Sunday, January 14, 2007

Strange Phenomena

Last night it was unusually cold — about 26 or 27 Fahrenheit at ground level, and this cold was sustained for several hours. The produced a couple of phenomena that we’re just plain not used to out here in Jamul!

One phenomenon was that our bird waterer froze solid. The tray is about an inch and a half deep. The dripper (which runs day and night) creates an almost perfect situation for icicle formation — a steady supply of liquid water dripping onto a surface that’s below freezing temperature. You can see the result — nice, big, long icicles. In Jamul! The birds appeared to be a bit puzzled by the ice — they’re very used to the waterer, and this morning they’re there trying to drink, as usual. They look quite surprised when they can’t drink the ice!

The other phenomenon was orange tap water — bright rust color. Debbie spotted it first, at our kitchen tap; she called out “Tom, something is really wrong here!” After a little investigation, I discovered that it was both the hot and cold water, and after a while it ran clear again. I speculate that the cold temperatures either partially froze our pipes (a short length copper and PVC pipes are exposed to the air outside, and we have 50' or so of copper pipe in the unheated attic), or caused an unusually large shrinkage — and in either case broke loose some of the mineral deposits on the inside of the pipe. But that’s just speculation — for all I know, some plumbing disaster awaits us!

It’s supposed to be just as cold tonight…

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