Turn the sprinkler on and leave it: One Oklahoma plumber’s winter project

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HENNESSEY, OKLAHOMA -- Boyd Poteet turned the water on one Saturday morning.

He uses his cousin's sprinkler set 18 feet high on some old surplus runway mats.

"I'm a pro at this," he smiles.

An Oklahoma cold snap does the rest.

"Do you still like doing this," asks a visitor to his annual project?

"Oh yeah," he replies. "It's entertaining. It's something to do when it's too cold to do anything else."

It's been just about 40 years since his first nature aided ice sculpture.

Boyd placed that one in his front yard.

A few years later, he moved it to Taggart's Nursery next to the highway south of town so more people could see it.

"They'll stop out here on the highway and take pictures or even drive in to take pictures," he says.

Perfect ice forming conditions mean temperatures below 25 degrees and no wind.

Give it a few days and the clear well water freezes in fantastic layers over everything it touches.

Poteet recalls, "One year it was freezing for, like, more than a month, and we had water running constantly. It was just massive."

Boyd's cousin appreciates the ice for the outdoor advertising.

"You can see it for several miles," he says.

When the ice gets thick enough people stop.

Even reporters start sniffing around for a cool story.

Oklahoma's cold snaps rarely last longer than a week.

A whole winter might go by and Boyd's metal scaffold will stay ice-free.

So, he appreciates these times when he can look at Mother Nature's handiwork without thinking about the usual plumbers' labor of digging holes or working in crawl spaces.

All this is pretty easy for him, and pretty too.

"One night of really cold temperatures," he says.

Taggart's Nursery is located just south of Hennessey, Oklahoma on the west side of Highway 81.

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