Incidentally, knowing how to thaw a water pipe that has, as countrymen say, “just caught,” on some abnormally cold night is also an accomplishment of ingenuity. Too much heat applied too rapidly can crack a pipe. So such work should be done in moderation. Be sure the faucet of the stopped pipe is open. Then, locate the spot by sense of feel. It will be much colder than the rest of the pipe. First try wrapping it in cloths wrung out in hot water. If this does not produce results, gently pour steaming but not boiling water on the pipe from a teakettle. Stop after a minute or two to let the applied heat become effective. If necessary, repeat several times. For stubborn cases, an electric heater directed at the frozen spot can be used effectively.
When hunting for the seat of trouble look at the spot where the pipe comes through the floor. A crack between flooring and baseboard may be the air leak that has caused the trouble. Next examine the pipe along an exterior wall or in the direct range of a window. Frozen pipes concealed in partition walls, unless they are accessible through a panel of removable woodwork, are not for the amateur. They are for a plumber who will know how to reach the trouble without doing other damage.
Many are the expedients that life in the country and friendly chats with your own handy man can teach you. Some of them you will discover for yourself, for necessity, the mother of invention and country living, often presents minor emergencies that the house owner must meet and conquer for himself. That is part of the fun of living in the country. You have escaped the stereotyped city where such things are the concern of apartment house superintendents. In the country it is each man for himself.
In the home owner’s dream of country life, green lawns, rose gardens, and shady terraces have loomed large; but in the actual fulfillment, his house has of necessity come first. Beyond a sketchy clearing up of the most obvious debris, he may well come to the end of his first summer with practically nothing done to the grounds themselves. This is not entirely a disadvantage. It has been shown how too much may be done to a house in the first fervor of remodeling or restoration. It is the same with the land surrounding it.