Onwards and Upwards at 5F (-15C)

This kind of beautiful clear day …jan-1-025

… always has to be paid for.

(Do you see the shape of the Coupe’s roofline developing in the framing here?)jan-1-001

There was a lot of sun for warmth gathering yesterday. jan-1-013

And I know why now. jan-1-014

It is 5.30 am and 5 degrees F outside.  Yes, that is MINUS 15 in celcius.jan-1-022

I am dressing in as many layers as I can before I go out to milk.sunset1-002

Good morning. At least it is not blowing. We can survive most temperatures as long as there is no wind and the early mornings are often calm.  I will wear tights, track pants, two pairs of socks, a singlet, two long sleeved T shirts, a long sleeved thermal and a big heavy teenage boys hoodie and then my clown suit, my big work jacket and thermal boots. Then two pairs of gloves and my scarf and hattie. I will waddle as I walk.  But I wish I was a sheep this morning with their heavy wool cladding.

I think I am going to invest in some long underwear this year but I have no idea what would be good.

The worst part is when I have to take off my gloves to wash Daisy’s udder and put the cups on. Then my hands are wet, and they freeze very quickly – this is bad.  She is still milking out unevenly so it is not a fast process either.

But she is still giving way too much milk to even think about drying her up even if I wanted to which I don’t.  So we will design protocols to deal with the cold. They did it in the old days on these little farms. I can do it now. I just have to work out how.  Though I can see why in Europe they built the cow shed onto the house!

Good morning. Have a lovely day. When the sun comes out it will be lovely here too.



106 Comments on “Onwards and Upwards at 5F (-15C)

  1. Silk long undies! They’re thin but really warm although we tend to use snow pants here when it’s really cold. The kitties are really growing. Figured out if you have boys or girls yet? So what interesting things are you doing with your milk? I’m thinking about some yogurt. Have a great day Celi!

    • yoghurt for sure and maybe some fresh cheese tomorrow.. and where do i find the silk underwear?, these sound like just the thing for me!! I will google them! what a great tip.. thank you.. c

      • When I was a city carrier I wore long underwear called Cuddle Duds..they worked great..not real bulky..can be bought at Bergner’s…or maybe check into under armor..football players wear this under their uniforms. Stay warm! Did you find a pair of half gloves?

        • I tried the half gloves and the other half of my fingers about fell off, I have ordered some glover liners too, we will just have to deal with the wet/cold/covered in ice thing. I just have to remember to not touch the metal gates with my bare hands, this is a lesson i am being very slow at learning! morning connie.. c

    • the daytime temperatures are not as bad, and there is sun today, so a little cold in the morning is ok. It is when the cold settles on your head under cloud and stays there that I will start to dry icy tears! morning audrey! c

  2. You need waterproof gloves! Have a look for the ones sailors use. You can’t catch a rope with frozen hands. I use neoprene ones, the same material that they make wetsuits out of. They are very insulating and yet you can still feel things through them.

    Beautiful photos 🙂

  3. hi celi! silk underwear is the way to go. it is very thin, not bulky and keeps you really warm. i am sure you can find some through ll bean, ebay or amazon! joyce

  4. We woke up to -8 yesterday……without windchill. It is cold cold cold in Iowa and I am not a fan. I do not have to go out and do chores, though, so I have the soft life here for sure!!! Love the kitty picture!

  5. Brrrr! It’s cold here too. I see someone already mentioned it so I’ll just second the silk long undies. I have to wear a lot of layers when I go out, too, and it’s nice to have one layer that isn’t big and bulky. The silk long undies fit that bill nicely. Love that photo of the kitties warming themselves in the sun. I know just how they feel. 🙂

    • Yup, the cats have the right idea, i am going to join them later today to get the sun on my face too! c

  6. I’m looking out the window at just such a European house. In fact it’s the house we bought when we first came to France. The attached cowshed is now a very big, warm kitchen! I bought two old ruined cottages across the lane from the house, converted them and that’s where we live now. If I had cows, I’d have them in a building attached to the house for sure. But -15C – c’est inhumane!

    • I am very tempted … Very tempted, to create a milking shed next to the house, but getting the cow across here may be the problem! c

  7. Hi Celi! It’s cold down here in the Ozarks too, 19 degrees F, which is much warmer than your 5 degrees….but still cold! I’m thinking of you and your poor hands in the milking chamber. Very cold! Our friends who we got our goats from, and who milk about 20 or so goats daily have a wood stove in their milking shed. I’m wondering if there is any way at all to get some heat into your milking chamber??? I know that a fire in a barn with hay does not go together….but there must be some way to add some warmth. After all, we still do have a couple of months of winter in the forecast. xo

    • No the barn is open and the milking parlour is kind of an open pen in the barn. But it is OK, the milking does not take that long really, with the machine, by the time I have lost feeling in my hands we are about done. John helps in the winter so my time out there is halved. I am back inside within the hour.. A wood stove does sound mighty tempting, i bet the animals would love it. They used to have them in the old days to keep the water from freezing and burnt their barns down with monotonous regularity.. c

  8. I´m with the others on the silk underwear – fine, gentle on the skin and oh so warm! And you could always do like the folk from days back and sleep with the animals in the kitchen…well, maybe not!

    • although it is possible daisy may step on me in the night, i think she would be very warm to sleep with.. morning tanya! c

  9. I agree with the silk underwear. Used it all the time back in the day when we’d go skiing. Keeps you nice and warm, and whisks away moisture. Wishing you a happy day on the farmy!

  10. -15 C here today with bitter winds. I, however, do not have a cow to milk and today that feels like a bit of a blessing. Silk long johns, neoprene gloves, stay warm. Frostbite is a terrible thing.

    • We only do what is absolutely necessary before dawn, feeding out and milking, when the sun is up and it is a bit warmer i will go out to do actual chores.. frostbite would be terrible and why do they call it frost bite, wouldn’t it be more accurate to call it cold bite, or ice bite or snow bite or something! morning joss.. c

  11. Silk is good and warm, but I’ve abandoned it for microfiber from the sporting-goods store, because it holds-up to repeated washings better. My kids to the north had 8F this morning, and we’re a balmy 16…no wind, thank God. Tonight will be colder.
    As for getting to the barn, some of the old farms around here actually had tunnels, so no one had to go out in the blowing snow before dawn! Just a thought 😉

  12. You poor dear. I hadn’t thought about how cold your hands must get trying to clean up Daisy before her milking. I hope you find a good solution from one of your readers — and soon. Winter is just beginning to gather steam. We’ve a while before the crocuses bloom.
    Have a great day, Celi!

    • You are so right john.. two or even three more months of it and it will get even colder.. but I am ready.. it is an excellent challenge.. c

  13. How beautiful with the sun and snow 🙂
    I used to wear thermal underwear when i drove a motorbike. I preferred cotton to nylon, but I bet silk is the best.

  14. Morning Celi, hot and humid 32 deg C (90d F) here today, Hoping for some rain this evening to cool us down 🙂 Love the pictures of the snow and beautiful clear day, too cold – wish I had some snow here! Surgical Gloves (are they made from Neoprene?) would keep your hands dry and still allow some feeling when milking. Silk is great, but thermal underwear (usually from camping outfitters) is thin and very warm – if you are looking for ‘cuddly’ warmth. Laura

    • yes, the big milkers wear these gloves I think, and I could slide my wooly gloves on and off them.. good thinking laura! c

  15. You can quickly warm your hands between the cow’s leg and her udder, a very toasty spot and close by. Works well against the pain (I used to do this in Germany where we had it quite cold at times). If you have warm gloves, but not the finger type, you can stick one of these hand warmers in each. There are various makes, some work with a stick you have to burn in a case and some which work with a gel which heats up.

  16. Wow, and here we are in the 50’s down here, and thinking we may not see any snow this new year. That has to be such a harsh contrast for you after being in the summer of NZ for the better part of last month. What great ideas these folks have about heating your hands up while milking. and I’m sure Daisy is happy to help! Stay warm.

  17. Silk underwear? Google Damart. But failing that, I’ve always found a pair of loose wynceyette pyjama bottoms warmer than anything else – being loose, they keep a layer of your own warm air trapped. I’d forgotten I’d planned to make you a pair of gloves with a removable finger flap attached at the back. I’ll need to get a pair of fleece gloves, cut of the tops of the fingers, and sew the fmitten-shaped lap on the back. Is that a go-er? I’m also working on a pattern (for me) for a fleece-lined fleece hat with ear flaps. Watch this space!

  18. Your description of layers and layers of clothing has me picturing you like us as wee ones, so bound up we could barely waddle. You are resourceful so are sure you will come up with some way to heat the milking spa for time you need it. Love the answer from Goatsnroses. Makes such sense.

  19. I think a photo of you in 17 layers is definitely in order!
    One other suggestion for hands and feet is ‘hotties’ – my dad has raynaud’s syndrome and we buy them by the case. There are disposable ones and ones you can boil and reuse. My son also used them for early morning crew practice. Also found at amazon.
    Cheers … Wendy

    • I said to John this morning that we needed to bring out the hot water bottle!! Wise minds think alike!! c

  20. Yes please.a photo with layers.!!! Here in NZ Merino is so popular, and not far from where I live, is Levana Textiles, they sell Merino fabric, lots of colours and different weights, I have made..singlets. hats, neck warmers, scarves and long johns. it has enought stretch to fit snugly. And also there are hand warmers, gel that heats fast when you activate it, and can be re-used. There are sizes for body and small ones for hands. Cheers from Jean, lower North Island, New Zealand.

    • Next time I go to NZ I shall find Levana textiles, I would like to make a long skirt.. nothing to do with milking of course! actually maybe they are online, I shall look. Thank you Jean!! c

  21. They connect the houses to the barns here in New Hampshire too. I think it makes a lot of sense!

    My favorite thermals are made from merino wool. Wool stays warm even if you get it wet. Cotton will kill you in this kind of cold if it gets wet (unless you make a hasty retreat to the indoors).

    • I love wool, if I ever see any I will get them, but the silk seems to be the next best thing! I must pop over to your place and see what is happening, you certainly know about the outdoors! c

  22. I’m reading this at work, Celi, and it’s probably not a great idea for me to laugh outloud! But I did! You don’t have long underwear? I DO…and look where I live! Now I really feel like a wimp. The other day I wrote about experiencing 9 degrees (F) at an ice sculpture event, and I was so cold I was worried about my hands (with gloves). But I was wearing silk thermal underwear, and it really helped keep my body warm. I have been known to wear it indoors on cold days. So now that we’ve established I’m a bit pitiful, I’ll just say that those gorgeous shots of the daily view tell me that you might really benefit from the slight investment! You amaze me! oxo

    • very good thinking.. usually once the cups are on her I put my wooly gloves back on so that would work well.. -10 is outrageous, how could you have milked in that? I hope we do not get that cold this winter.. c

  23. Oh C, I will never complain about my cold weather!! I’d say I would stay inside in front of the fire all day but you’ve got lots of loved ones to care for! It does look like a beautiful and hopefully by now you are warm inside!

  24. brrr minus 15 deg c. I hope you got some NZ thermals while you were over here. What about wearing plastic gloves underneath your mittens then the plastic gloves can help protect you while you clean down the udders.
    Love Leanne NZ

    • That is something i am going to try, i shall get some on shopping day.. see what happens! morning leanne, I hope your summer is being good to you. c

  25. You have received a ton of excellent advice to keep warm. I notice the silk underwear keeps turning up. I down hill skied in Banff and the temperature was minus 36 F. I wore silk underwear, silk soaks, and silk gloves – and then tons of layers. Still never enough to keep warm – just exist for one run. You meet your challenges head on Celi, but there just isn’t any negotiating with the weather. Sending warm warm wishes. V.

  26. My Dad was a Treefeller, worked outdoors all his life, in the winter he used to carry a small charcoal hand warmer, said it warmed his fingers enough to be able to roll a smoke. From memory it was a little tin usually carried in a small soft material pouch, inside the tin were slow burning charcoal sticks, stopped his fingers going numb, probably important when wielding a chainsaw!. He also had a wee propane gas heater that he kept on the passenger seat of his truck, he would go out and fire it up then come in and have a last cuppa before hitting the road in a warm car.

    • how extraordinary, he was a clever fellow, fancy having a gas heater to heat up his car and those hand warmers.. that is brilliant.. i could do that you know, put a little coal from the fire in a tin and wrap it in a cloth, I like that idea! well done.. c

  27. I have never been in temperatures so cold. And I can’t imagine having to wear so many layers. But you are right – people survived these conditions many years ago and so did their animals. I hope you get some sunshine xx

    • yes they must have used all kind of ingenious things to stay warm, also they really did wear a lot of clothes in those days! morning charlie louie

  28. Check REI.com, Sunandski.com, or other snowshoe / ski outlets for warm underwear. (stuff starting to going on sale now! – check snow sports or ski equipment stores and websites). Lots of people like silk but some of the synthetic new fibers are equally good…many say better than wool. Ski shops/sites might provide comparisons of types. Either way, that layer does make a big difference.
    Can so identify with the waddling from all the layers.
    Glad the sun is out some anyway.

    • the sun is bright, especially with all this reflection around.. ! I shall check the ski outlets, what an excellent idea! morning mouse.. c

  29. That is serious cold! (and thanks for the translation to Celsius – wow!) But everything does look crisp and beautiful and clean. Can you wear those thin vinyl (like surgical) gloves under your thick ones, and leave the vinyl gloves on when washing Daisy? That might give you some protection and still allow you to use your fingers.
    Did you ever check out the NZ range of ‘icebreaker’ clothing for serious cold (like Antarctica)? There are some excellent blends of mohair etc which still breathe effectively.

  30. Well, since we are not allowed to use sprinklers in our community have just been handwatering [my equivalent of Daisy 🙂 !] the large garden wearing a swimsuit for over two hours: yes, but the flower show is quite a sight 🙂 ! Full week of 32 + C ahead, so no choice . . . Now have read each and every comment here and reached for a coverup: chilly all of a sudden 😀 ! Thinking back on my skiing days etc, agree with Vivinfrance: I love Damart Grade 4 and still keep Grade 2 for our very mild winters [we bitterly complain when it hits -2 C in the morning!!] Am blowing some of our warmth NE!!!!!

    • Damart grade 4 sounds like the one for me and fancy you.. out in your togs watering.. that sounds quite lovely! blow hard darling! I will know when your little bit of warmth gets here! c

  31. I totally understand – we reached a HIGH of -15 celsius today here in Canada. Tonight it’s going down to -30C! Layers, layers, layers……

  32. In the most recent issue of Hobby Farms magazine there is a whole article on transitioning to once a day milking. They claim it isn’t a problem for the cow at all and there’s only a small decrease in volume.

  33. Try ramblersway.com. They have wool underwear in many styles. It is very soft, cozy, and USA grown and made. I bought the Henley shirt a couple of months ago and have barely taken it off since. I want to get leggings next.

  34. Brrrrr! Those cats are al puffed up in the cold, Celi! Wonderful for a short time. Summer will come again one day. Times like the one you are having now always make me wonder what it must be like to live in Siberia…..

  35. Oh that is cold! Terribly cold. I am not looking forward to returning to that. I suppose it is par for the course though. I hope your hands didn’t freeze. 🙂

  36. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…..! The lowest we have been here (so far) is 9 degrees. Walking out in that kind of cold feels like your face is freezing, and that it is sucking the air out of your lungs. Too cold!

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