The next morning I shuffled out to check on the “heat tape of hope” on “the pipe of stupidity”. En route I found a chicken. Just sitting there in the snow. As if that made perfect sense. Dumbass!
“Where the hell were you?” I asked. The chicken didn’t respond.
Two more popped up near my truck. The rest were in the coop. I have a smallish unheated barn with three parts blocked out for chickens. At the present I only use one. The other two are “closed”… except “closed” is a relative term. A barn is not a house and it’s a bit creaky and there’s an open spot for the barn cat to gain entry.
Sometime between sunset and dawn the remaining chickens had “broken in” to the cat accessible area of the barn, threaded a damaged section of the interior fencing, and were happily picking away at a “coop” area that was theoretically off limits. One had laid an egg.
Off in the distance I heard Bowling Pin Chicken (a duck) quacking in his usual Gilbert Godfrey voice. I was tempted to check the odometer on my truck. Had they gone on a beer run while I was sleeping?
As for the pipe, I could move the lever to “closed” but there was no tell tale gurgle of water retreating to the subsurface. Yesterday I couldn’t even move the lever. It was an improvement but I wasn’t out of the woods yet.
I went back to the house and took a nap. It’s been a long week.
When I woke up I had it figured out. The iced hoses!
With a little elbow grease I got the iced hoses off. With the “air gap” restored the water gurgled down to the underworld where it’ll stay thawed. Pipes thawed; rookie mistake overcome!