It’s definitely cold out there

I don’t mind when the weather gets colder and the temperature dips below freezing.

I don’t mind working outside when it drops to -10C, when I have have to wear gloves or get frost burn, and I have to break ice in the troughs every few hours.

I don’t even mind when the temperature drops to between -14C or so overnight, frost crystals sprout on every surface, and I have to feed the pigs more frequently.

But when I take down the digital thermometer’s monitor from inside the window, remove its probe from its mount under the eaves, and take it up the hill only to have it fail because the batteries have frozen, then I do start to mind and begin to think it’s definitely cold enough.

Before the batteries failed, I checked the poultry houses where the temperature was hovering around 9-10C at chicken height. Floor temperature was -5C.

I also checked the pig huts, which are insulated and filled with straw.

The adult pigs were enjoying air temperatures of 10-12C, the porkers 9C and the sow with piglets 10.5C. The temperature under the straw and close to the pigs was positively toasty so I didn’t worry about checking it.

I then took the thermometer’s monitor and probe out to the centre of the hill.

The display fell rapidly through -10C to -14.5C and then it faded out.

At the same time, the light from my head torch faded and went out.

The batteries in both had failed in the cold.

It was definitely cold out.

I went back inside, remounted the thermometer and probe, and left the batteries to thaw.

Later, I spoke to the farmer across the road, who has lived here his entire life. He said it was just about the coldest he could remember.

In fact, it was so cold he’d taken his sheep off agistment on our field and taken them home to his barn for warmth.

He doesn’t have a thermometer and with ours out of action, we were left wondering just how cold it was out in the field, although we agreed that was definitely cold enough!


5 Responses to “It’s definitely cold out there”

  1. Well, the thermometer batteries thawed and we were able to record the overnight temperature beneath the eaves of the house. Last night we had a low of -17.1C.

    The eaves benefit from the radiated warmth of the house and there’s usually a discrepancy of 3-5 degrees between the lowest temperature at the eaves and the lowest temperature out in the field. So, I’d expect the overnight low in the field to have been somewhere around -20C.

    According to the BBC, the overnight low at Aberdeen airport was -19C. Normally, the airport readings are 2-3C warmer than ours, so that also supports my best guess of -20C or thereabouts on the croft.


  2. mummys little angel Reply 3 December, 2010 at 15:44

    My chickens are more less fending for themselves as we dare not shut the pop hole in case we can get across to feed them. The are ok for now but if they start to suffer I will have to do something more permanent.

    Definitely a drop in temperature today. That means the snow will stay longer and we will be snowed in for a week plus!

  3. it was -18.7 degC 5 miles from you where we are up hill from Old Rayne, but we are at 120m above sea level, but Stonehead croft is about 220m? a much colder spot!
    came across several people who couldn’t start diesel cars today
    but more likely to be water in the tank or fuel filter water trap freezing than the diesel itself.
    or diesel waxing?

    today’s maximum was -5 degC

    BBBRRRR indeed!

    • It’s the usual thing: people not knowing enough about their cars and not being prepared to stay on top of the basics. In this sort of thing, diesels need really strong batteries, glow plugs in excellent condition, regular draining of the fuel filter water trap, and a fuel tank that’s kept at least three-quarters full (reduces ice formation and makes life easier for the fuel pump). It’s also well worth keeping a couple of spare fuel filters in the vehicle. If water freezes in the ones in the fuel lines, it’s simple to replace them.

      Oh, and don’t subject diesels to long idles in cold conditions—not matter how tempting it is to keep the cabin warm. Idling diesels in cold weather suffer from poor lubrication to the cylinder walls and that means scoring. Not good.

  4. *Brr* I am glad I live in the Southern USA, and we rarely get that cold even in February.

    Hopefully not to be too off subject but I was back reading a bit on the Scots Greys, I was wondering have you chosen a cock yet to replace Orville for next year’s breeding ?
    And how is Gus taking to being the head boar of your herd know ?

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