A cold start

You know it’s cold when the water pipes freeze.


Yep, this morning we have the dubious pleasure of not being able to shower, or flush the toilet or wash the dishes. I used to live in a house in Melbourne where the pipes would freeze and I learned to keep a kettle full of water in the kitchen so I could warm it somewhat (not boiling) and then traipse across the frosty lawn in pajamas to tip it over the water metre. Not prepared here today I guess. šŸ˜¦


Yep, that is -6.1 outside. the -4.0 is inside the greenhouse.

Also inside the greenhouse. My brassicas are looking a wee bit frozen in there but the tomatoes look great.

Also inside the greenhouse. My broccoli and cauliflowers are looking a wee bit frozen in there but the tomatoes look great.


I went out early to feed the animals as I suspected (rightly so) that water might be a bit on the crunchy side. The wonderful chicken watering system that we have has 4 small watering dishes all frozen solid. The ducks baths were crusted with 10mm thick ice and even Anna’s bucket was iced over. The poor baby chicks were looking forlornly at their frozen water too. How does one refill water when one’s own pipes are frozen? Thankfully, although my hose was a rock solid shape, the water in the small water tank was still mostly liquid although the tap is frozen shut. And that tap has a leak which is caught in a bucket… Which was also thankfully not solid.

We have no water in the pond (it needed changing) and we are NOT amused.

We have no water in the pond (it needed changing) and we are NOT amused.

Here's the pond water.

Here’s the pond water.

Glorious frost along the edge of the garden beds in the veggie patch.

Glorious frost along the edge of the garden beds in the veggie patch.

Back into the house with a roaring fire and 2 hours later with sun streaming in the window, it’s just over 14C inside. Hats, gloves and scarves are the order of the day. Oh, and ugg boots too. šŸ˜€ Hot porridge and hot chocolates will help put the warmth back into us though. šŸ™‚

Broad beans on ice?

Broad beans on ice?


Or maybe a nice warm cat. šŸ™‚


Or two. šŸ˜€

IMG_6251Happy Solstice everyone. šŸ™‚



27 thoughts on “A cold start

  1. Sue says:

    And Happy Solstice to you too!
    Not quite that chilly here this morning thank goodness. Its hard enough to get kids organised for school as it is without having to deal with frozen water too.
    We are still picking tomatoes from our outdoor plants – unheard of in our parts! They are from a couple of varieties that are cold tolerant and they have been brilliant croppers through autumn. We are going to try them as early crops this year too and see what happens. If I can extend the tomato cropping season at both ends then woohoo happy gardener!

    • Nice one Sue. What varieties? Yes, ours is a cold tolerant variety too. It’s called Siberian tomato and will tolerate a light frost. Being my first year at growing them I am not sure if it’s my gardening skills or the variety but the taste is not all that. I wouldn’t plant them again to be honest.

      • Sue says:

        Yes one of them is Siberian – the other is Rouge de Marmande.
        I have to agree Siberian is not the best tasting variety but as we tend to cook with them once the weather cools its not as big a sacrifice as it might be. I much prefer the flavour of Rouge. If you havent grown it before and would like to I can give you some seeds if you are interested.

        • I’d love to give it a try, thanks! šŸ™‚ when I’m back on my computer I’ll send through the necessaries. šŸ™‚
          I hadn’t thought abt cooked toms and how it matters less on flavour. Although I do know that frost tolerant or not, this morning would have been too frosty for sure. šŸ™‚

  2. LyndaD says:

    Brrrrrrrrrrr Reminds me of living at home growing up. Sorry. I might not be a summer girl but im definately not a winter girl either. Rob is being sent down below Hobart for a week to work in July. We are shopping for long johns as he has spindly legs that get cramps in the cold. Pity all that padding around the middle cant be moved downwards.

  3. I’m sitting here in Brisbane on a very cold (according to me) morning wearing a big woollen jumper over my nightdress, just eating a bowl of hot porridge to warm me up and thinking I was doing it tough. Wrong. The water in the taps is still running and I will now use that as my new benchmark for “feeling very comfortable today thank you”.

    • It’s all relative isn’t it? I’m not sure I’m a benchmark though. Linen, another of my readers is Canadian and I just KNOW she snickers when I say cold. How cold does Canada get? But then again my neighbors just down the road in Melbourne would agree that we are indeed freezing. In fact a true neighbor about 1km away didn’t believe me until she saw the photo of the thermometre and she’s in the same town!
      I hope your porridge and jumper warmed you up. I too am sitting here encased in wool although desperately missing my blanket this morning as its been snared by my early morning companion Jasper. He’s got the cat too. Brrrrrrrr for me.

      • Linne, not linen. Sorry.

        • Linne says:

          You’re not the first to use that; I like it, actually, so no need to apologise. Spellcheck prefers Linen to Linne . . . Lucky for me, I love linen and am happy to identify with it . . . ~ Linen šŸ˜‰

      • Linne says:

        Yep, I was snickering, all right! šŸ˜‰ (but in a kindly way . . . LOL)
        Canada is a huge country (2nd largest in the world, now that the USSR is in bits). We have temperate rain forest on the West Coast (what I call the Wet Coast lol), much colder inland in winter and hotter in summer, all the way to colder and stormier on the East Coast. Then there’s the Northern Coast, land of the Midnight Sun, which they are enjoying just now, but also of the weeks without Sun in December. So a very wide range. Here in Edmonton, which I consider North (but my friend who was born in Inuvik snickers at me when I say that), it has been 30+ yesterday and today or darn near it, anyway. I have to shut the sliding doors and the windows in the early evening because Mum’s apt faces due West. Then I draw the blinds and set them to keep out most of the sun. Once the sun is nearly down, I open it all up again. Not my favourite thing! Today I was doing light cleaning and some sorting and was sweating buckets! Hard to believe we had our last snow and 30- weather the first week of May! That WAS unusual, I admit, but still . . . And it’s likely to return by October (it did last year!). So, now that you are on the upswing to spring and planting and we are on the downswing to snow and ice, I do have a slight case of weather envy . . .

        I have to confess, though; now that I’m not working, at least I won’t be standing at the bus stop in -30 and then slogging through fresh snow a few blocks to work (that happened to me the winter before last).

        So I’ll just keep on snickering, thank you very much! Now that I’m done teasing, I do know the inconvenience of occasional freezing; in some cases it’s worse, because we grow used to mild temperatures, then the water freezes. In my case, one winter long ago in Victoria (BC), where it ‘never’ freezes, we had a bad storm and the block in my van froze solid and broke. It was not fixable and I had to write it off. It was stored at the home of two friends. I called and asked one of the men to go out and check the radiator to see if the water was icing up. He assured me it was fine, but I always wondered. It WAS a very dark and stormy night . . .

        Hope things are warmer for you from now on (but not TOO warm LOL)

        Hugs from Canada ~ Linne

  4. narf77 says:

    It sounds like you are even colder than we are here and that is saying something. Steve had to de-ice the car windscreen this morning but to be fair he was setting off at 6am. Bezial went to jump in a puddle yesterday and skidded across the top and when he finally cracked through the thick ice he was startled and decided that it was an experience he didn’t want to repeat soon. We have Brunhilda cranking and I am wrapped in the blanket that my daughters gave me recently and am waiting on poor frosted Steve to get back from the shopping so that we can hunker down and survive this mini ice-age. Nothing new in Tassie to be honest and you may as well be sending your husband off to Antarctica if you are sending him to Hobart Lynda D. He would earn more and it’s tax free šŸ˜‰

    • The ice on the ducks pond supported the weight of our little lady duck this morning. She was well miffed. Much warmer though at only -5.0
      It’s supposed to be “warming up” after today. Only 2C rather than -2C. Lol

      • narf77 says:

        I thought you weren’t supposed to be online all of the time these days? Best not tell Martin you cracked the code šŸ˜‰ Its BLOODY FREEZING here. I am not going outside any more than I have to. I am sitting here, wrapped up tight and will add a hot water bottle and a bucket of tea to that equation A.S.A.P. until Steve gets back from town with all of the shopping (and a beard full of snow! šŸ˜‰ )

        • Lol. iPhone! No code cracking here. šŸ˜‰
          Abt to go have a nice hot shower now n defrost. Ignisa being a grump right at the second but the flames are starting to return.

          • narf77 says:

            Brunhilda is the eveready bunny, she just keeps on keeping on šŸ˜‰

            • Hi Fran. I’m just reading these comments between you and Rabid Little Hippy and I want to add that I’m cold too! Yes. As the opera says “My Tiny Hand is Frozen”. You won’t often hear me say that but tonight I’m perished. Thing about these houses in Brisbane they are not built for the cold. Fortunately I have a “nanny rug” for my knees and a bit woolly scarf for round my neck, and a rubber hot water bottle on my lap.
              I want a Brunnhilda of my own!

              • narf77 says:

                I don’t mind Sharing Jean but I fear the postage would be prohibitive! šŸ˜‰ I have a “hotty” as well and will be taking it to bed with me tonight. I actually don’t mind it cold, so long as I can rug up and stay warm. Grab a duvet and wrap yourself in it Jean, we won’t tell and you will be lovely and warm šŸ™‚

  5. Oooh, that’s a bit nippy! I’m sitting here in the blazin’ heat in So. Texas. The tomatoes are not pleased and ready to be done with this heat. They are done producing for now. I’d take a bit of a cool down, but not as cold as you are for now. The roarin’ fire here is the outside summer, the a/c is working overtime. Glad it is working!

    • I’m sure when it hits 40C here (over 100) in 67 or 8 months I will dream of ice and bitter cold, just as I lie here and fondly remember the stinking hot days over last summer.
      Our days are simply gorgeous (apart from the lack of winter rains) at the moment. Glorious sunshine, temperatures around 10-12C but feels like it’s about 20. I had a major vitamin D session today with the kids. šŸ™‚
      I think as time goes on the weather conditions will only get more extreme hot or cold and more extreme drought or flood due to climate change. I guess with 400ppm carbon in the atmosphere we’d all better get used to it hey.

      • Linne says:

        Ok, I’m getting my comeuppance . . . and I deserve it, too! You may snicker all you want at my whinging about 30+. I can barely remember 40+ from our days in the Okanagan Valley in BC. We’d work early and late and lie in the irrigation ditch to cool off during the midday. It was actually enjoyable, so long as we didn’t have to ride into town for groceries or anything.

        BTW, don’t know if you saw on the news, but the temp in Death Valley, California was expected to break its all-time record, which is 56 C or more. That equates to 132.8 in Fahrenheit. Yikes!! I could just put my stirfry outside for a few minutes and then supper would be ready . . .

        • Eek! That’s majorly extreme. I read an article about a study done at Melbourne Uni predicting days of 50C likely in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide I think. 46 for Black Saturday in 2009 was extreme enough thank you very much! But I guess with global warming, more extreme temperatures (hot and cold) and an average increased temperature, 50C is indeed a reasonable assumption and not a pleasant one.

  6. Maureen says:

    I too live in ballan and am a senior but amateur gardener.I lost heaps to the frost this year and I”m looking for some bushy colourful frost resistant plants that will grow in mainly shade along a colorbond fence.Can anyone help. I have a couple of penstimons and they survived well.

    • I’ve not got much I can suggest i’m sorry as such an amateur gardener myself. The only thing I could think of is kale. It’s an edible plant and very good for you and there are different colours and leaf variations and they are frost tolerant I believe. Otherwise I’m not much good I’m sorry. Garden of St Erth would probably have much they could advise though or any other cold climate nurseries. Newlyn Antiques nursery, any in Ballarat. Otherwise, maybe a stickybeak around other gardens in town might help provide some inspiration. šŸ™‚ Sorry I can’t help more.

  7. Maureen says:

    thanks for your response will chase up your suggestions many thanks

  8. […] do well. The morning our thermometre registered -6Ā°C outside the greenhouse it also registered -4Ā°C inside and my poor little banana froze itself solid, never to […]

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