Overwintering: water barrel

Continuing my look at things I need to prepare for the winter, let's take a quick look at my front garden water feature.

I added this half whiskey barrel to the walkway garden this year and have really enjoyed it -- the birds use it quite regularly. Since I won't have the stream running this winter, I've decided that I will keep this barrel filled with water all winter.


How exactly will I do that? I'll use a birdbath heater!

You can see it submerged in this photo, and of course you see the power cord coming out.

I bought this heater a few years back to keep the stream flowing all winter, and it did a good job. It's designed to shut off when it reaches 40ºF (4ºC) so it doesn't heat continuously, but it did a great job the other night when we got down to 16ºF (-9ºC).

I suspect deer have been drinking from it as the water level dropped pretty quickly overnight, but that's fine -- it's not too difficult to add a gallon or two of water from the kitchen every few days.

I do need to level this barrel a bit as it has settled somewhat, and I'll remove all of the leaves and most of the plants. There are no fish in here, but I guess there could be now...

Picture some birds drinking here. Every time I moved to the
window to snap a photo of them drinking they flew away.

If I hadn't decided to add the heater I would have had to empty out all of the water and store the plastic barrel insert indoors as I wouldn't want it to split from ice expansion. Using the heater was much less work, although it meant running an extension cord from the back of the house as there are no outdoor outlets in front.

Sounds like another project to add to the list. Maybe it would have been easier to empty the water out after all?


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Lisa  – (November 16, 2013 at 9:41 AM)  

We finally had an outlet added to the front of the house for things like this. One of those small life annoyances that are easily resolved.

Hoover Boo  – (November 16, 2013 at 4:10 PM)  

A bit of work, but fun to see the birds getting a drink, no?

Rock rose  – (November 16, 2013 at 4:39 PM)  

I like your water garden. Yes, I'll bet the deer were there drinking. We had the deer and the turkeys drinking from our water tanks the other day.

Alan  – (November 17, 2013 at 9:39 AM)  

I'd love to see turkeys drinking here! I know some of my neighbors see them once in a while. :)

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