Blade Chronicles: I Also Prefer My Water Liquid


It’s winter again.

Mom and I haven’t ridden together in weeks.  The ground is getting hard and my feet hurt walking on it.  My water is freezing over.

In last month’s edition of The Blade Chronicles, I showed you mom’s great way to get my water sparkling clean.

This month I think I’ll share mom’s newest project.

Last year mom told you all about her make-shift water trough pillows.  You can read it at The Green Horseman on Another Project: Winter Prep.

The project was crude.  Nothing fancy by far.  Mom bought attic insulation and made 3 pillows of them wrapped in thick black contractor bags.  She wrapped the pillows around the trough and duct-taped it all together.  It wasn’t pretty and I didn’t particularly like it at first.  I realized quickly, however, what it was that mom was doing.  She wasn’t actually crazy at all (this time).  The water froze less the whole winter.  Even in January when the windchill got below -30°F the water only developed an inch of ice or so (See that at Winter In Upstate New York).


As we came out of winter this year the days stayed above freezing but the ground was still a bit hard.  Mom had to rip the bags off the frozen ground and thaw soaked insulation where the bags had ripped throughout the winter.

The project was very successful but it was very temporary.

This year mom has really come a long way in her carpentry skills.  She’s begun building jumps.  She built a trail bridge; a gate for the pool.

This year mom wanted to upgrade the winter trough.  It got cold fast his year and our water kept freezing fast.  The pictures below show the trough with NO insulation at all.  The temperature was high teens for only a couple of days.

Mom wasn’t having that.  She knows I love my water and so does Tiger!

Mom got to work….

Mom came home one day with 2×4, plywood, and a can of black paint.
I heard her one morning working in the garage near the house.  I heard the saw going…and the power drill.

The next day she drove the ATV out with this giant box.  It was all black on the outsides. I gave her space but Tiger really wanted to see what was going on.  She had to shoo him away a few times.


She put the box over the top of the water.  It seemed to fit perfectly.

She took the attic insulation and stuffed it into the contractor bags again, but this time she stuffed the bags in the box around the trough.

She didn’t have a top for the box yet so she made do with thick plastic sheeting and black tape.


It’s still not the MOST attractive design, and it would be better with a solid top (she’s working on that part).  It could use another coat of paint but it’s too cold now for that.  So far, however, it is doing a good job of keeping the water….water.  Sure mom still has to break up the top film but compared to before the insulation it’s working better than ever.


Mom says if you’re interested in what exactly she did it was very simple.

The trough is a 100 gallon Rubbermaid.
The box measures 3′ deep, 5′ long, and 2′ high.  

Since she can’t fit plywood in her car she bought 4 sections of 2’x4′ plywood boards and a quart of flat black exterior paint.

She cut two boards to be 3′ and used them for the sides of the trough.  The extra foot was combined with the other plywood for the front and back.

She made a simple frame of 2×4 wood and attached the sides.

That’s it!


Mom also decided to take care of the chickens.  The coop wasn’t staying warm enough since it’s a little big for only 5 hens.  She found some discounted foam insulation board and covered it with reflective insulation. It isn’t perfect but the chickens stay a little warmer.

She also covered the run with thick plastic sheeting.  The chickens appreciate the outdoors with less wind.


  1. A floating cover makes a huge difference. I have used 2″ polystyrene for many years. Cut a bucket-sized hole for drinking and keep the rest of the tank covered. I have also done a tank inside a larger tank and filled the gap between and several inches in the bottom with wood shavings for insulation. So many options! Congrats on your design – and stay warm!


    1. Thanks for the info! I tried the buckets inside eachother and my buckets are the wrong size for it to work…. Last year I used the polystyrene floating cover but it did end up freezing and breaking apart with small pink foam pieces all around. I didn’t hate it though and it’s still in the barn ready to be used (I think you can see it in the photos…it is square because I couldnt fit a huge piece to cut down in my car, instead I bought some squares and taped them together.


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