Heated Waterer

In December the heated waterer for my chickens opted to discontinue functionality.   Thankfully I follow several chicken bloggers and many of them spoke of making their own cookie tin water heater.  Since I didn’t have $50 to replace the waterer or buy a heater, I set myself to build a quick cookie tin water heater.  The cookie tin cost $1 and the socket with cord was $6.   I didn’t purchase the equipment that others had to build the socket into the side of the tin so I simply cut a slot into the side of the tin and laid the cord inside.  This worked phenomenally and got me through the bitter cold that had my barn at a toasty -22 (it was -45 with wind chill outside!)  A week after the cold snap, the heater wasn’t working.  Turns out that the plastic socket couldn’t handle the heat generated inside the cookie tin and it had fried the on/off switch.

So I am back to using a small 1 quart heated dish – not acceptable.  Yesterday I went to the hardware in search of items necessary to make a more resilient heater.  I picked up a galvanized pan ($5.99), porcelain socket ($5.29), heavy-duty switch ($2.29).   While looking for the items I thought I needed an employee asked if he could help.  I told him what I was planning and he said, well you might want to let someone else help you out – wouldn’t want to electrocute those chickens.  Told him messing it up would be a challenge since it was simply a matter of making sure the hot was wired to hot, and grounds were wired to grounds.   Mother reminded me that not everyone has the opportunity to know the difference between hot and grounds.  Thanks (AGAIN) to Dad for making sure we understood so many basic principles and Mom for making sure we knew how to learn what we didn’t understand.

In case any one is concerned about doing wiring yourself, I thought I would show how easy it is.  First,  you will want to drill holes in your galvanized pan.IMG_0906[1]  I was able to find PLENTY of bolts and nuts to attach the porcelain socket to the pan.  If you don’t have a ready supply of those, might want to buy some at the hardware.  I also drilled a larger hole at what will be the bottom of the pan to run wiring out.  There are actually only 2 holes I’m using to attach the socket to, but because I didn’t tighten it down and drill the 2nd hole I ended up having it off by 1/8″ so I had to drill an other hole.  It happens, not the end of the world.  OH, if you aren’t familiar with drill bits – the shiny bits typically are for wood, the black ones work on metal.

IMG_0909[1]Then you can attach your porcelain socket to the pan with a couple of bolts and nuts.  IMG_0905[1]I have it wired already in this picture.   Then you can start wiring 🙂   I used the plug from the waterer that quit working, just took it apart and took out the wiring.  Black wires are typically hot, white wires are ground.  The switch  interrupts the hot signal to turn something off.  I had two sections of wire, so I attached the white ground wires together in the switch box and attached the black ends to the screw points by simply stripping about 1/4″ of the coating off and making a hook out of the exposed wires.  Once that hook is around the screw, simply screw it down to hold the wires into place.

IMG_0908[1]Since I am going to be using this in the barn around water I wanted to add some additionalIMG_0907[1] protection so I added Buytl tape.  This is a soft putty that is used around windshields.  Uncle Wayne introduced me to it.  I just rolled it out into a thin strip and put it all along the edge before screwing the two halves back together.  I wrapped a small string of Buytl around the where the wires feed in to make certain that no moisture could get through there either.

IMG_0910[1]Wrap the wiring with electrical tape.  And feed the end through the pan so you can hook it up to the socket.  To identify where to hook up the hot and ground, the hot wire is going to connect to the screw that will provide electricity to the light bulb.  The ground will not be touching any thing.  You can see in the picture above that the white ground wire is going to the white screw.  The hot black wire is going to the gold screw which connects to the gold plate at the bottom of the socket and will conduct electricity to the bulb.  The second part of the porcelain socket screws on top of the wiring to protect it.

IMG_0911[1]I did not leave any excess wiring inside the pan where the heat will collect – I pulled it out and then mounted the switch to the outside of the pan with a little more buytl tape (LOVE THIS STUFF).   And guess what – works PERFECTLY.  It’s out in the barn now warming up the waterer.   One thing I will add is a sheet of metal to attach to the bottom to  assure that flammable material doesn’t get into the heated area.  Not too worried about electrocuting the chickens, but I certainly wouldn’t want to roast them either.

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The One about Stephen R. Covey

The One about Stephen R. Covey (Photo credit: kndynt2099)

It’s that time of year when we are blasted with weight loss, stop smoking, and self- improvement. Setting goals for life is an important aspect for many individuals. When I read self improvement articles or books a common suggestion is writing down a list of goals to accomplish along with a timeline and regular assessment schedule. Certainly the incredibly successful individuals who make these recommendations know what they are talking about; Stephen R Covey, Lee Iocca, Marrissa Meyers, Jeff Bezos, Anne Mulcahey, and Warren Buffet. Even the more bohemian type leadership of entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, and Larry Page subscribe to the belief of defined goal lists, with well defined points of measurement, and identified date for completion.

This is an incredible challenge for me as I tend to not focus very well on what I want to accomplish. The primary goal in my life is to maintain, avoid change. As I am trying to master the art of change, maybe this year I should consider who I want to be and what I want to accomplish in my life. Not only that but how do I accomplish these objectives with the resources on hand.

At this point you are expecting an infamous list.  Nope, consider this part of my resolutions – I do not do lists.  I find them pernicious to writing. There is the numbered list, is the author saying these numbers reflect some value or importance? According the “rules” that is the purpose of the numbers. How was this value determined, is it a personal opinion or a relevant evaluation done through scientific measurement and appropriately verified? Then there is the undefined bulleted list. Supposedly utilized to quickly identify aspects, attributes, characteristics that could not otherwise be clarified. OR more commonly used now to highlight information the author didn’t feel like writing into sentences.

So tonight I will contemplate what I would like to change about me this coming year. Maybe I will even come up with one of those outstanding lists of goals that come highly recommended from successful people. There are a few lessons I learned this last year that I will strive to continue. Being kind to myself, sounds so simple, but it is a challenge. Spend less time attaching value to finances and ownership, accepting the worth of skill, knowledge, and deeds not only in myself but in those around me. Surround myself with positives. The people I spend time with are a choice. Do not internalize negatives, focus on statements and actions that enforce my worth. Most importantly LET GO of statements and actions that do not enforce my worth. It is nice to end the year satisfied with the life lived and know that I have the opportunity to continue to improve. Hmm . . . consider that resolution number one for the coming year! And yes, I am using priority numbering.