I also have befriended thick wool socks and silk long underwear. I lost one of my FMS friends today. I was a pitchfork handle that had lost its fork, but we used the handle to break the ice these last few FMS. It finally broke today after breaking up many buckets of ice.
We figured out that the water from the hose was filling behind the circumferential ice of the barrel and pouring through little holes in the ice toward the center. Very odd. Wish us and our critters good luck here as it is supposed to get much colder.