Half a zone colder than I want to be…

img_3560I love Maine shrimp.  They are tiny, but oh-so tender, sweet and delicious, and a perfect addition to a steaming hot bowl of fish chowder (made with my own Yukon Gold potatoes).  Recalling how delicious it was for dinner is almost enough to take your mind off the fact that it is, as I write this, -17°F.  Yes, I said



That’s 17 degrees below zero, 42 degrees below freezing (or -27°C for my Canadian friends).  Granted, I am awake at the obscenely early hour of 4 am, unable to get back to sleep.  (I am concerned about the girls –although we have a light on in Henbogle Coop for warmth and am listening to the house make strange creaking and cracking noises as the old lumber contracts from the cold.)

Seventeen below zero bumps me out of my garden fantasy of almost being a zone 6 gardener.  I like to think that Henbogle is in zone 5b, where the coldest temperatures are -15°F to -10°F.  That’s nearly zone 6! (-10°F to 0°F).  It’s all a mind game, wanting to be in zone 6, thinking I’m in zone 6, does not mean a damn thing to the plants.  I’m a zone 5a gardener, ( -20°F to -15° ) and getting close to the dreaded zone 4 (4a is -30° to -20).  For a great explanation of the USDA zone system see Robin’s description at Season’s Eatings Farm.

I’m wondering if anything is alive out in the hoop house.  Yesterday morning, it was no warmer in the hoop house than it was outside (a balmy 1°F at 7 am), which means it is probably -17°F in there now.  Sigh.  Well, Monday it is suposed to be up to 30°F, swimsuit weather compared to this, then colder on Tuesday, I hope the Obama’s have some long underwear!


6 Responses to “Half a zone colder than I want to be…”

  1. Kate@LivingTheFrugalLife Says:

    “…strange creaking and cracking noises as the old lumber contracts from the cold” Uh, check.

    Dang, Ali! That’s cold! I’m a genuine zone 6 gardener, and we’re enjoying a balmy 7 degrees F at the moment. Supposed to get way up to 14 F today though. I’ve been eating soup for breakfast too lately. Too cold to eat anything that’s not at least as warm as I am. One nice thing about this weather is that it makes my half-skittish kitty nearly into a lap cat. Nearly.

    Stay warm up there!

  2. Farmgirl_dk Says:

    Gosh, Ali…that chowder has made my mouth water. I lost the remainder of my homegrown yukons in our December freeze :-(…oh well, I’ve lived and learned on that one.
    You wouldn’t, by chance, have a recipe to share for that chowder, would you? Yummmmm

  3. frontporch123 Says:

    I’m in zone 9a and everyone here is complaining because it’s in the low 40’s. I remember the cold when I lived in NY but I’m a pioneer now and live where it’s relatively warm. These people make me laugh, though. They don’t even believe me when I say it’s -17 there!
    Keep the home fires burning!
    Love, Aunt Janet

  4. deborah Says:

    I can relate to Zone denail. I garden in the southern part of Zone 3 (North Central Minnesota) and pretend I’m in Zone 4. LIke you said, the plants know better! -27F here this a.m., not factoring in the windchill. A very short walk for the doggie I’m afraid. :) The chowder looks divine!

  5. Northern Shade Says:

    Like Deborah, I’m in zone 3, but more and more zone 4 plants have crept into the garden. Emboldened by their survival, this fall I planted a few zone 5 as an experiment. I’ve decided to simply be pleasantly surprised if they survive, rather than disappointed by the ways of nature.

    We’re sorry about sending the Arctic air mass down there, but really we just needed a break from his mischievous behaviour for a while.

  6. elliecm Says:

    Balmy -2 in Chicago. Was -13 this morning. I worry that if I get chickens, they won’t live through this kind of cold.

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