Hi Sally & Christy!
Happy New Year to everyone! I apologize for not getting back to you sooner but as you've probably heard, we've had quite a bit of rain here in So. California. It's kept me busy and exhausted trying to care for and protect my flock. I've spent as much as 3.5 solid hours at a time outside slogging through heavy mud and digging channels to divert the water away from the coops.
Yes, Sally, I have indeed tried to implement the suggestions offered here. I put together an automatic watering system using the drinking-water-safe hoses as suggested by Jay but need to get some water pressure reducing valves as two of the auto-waters have blown already. Every project has a learning curve for me!
And..for the holidays, as a gift, I got a brochure for an ATV (which meant that I cvould pick one out)! So Christy, your message was right on target! I looked up the dealers and the closest ones are about an hour away so I need to find the time to go. I'll have to wait until the traffic around here settles down a bit and the canyon roads are re-opened. We have collapsed houses, mudslides, rock slides etc.
Just as an aside and I hope no one minds this: I want to pass on that the Martha Stewart website is going out of business and her gardening boots are on sale. (I hope some are left - they're the green ones w/orange trim) With the thick mud, my hardware store "wellies" would literally get sucked off my feet when I tried to walk out there. It was very frustrating. So..I had never ordered anything from the MS site as it's pretty expensive I think (and her shipping cost is still outrageous) but after one particularly tearful day, I ordered the on-sale green boots for myself and I have to admit that I love them. Their fit is so much better than the others and I haven't lost one in the mud yet!
My thanks to you all for your help.