Today we went up on the ridge to check the spring and see why the water wasn’t flowing into our holding tank yet. It was warm yesterday and we thought it would be flowing by now. We found a couple of places where the pipe had pulled apart and when Doug fixed that, the water started to flow again. However, a surprise awaited us as we walked further into the woods. We came upon this bizarre collection of ice stalagmites and pinnacles, the highest one reaching probably 10 feet up into the trees! They looked like ghosts in the brown backdrop of the woods. What had happened, we imagine, is that the water in the pipe was still frozen down the pipe past the section coming out of our spring cave furthest up on the hill, and when the water started to flow again, it was blocked at the frozen point and so it squired out of a connection that was nearby in the pipe, like a geyser. It must have been squirting out for several days. That connection had a bulge in it as proof of what had happened. It would have been amazing to see this in action!
Our spring comes from a cave up on the ridge above the house. A black plastic pipe runs from the cave reservoir down into a 1,000-gallon holding tank, from which it then runs into the house with a pump. When the temps dip into the single digits (we’ve had a lot of those lately), the water in the black pipe freezes up, but we still have water because we have the holding tank. But when the temps warm up, we have to walk the pipe to find breaks and fix them to get the water flowing again. The spring has never dried up even in a bad drought we had about 4 years ago. Doug installed a valve in the reservoir he opens and closes depending on the season. In the summer, he closes it off more because the flow from the cave isn’t as strong and so air can easily get into the pipe (that’s a pain too; stops the flow!) when the water level drops below the pipe opening. In the winter he opens it to get more flow so that the water won’t freeze as quickly since it is flowing quicker.
Here's a link to a previous blog entry I did about our cave spring, which includes some pictures of the outside of the cave:cave spring