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Unusually cold here

December 9, 2009

Ok, it can warm up a little.  Most of the time the arctic air makes its presence known on the other side of the mountain range, keeping central and eastern Oregon cold.  And we enjoy a relatively mild cold.  But, once in a while it slips over the mountains and it gets cold on the west side too.  This one is a doozy, it is even below 20°F at the coast.  

I know this sounds like a cake walk to all you cold climate dwellers, but if you’re not used to it, you’re not used to it. 

When it gets this cold the baling wire holding my jaw together gets a little cold, and I feel it.  I have noticed that the cold makes me as crabby as the extreme heat in the summer.  I came back today from moving the cows, and I castrated my hat!  Those stupid balls hanging down always getting hay in them or dragging through something the dogs always want to sniff  just needed taking care of 😉  That’s pretty irritable I would say.  Snip, snip and I felt much better!

I was hoping for snow to insulate the garden, but we have just been cold and dry, our low last night was 9ºF, and these past few days the temp has not been able to muster much over the low 20’s during the day.  We’ll see if I mulched the roots well enough.

However, the days have been beautiful, and bright.  And living the slow life just seems a little accelerated by keeping water going for the stock and the fires burning.  We lost power over the weekend and our phone was out for a week.  The funny thing was that we didn’t even notice that we didn’t have phone service.  Hangdog had crushed the wire working on the outside of the house, the DSL still worked but the phone didn’t.  And when the power went out we just plugged along with our gravity water and wood heat.  Not much difference from any other day, except no internet.  But our neighbors were frantic, no electricity = no fan on the  pellet stove, or pump for the well, and they were out of gas for their generator.  I guess life in the fast lane can slow to a screeching halt…  Meanwhile, our slow ways were paying off and we were able to keep warm and cosy.

I’m guessing though I won’t be so smug this weekend, when it warms up – we will have freezing rain, so I better dig out the tire chains.  And BTW, my Bog boots have been warm with one pair of socks – so far, so good 🙂

43 Comments leave one →
  1. December 9, 2009 7:22 am

    Beautiful frost shots. Really liked the macros. 🙂

  2. Marcia in Wyoming permalink
    December 9, 2009 7:57 am

    Pretty pictures! I envy your 9…we had -24 overnight – now up to -8 yea! Chopping ice in the creek with a sledge hammer – fun. It’s been a challenge to milk in the am – so many clothes on it’s hard to sit down on my stool. But..we have NO humidity – so folks say it’s a “dry-cold” …still #@%^ cold. Marcia

    • December 9, 2009 8:46 am

      Marcia, I am glad I have dried Della up. One less chore where I have to get my hands wet! Yeah I hear that dry cold thing all the time from my hubby – he’s from Montana. But he is always colder than I am. It’s just plain cold!!!

  3. December 9, 2009 8:01 am

    I with you on extreme heat and cold. I just can’t take it. My old bones hurt when a cold front is coming our way. I loved your photos of the frost, but the Della is just wonderful and so beautiful. The dogs in the truck were awesome as well as the woods. I don’t know how you get so much done with all that beauty surrounding you.

    Thank you for sharing the beauty of your world.

    • December 9, 2009 8:47 am

      Finding Pam, Thanks for the kind comments – we’re just waiting for warmer weather – rain and 40 degrees sounds good right now 🙂

  4. December 9, 2009 8:21 am

    I know what you mean, it’s been 0 degrees here, my woodstove is on a binge spree, always hungry. I have many things to do, but find myself perched in front of the woodstove with a cup of coffee and good books, and I’m not really interested in moving away from my warm little nest.

  5. December 9, 2009 8:23 am

    It’s nice to know that others get crabby when it’s cold! LOL! My Dh just chuckles at me when I loose my temper with the dumbest things, why, because I’m cold and just want to go inside and sit by the wood cook stove. Today, our windchills are…… ready for this…….. -35 to -45 F. Now let me tell you it’s miserable to do chores in and worse than that, I fret about our animals having to be out in it. They by and far have it so…. much better than 95% of the animals in our area. They each have their own barn, bedded heavily, plenty to eat and plenty to drink( served warm when it’s this cold) The poultry and pigs get a hot mash served twice daily, alfalfa hay to scratch/ rut , in and plenty of water.

    Love your pictures and are those Aussies? We have one red tri-color Aussie and one Border collie/ cross. They both are fantastic dogs to have and so smart!

    Bundle up, stay warm and keep the wood stove stoked.

    • December 9, 2009 8:52 am

      Kelle, it is funny isn’t how the silliest things make you mad when it is hot or cold 🙂 We dodge the bullet on the wind – we are in a sheltered area just to the south of the Columbia where 70 MPH winds are common in the winter – the fir trees only have vegetation on the west side the wind is so constant. Sounds like a jet engine from here, phew.

      I been splitting up the wood I hauled last week – that keeps me warm while I am outside! But the stove sure feels good 🙂

      Yep those are Aussies – two characters, err I mean bed warmers!!

      Stay warm!

  6. December 9, 2009 8:45 am

    Beautiful pictures and I love reading your blog. I know that you guys are freezing out west. We were a balmy -36 two mornings ago. -32 yesterday morning and -23 this morning! It’s turning into a heat wave! LOL

    • December 9, 2009 8:54 am

      Yeah I know – big on the wuss factor. What can I say? Ducks and Mossbacks don’t like the cold 🙂

  7. December 9, 2009 9:39 am

    8F in P. Hill, and we are bringing creek water to the poultry in a double bucket and yoke. Had to give the creek a good smack, too. No idea of the damage under the house or in the so-called “winter garden” hoophouse. Pump in wellhouse had a 100 watt incandescent under it and it still froze up.

    I’m baking a pumpkin for the birdies — the Ancona ducks are a riot. They check kiddie pool #1 — then kiddie pool # 2 — then all the frozen white buckets one by one — repeat — all the time ignoring the dishpan of nice water I put out for them. Habit is very, very strong.

    • December 9, 2009 10:19 am

      Risa, LOL at your ducks – the hens are getting their water carried to them in the morning and by afternoon their supply is thawed out in their greenhouse. Weeks like this make me glad we do not have our large laying flock anymore – no water, no eggs! Luckily our ram runs on water and is sitting in running water so no worries there.

      But the wood pile is diminishing too fast for me!

      Stay warm!

      • December 9, 2009 12:18 pm

        Figured out what to do … pulled up a broccoli . It was looking pretty sad anyways. Gave half to the chickens, and took a bunch of the leaves to the Annies (they have their own pasture). Draped them all over the dishpan.

        When they came over for lunch, somebody nibbled down to the waterline and said “Eureka!” Then they all drank. The, of course, somebody had to sit in it and bathe. Then they all did.

        Now they are sleeping in a heap in the sunniest spot. Hope the red-tail doesn’t see that.

        • December 9, 2009 1:02 pm

          Risa, I hope he/she doesn’t notice either – full tummies plus nap. Sounds like a plan. I’m rummaging for my boots chains – we may not get the Gorge winds, but we do get some of the cool air sneaking up from the waterfalls. Thinking of that 50 degree forecast for next week and some liquid sunshine!

  8. December 9, 2009 9:53 am

    We are cold here also. Warming up to 0 right now. The only thing good about this snow is it is a wet snow. And now with the cold it’s blanketing all the plants I didn’t get the insulating row covers on. Even if it warms up enough to melt the snow, that’s okay.

    Well, winter is here. Guess we had better buckle down and enjoy it.


    • December 9, 2009 10:20 am

      Linda, I think you’re right winter is here now and there is no escaping.

      Hopefully, we can send some warmer weather your way when it finally arrives here!

  9. Paula permalink
    December 9, 2009 9:56 am

    I’m in the Portland metro area, and yeah, it’s pretty cold out there. We live in the ‘burbs, and heating with a wood stove we had installed this past summer. Today I get to clean the garage and move the workbench so that when the Bear bricks are delivered, I’ll have a place to stack them. We’d also had a cord of wood delivered last summer, but didn’t have a clue how much wood we’d burn, so the bricks are necessary- we’re really burning it up! Your neighbor with the pellet stove who can’t run it is precisely why I didn’t want a pellet stove. That, and I hope to grow at least some of my firewood on my little quarter acre.

    So, I need to steel myself, suit up, and get out there. Well, maybe just one more cup of tea and another blog- the bricks won’t be here until after noon…..

    • December 9, 2009 10:23 am

      Paula, it is cold for here isn’t it? I’m trying to think of everything I need to do before the ice this weekend – my DH is on call at his work – so we may be on our own.

      One more blog can’t hurt can it 🙂

  10. December 9, 2009 10:11 am

    Wonderful pictures but I’d really like to see a pic of the cut hat 😉 I’ve castrated a few of those dangley things in my day too :0

    We were one of those running hither and yon trying to get the generator up and running………but then it was 35 below here that morning 😦

    • December 9, 2009 10:25 am

      Linda, that’s the problem with a gift hat – if I had knitted it myself, I would have left the balls off.

      I’m glad we don’t have a generator, just one more thing to keep running! Good thing you didn’t get rid of Allis!!

  11. December 9, 2009 10:22 am

    New reader here. I enjoy reading your blog and your pictures really add to it.
    Della looks like you posed her in the ne picture. Very pretty cow.

  12. December 9, 2009 10:31 am

    I forgot to ask
    What is Sour cream butter and how do you make it?

    I am new to milking and making my own dairy products. I will be taking over partnership/managment of a farm in Jan so I am trying to gather as many recipes as I can now before the big move.
    I will be going from Michigan to Missouri

    • December 9, 2009 1:05 pm

      Carol, sour cream butter is made from cream that has soured. It is an acquired taste though. Sweet cream butter is more common. Cultured butter is somewhere in between. All good though…

      Congrats on your move to MO 🙂

  13. December 9, 2009 11:08 am

    I’m glad everyone is checking in with their cold-temp readings: very interesting to see how others are coping.

    I laughed when you said you’d castrated your hat! That’s my temperament too. There’s definitely a satisfaction in getting those darned things out of your face. Too funny.

    You have a bunch of fun commenters today. Keep warm everyone. :>)

    • December 9, 2009 1:07 pm

      Conny, I knew I would get the cold climateers out of the woodwork with my whining about the cold 😉

      I’m just waiting for them to complain about rain and mud and then I will win! cue evil music and laughter

      • Marcia in Wyoming permalink
        December 9, 2009 3:41 pm

        You win already … we won’t see rain (our annual precp. counting snowfall is about 7-8″) or mud until April/May.

        • December 9, 2009 4:31 pm

          Marcia – that would dry me out! Sounds like Eastern Oregon, we get about the last drop out of the clouds. At least our soil drains well – so the mud isn’t that bad. Your annual precip is about a weekly occurence here 🙂

        • Marcia in Wyoming permalink
          December 9, 2009 4:58 pm

          My hired hand w/benefits would love your precip – he is from MN and we have some MAJOR discussions about watering crops and gardens.

  14. December 9, 2009 12:35 pm

    omg! It’s MUCH colder there than it is here, and I’m already cold! The storm is just hitting us now, snow coming in horizontally, but still only down to 28.

    I totally didn’t realize until now that my propane stove has – what else? – an electric fan. So I’ll be totally out of luck if we lose power. sigh. One more thing to think about/work towards. Maybe I’ll be in better shape next winter. Maybe.

    • December 9, 2009 1:12 pm

      Hayden, have you seen how cold it is in your old stomping grounds? This is a deep seated low pressure – and we are in the dry part – no precip here yet.

      Feeding the woodstove and the furnace is a pain, but it is so low tech that it works pretty well. There is always something that doesn’t get done or fixed or changed. Human nature, I think to procrastinate or hope for the best. I am actually surprised that we changed our hot water coils before they sprung a leak – fixing something that isn’t broke, definitely a first for us!

      You and Jakester stay warm!!

  15. December 9, 2009 5:21 pm

    Unusually cold and yet you don’t have snow like we do, lucky you!



    • December 11, 2009 6:03 am

      HDR, no snow yet – but ice tonight as the warm air is riding over the cold! Next week Rain!! 🙂

  16. December 9, 2009 8:26 pm

    I can verify the temps on the Oregon Coast – highs about 20* the last two days with night time temps in the teens. Frost on everything, but I can’t get such good pics 😉 The wood stove is going 24/7 and I’ve got my (no balls for me thankyouverymuch) hat on in the house. Thankfully there’s not much wind. The angora rabbits are happy as can be outside, but the last of the garden is done for.

    • December 11, 2009 6:04 am

      Mary, that’s cold for the coast! Our woodpile is disappearing a little too quick for me! Stay warm!

  17. Brent Weber permalink
    December 10, 2009 2:39 am

    It has been a bit of an odd fall up north (south-central Alaska). Usually when we go hot, WA & OR go cold. Not so simple this year. We started off way warm. No snow to speak of until Thanksgiving weekend. In fact, no jackets until then. That is late and warm. Then we had an unusually cold snap for a couple of weeks. More like January/February (when it is really cold), than early December (when it is not). We are now back to normal (highs in 20’s, lows in teen’s). If it keeps up like this, we will have a normal spring. If it stay warm too long, or gets cold too soon, we end up with big problems come spring. Arctic farming is nothing if not interesting!

    • December 11, 2009 6:07 am

      Brent, it’s been odd here too – usually this cold doesn’t really slip over the mountains until January. We haven’t had snow yet, which I prefer for insulation on the garden, but we don’t have much choice.

      I will be glad to see the rain, once the ice is brings initially is gone. Thanks for stopping by.

  18. December 10, 2009 5:28 am

    I lived in Sisters – high desert. One night we moved from one house to another and there was snow and a windchill of about thirty below. Of course, the doors were all open so the movers could go in and out, and our propane hadn’t been filled yet. I’ve never been so happy to see a woodstove in my entire life.

    It’s cold here, too, but not that cold. It’s 22 this morning, getting up to 39 later today, they say. The people here in Tennessee are scratching their heads and wandering around in a daze. They made such a big deal when customers showed up to the Farmer’s Market last Saturday. We were treated like conquering Arctic explorers! What, like cold is gonna keep me from my food supply?

    Weather like this makes me want to do stuff. I’ve yanked a couple dead bushes from the front yard and today I’m going to chop them up with my little hatchet. We might have a sticks-and-branches fire on Christmas Eve yet!

    • December 11, 2009 6:09 am

      Peggy, if you lived in Sisters you know how cold it gets! Such a difference from here on the west side. The famous ice is coming in tonight – it still hasn’t gotten above freezing yet.

      Hope you get your fire on Christmas Eve 🙂

  19. February 15, 2011 12:22 pm

    How do you keep the hydraulic ram and gravity water from freezing?

    • February 15, 2011 5:26 pm

      The ram runs all the time keeping the water flowing, and delivery pipeline is buried. If the ram stops it could freeze, but the overflow system at the stock tank keeps us apprised of that.

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