Winter Water and Lead #2

I’m not a s-l-o-w learner in everything. It only took one winter of smashing ice to insert a heater into this black water tank. That heater, tank and homemade support stand are in their 8th winter without failing. It’s easy to move by dumping the water and walking the wood frame end over end. We set up the blue tank this winter in the barn pasture and had to return the first two heaters. Third time is a charm. Because it’s on a slope stabilized with wood planks, John placed extra fence posts for visual warning so the horses won’t step on or near the support boards.

Noble and Boaz also have a running creek year round. Do you think I could get them to the creek for this photo? No way.

One marvelous investment, if you use hoses, is quick disconnect gizmos for each end. They are $10 per set and worth every dollar. We never have frozen water in our hoses because after every use in winter, they are laid downhill and disconnected from the outdoor faucet on the house. The end at the faucet I place over a nearby tree branch, so water runs out of both ends of the hose. Voila! These hoses never have water in them, so they can be hooked up and water runs, even in sub-zero temps.

WRITING TIP: This is the second installment of five on how to lead an article. I’m using a story I wrote on Winterfrost Farm as the example. It’s a horse rescue in Radford, Va., known for the Ride-A-Rescue trail riding program which raises money to care for neglected, rescued horses. [www.winterfrostfarm.org]

You may only have a few seconds to capture a reader’s or editor’s attention and the whole success may reside in your lead. It has to draw in the reader and push them to the next sentence and the next and so on. There are several good angles to consider for a lead, and in the last tip, I wrote why not a question. When you ask a question, the reader stops to think of an answer and you lose his or her attention.

Lead #2 tip: You may not be crafting a statistical report, but this doesn’t mean you can’t use statistics effectively. If you are writing about a distance learning curriculum at your local community college, begin with how many people across the country take classes online or how many courses are offered online, then zero in on your local or regional subject. Big numbers get attention. Here are two examples, with the Winterfrost Farm piece second.

The National Retail Federation estimates that 250 million roses will sell for Valentine’s Day in 2017 and between flowers, jewelry, chocolates, dinner out and other gifts, Americans will drop a staggering $18+ billion. Local florists enjoy the busiest day of the year on Feb. 14, and restaurants are gearing up for long, romantic dinners with specialty desserts, wine and champagne. “We stock extra vases and long stemmed roses in all colors and have all hands on deck for Valentine’s Day ….” [local quote]

With some 170,000 unwanted horses abandoned each year and slaughter houses closed by the feds, equine rescue organizations have their hands, barns and pastures full and overflowing trying to care for them.