Ground FogI get a real kick out of all the people complaining about the cold weather lately. To hear some of them go on about it, you would think they had never experienced freezing temperatures before in their life. I can sort of understand the people in Florida whining when it drops into the 50’s but come on Canadians.

In 1971, the year I joined the Canadian Armed Forces, after basics and trades training, I ended up posted to Halifax Nova Scotia from where I was immediately sub-posted to Debert. I put in for a military flight home to Alberta for Christmas. At that time both my parents were still alive and of course I wanted to see my brother and sister too.

When I got on the military 707 at the Shearwater Airforce Base near Halifax it was +40F. Canada hadn’t changed over to metric yet at that time, although it was in the works. Temperature didn’t change officially until 1, April 1976.

Anyway, when I got off the plane at the airbase near Namao, Alberta the temperature was -40F. That’s an 80 degree drop in less than 24 hours. Thankfully I was prepared for it to some degree and had brought some warm clothing with me. By the way -40 is exactly the same in Fahrenheit and Celsius.cold

I got home to Hines Creek a day or two before Christmas, and enjoyed some time with my family, but the day after Christmas the temperature dropped below -60F and stayed there for the entire week. Often at night it dropped to -70. That’s as far down as the thermometer went. After that the mercury just huddled in the bulb at the bottom.

At those temperature very little moves. You could plug your car in and it might start, but then it couldn’t move because the oil in the transmission and differential was as thick as tar. The only way we could get the tractor running to do chores, was to  light a fire under the oil pan and another under the transmission and differential.

Yes even at those temperatures there were chores to be done. The animals still needed to be fed and watered and or course they needed extra bedding against the extreme cold. Plus, their drinking water needed to be heated to help raise their core temperatures.


I do know that at those temperatures you don’t go outside without covering your mouth and nose with a scarf. Otherwise when you breathe in air that cold, it burns all the way down to your lungs. And does sound ever carry at those temps. At night, the horses walking around in the neighbors corral, half a mile away, sounded like they were in our yard.

To top it all off, in those days our bathroom facilities were still in the little shack out back. At those temperatures you do not sit, you hover. Now stop your whining people or Mother Nature might just give you something to whine about.


2 thoughts on “So You Think It’s Cold?

  1. Thanks for the interesting article Bill. – 60 Brrrrr. Now for us West Australians that’s an unimaginable freezing temp! Instead we reckon + 44 c is horrendous! I mention that as it was 44.4 c here in Perth last Tuesday!

    1. Well Ross, the only way I can respond to that is, at least with the cold you can put on more clothes. I can’t imagine enduring anything over +35. One may as well just step into the oven and be done with it. At +44 even removing all clothes would do no good. Remind me not to visit you at this time of year.

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