that ducks have to have individual bathtubs to survive. They do fine, the websites say, with nothing but drinking water. But they love fresh water. So Much! They dabble, you know--eat mud whenever they can get it--so the water quickly gets muddy within seconds, literally. But they love fresh water Very Much. who could deny them that. I couldn't, so I lugged 4 buckets of luke warm water down to the pen that hose-frozen morning and watched with great delight as they curled into their bathtubs and washed their feathers clean using their necks as wash rags. (Actually, I think The Country Store sells those untipable tubs for horse watering troughs.)

Happy Holidays Bird Fans. May your hoses never freeze. Cary

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