How cold does it get where you live?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by blufford, Aug 18, 2005.

  1. blufford

    blufford Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Ocassionally I'll see a post where that the author lives in a very cold climate with minus temperatures at times. Do automobiles still run in very cold conditions? Do your water pipes freeze and electric go out? What about you pets and livestock? Do they (animals) stay inside. Do people still get out and go to work and school?
     
  2. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    NO, we don't get out, and the animals live inside the house with us. Actually, everyone goes into a state of hibernation until spring.
     

  3. milkstoolcowboy

    milkstoolcowboy Farmer

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    OK, I'm assuming this is a serious question.

    There are many here who live in colder climates than I do (SE MN), but it does occasionally hit -30 degrees here.

    Cars will start in cold temperatures with a good battery. Many of us engine block heaters/plug heaters to start gas engines. Diesel tractors, we switch to furnace oil and keep them plugged in if we figure on using them regularly. When I was a kid, we had a '41 Chrysler car, and we brought the battery in the house to keep it warm. Even did this if we went to town and stayed a couple hours.

    Water pipes are buried well below the frost line to prevent this, although even with heating elements, some drinkers will freeze up in extreme cold.

    Cold temperatures alone have no effect on the disruption of electricity transmission, other than to increase the demand for it. Snow/ice storms followed by high winds can knock out power.

    Animals will grow a heavy coat of hair for winter. The beef cows and horses will stay outside all winter, but will have access to a shelter to get out of the wind. More of their feed intake goes to maintenance so gains on growing stock are less in the winter. We only let the milk cows out for brief period during the winter (45 minutes) to eat hay sileage, as cold temps can cause chapping frozen teats. We farrow sows in an insulated, heated farrowing house in winter and heat the calf shed. Actually, cold temps are not as tough on livestock as freezing/thawing temps.

    Yes people still go outside and do chores, go to school and go to work. You deal with it. I'd take 20 below over a foot of snow any day.
     
  4. Reauxman

    Reauxman Well-Known Member

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    We may get a night in the 20's, teens every few years is a possibility. Rarely does it stay below 40 for 24 hours strait. Never snaows, and when it does every 10 years or so the roads are all closed so I'd not know if cars run.
     
  5. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    I live in zone 3/4b which is defined by a winter low temperature down to 40 below. We get that a few days usually mid January to February.

    Automobiles still run, but it's common to plug them in. Standard engine equipment here is a block heater, and it's wise to use them when the temp goes down to about 15 below or colder. Antifreeze is tested down to 60 below, as we've had that cold once in my memory. Usually plugging in the engine for an hour at least is enough, and it reduced drain on your battery and engine wear from cold starting.

    Pipes freeze, but they are installed below frost line usually about 6 to 8 ft. deep. If exposed, there is heat tape to wind around the pipes. If near a lake shoreline or on rocky terrain this may be necessary and then they insulate with a deep layer of straw along the pipe lenght under the heat tape that is plugged in all winter.

    Companion pet animals stay inside. Once acclimated they can be outdoors for a while during winter and will ask to come in when they feel cold. Livestock are acclimated and can endure cold as long as a building or they can get out of the wind and are fed enough to maintain their metabolism to generate heat. If barns aren't ventilated, this can build dangerous condensation that makes them colder.

    "Do people still get out and go to work and school?"

    You're kidding to ask such a simpleton question, right?
    Of course they go to school daily and work daily. How else could they produce an economy to survive. Life goes on with adaptations. Schools are comfortable and heated buildings. Children play with proper clothing and are acclimated also. Adults go about their tasks at work indoors as they commute normally as you would wherever you live. If you are an outdoor worker, such as in forestry or with utilities, they dress accordingly. Working and playing outdoors is very normal activity. Have you never heard of pond hockey, cross country skiing, walking, ice scating, ice fishing, hunting, etc.? It's exhilirating and people do it year round. I personally have spent day long outdoors when it's well below zero. You dress for it, and move accordingly to watch you don't get too hot and sweat. Sweating in the cold is dangerous and makes you much colder.
    We don't let a little thing like drop in temperature to stall our lives completely. Yes, more time is spent indoors. Mainly because the day lenghts are shorter.

    I honestly don't know how anyone can live in hot climates. I mean a day or two of heated 100 degree days is one thing, but I hear of those texas or arizona endless string of days like that. I could in no way be able to live there, and I assume no one works or does anything, or that cars even could start in that sort of temperature. :p
     
  6. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We sometimes get to -20 to -30 and I'd rather deal with that than with the summer temps we had in the Phoenix area. In the summer of 1995 (I think it was) we had a high temp of 123 degrees. That's really just scary and awful. Our town NEVER (its a matter of pride, I guess) calls off school for snow and cold so last winter when we got a cold snap, an enterprising soul snuck into the bus barn and unplugged the block heaters..yippee! No school!
     
  7. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    Hi- I spend my career years living in Tucson Arizona with their common 114 degrees F during the summer and high humidity during July and August. I now live in southwest Montana on top of a mountain where winter temps of -40 are pretty common in Feb and we get usually about 3-5 feet of snow on the ground at any one time come March or so. I would much rather be here on the mountain than in the hot desert. Both places are beautiful in their own way but the heat just sucks the energy right out of a person! Yup water lines freeze, drain lines too (now that's a bummer). Of course we live ON the Rocky Mountains so no basement without blasting and no deeply burried water lines either. From the end of hunting season (sometime in dec) till about May we ride snowmobiles down the mountain 6.2 miles to the ranch below where we are able to park our regular vehicles as our road is forest service and is not plowed. We manage just fine and I would not trade my little place for any other place anywhere!
     
  8. DW

    DW plains of Colorado Supporter

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    Even though we are in zone 5, it occasionally gets to -35. We have engine heaters on the vehicles. The dogs and cats have insulated & heated houses for the winter. They do well, our last cat passed on of old age at 21yrs. +. We also have heated water bowls for them.
     
  9. babygoats!

    babygoats! Well-Known Member

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    On January 17 of this year we had 52 degrees below zero. It wasn't a good day.
     
  10. Spotted Crow

    Spotted Crow Well-Known Member

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    We usually have down to the low teens, but the last few winters we've had minus temps, even down to -35. So much for global warming...
    The first winter we had the girls, Slifer got frostbit on her comb and lost all the tips. her wattles blew up too, but turned out fine. Her sister just had a touch. They spent the winter in our bath tub.
     
  11. RenieB

    RenieB Well-Known Member

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    We live in Maine and it gets pretty cold in the winters here. We get out in most weather and we haven't had our pipes freeze in the basement. In winters where we have a lot of snow it tends to insulate the basement. Years ago farmers would put bales of hay around the houses for the same effect. Since neither of us works now we have the priveledge of staying home and off the roads when the storms are bad. We only have house pets now two dogs and one cat and they got out for business and come right back in. I like the change of seasons and in the winter when it is snowing I like to sit and watch it come down. I have had some close calls driving in bad weather. I was driving home and the car in front of me lost control and the driver was thrown from the car and killed instantly. I was a student nurse at the time and the car behind me had a nurse and we found there wasn't much we could do for the poor women. But that and other experiences have put a fear of driving when the weather is real bad. Being a nurse you were expected to make it to work not matter what so I don't miss driving in that mess.

    RenieB
     
  12. blufford

    blufford Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We live in Maine and it gets pretty cold in the winters here. We get out in most weather and we haven't had our pipes freeze in the basement. In winters where we have a lot of snow it tends to insulate the basement.



    When it snows do you have to shovel the snow off the roof to keep it from caving in?
     
  13. Sharon in NY

    Sharon in NY Well-Known Member

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    We're technically borderline zone 4, which means it isn't supposed to get much colder than -30, but we've hit -40 half a dozen times in the last 3 years. We don't have a block heater for our car, but it still mostly does ok with a little patience. We dress warm, the livestock does fine, the roof has never collapsed yet, and the only really annoying thing is that we can't grow almonds or apricots. Frankly, I love the cold weather, hate the heat, and look forward to winter every year - more time to knit, more time to sew, more time to read, and more reason to make soup.

    Sharon
     
  14. bugstabber

    bugstabber Chief cook & weed puller Supporter

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    It gets -20 to -30's in the winter, with occasional -40. Cows stay outside, they have a good coat, although they do huddle. What I don't like is when it's snowing, the wind is (always) blowing and the ditches are already full. Unless I'm home for the day, then I don't care! School isn't very often called for cold, except for when the buses won't start.

    Funny story- one winter our governor closed all the schools in the state, due to the blowing snow and cold. When the Minnesota governor was asked why he didn't do that, he answered that he didn't think that he had the authority.
     
  15. Pony

    Pony STILL not Alice Supporter

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    It can get subzero here. (BTW, I hate it. The only reason I stay is that all the people I love are here.) We "plug in" the car when the temps get bad: that is, we use an oil heater to keep the block warm enough to start.

    One year, my FIL forgot to park the van away from the wind. When they woke up in the morning, the block was frozen solid. He used a kerosene torpedo heater, tarps, and blankets to make a tent for the front end and sides of the van. Got it started. Had to change the oil and plugs as soon as he got it started.

    Cousin Ron had a bad coolant mix (too much water). Block froze. He had a Weber Smokey Joe, which he heated up with a BIG ol' mound of coals. Jacked the car up, heated it up til it thawed, changed the coolant, and awaaay he went.

    So, the message is: Yeah, cars will still go. Just make sure you park them properly and have the proper precious bodily fluids.

    We still get out, but have to bundle up well. Many people take it as a matter of pride that they handle the cold weather. I think they're crazy.

    Animals do well, too, just have to make sure that they have proper shelter, bedding, and fresh water. DD puts little booties on Buster the Wonder Dog. He hates those.

    But I still don't think people should function in winter. They should just go to sleep. Or to New Mexico. Cabin Fever may have been joking, but I think that's the best way to handle the Annual Deep, Dark Freeze.

    BTW, did I mention that I hate winter?

    Pony!
     
  16. crystalniche

    crystalniche Well-Known Member

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    We get some really cold weather here too. I've seen it get way down below zero with wind chill last winter we had days that got to -40 degrees. Our dogs and cat all live inside, dogs going out only to do their business when it is that cold out. Our rabbits and birds all live outside but we make sure that they have protection from the cold. For the rabbits we put tarps over their cages and put a large covered nestbox inside for them to go in to keep warm. The nestbox has about 1" of dry newspaper in the very bottom, about 3" of pine shavings on top of that and then I stuff and pack in as much straw as I possibly can. When I am done it looks like they won't be able to get into their boxes but then they burrow down into the straw making a cozy nest for themselves. Some of the rabbits don't make a burrow, they just work at making themselves a cozy bed in the straw. I check on the nestboxes after each time we have bad weather to make sure they are still clean and dry. If the rabbit is soiling their box I simply remove the soiled bedding and replace it with dry. For the birds I make sure that they have deep straw for bedding, keep it clean and dry as well. We water twice a day and use 2 sets of bowls bringing in the frozen bowl to thaw and putting in the water so they can drink. Sometimes I will do this 3 times in a day if it is terribly cold out so they can have more time to drink. We go to work in all kinds of weather. We are rural route mail carriers and have to be there to work. If your car freezes up there are ways to get it running again. The easiest way that I know of is to push it up to your house, to the window closest to your clothes dryer. Open your hood and cover it with a heavy rug or comforter. Next take your dryer exhaust hose put it out the window and inside the hood of the car and close the hood down taking care not to squash the hose then wrapping everything well with the rug. Now put a load of clothes in the dryer and dry them. The heat from the dryer exhaust hose will after a little while defrost the car's engine enough to allow it to be started. I know this works because we've done it. You can also use a hand held hair dryer but that gets tedious after awhile. Only once have our roads been shut down due to the weather and that was during the blizzard of '78. Here in CT the snow was so deep that we had to get a backhoe to open our driveway and even then he had a hard time doing it. I can't remember in recent years us having too much of a problem getting out during the winter. Our driveway goes downhill to get out---it is getting back up in here that sometimes can be a nightmare. Many times I've made DH let me out so I could walk up while he tried and tried to get up in here sliding back out onto the road when he didn't make it. We've even left our van or car across the end of our driveway because we couldn't get it up in here. There is a shoulder and DH made sure that he parked in the end of the driveway crosswise. I also make sure that there is at least one heavy wool blanket in the car/van at all times during the winter, in a breakdown it could be a lifsaver.
     
  17. Orville

    Orville Well-Known Member

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    Don't forget the effect of wind on freezing things. I had to adjust some insulation and sheathing on my house because the water lines in the kitchen froze after a couple nights of cold north winds (the sink/dishwasher are against an exterior wall). This is in zone 7, where we don't normally get into the single digits.
     
  18. Pyrenees

    Pyrenees Well-Known Member

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    I live in fairly temperant region now (CO), get some good snowdrops, but temp only occasionally gets below zero. Growing up in northern WI the cold temp wasn't something anyone gave any thought to...that's just the way life was. Some years the the temp would only rise above zero for a couple of hours in the middle of the day Jan/Feb. I remember playing, sledding, hockey when it was below zero, everyone was just used to it.

    Coldest I can remember it getting was -70 without windchill, -95 with windchill...that was #@$^*&% cold!!!!!!! School was called off that day, though my parents somehow got a car started (I think they strategically set up a spaceheater or two in addition to the engine block heater) and still made it to work. After they were gone my brother and I took turns running outside wearing nothing but shorts and shoes to see who could take it the longest. :grit:

    I am convinced that growing up in that kind of environment causes permanent physiological adjustments in a person's body. To this day I am worthless as far as physical activity when the temp outside is above 80, I turn into a complete slug...no energy, get exhausted fast, sweat like a pig even just standing still. But at 50 degrees I am comfy as can be and love working outside. I have noticed now that I live in a much warmer environment that it doesn't even don on me to grab a jacket until the temperature hits the 40's.
     
  19. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    we get down as far as 35 but windchill can make it feel lots colder!! sheep stay in the barn and dogs are let out to do their thing then let back in . cats don't even bbother! still have to feed and my wife has to go to work some times early am to repair broken water/sewer mains or frozen tanks at her plant. still she does not want to move! keep telling her virginia is nice and it don't get so cold!!
     
  20. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Gets close to minus 40 here in southern MN from time to time. Things are ok to about minus 20 or so, below that tires tend to be bumpy, engines really don't want to start without heat added, gets dangerous for those who leave the house without gloves, etc.

    One day of it isn't bad, what is tough is the 3-4 day cold snaps when the high does not get above minus 15 for that long. Grinding feed for the cattle, keeping waterers running, etc. becomes very time consuming. The overnight lows aren't too bad, but when the highs stay well below zero that makes for a tough week.

    Livestock & critters do well if you let them stay outside all the time,s tarting in fall. They adapt & grow fur/hair & as long as you provide a spot they can stay dry & out of the wind they do pretty well. Can't take a critter that was indoors all the time & toss it out into sub-zero temps tho.

    --->Paul