Cold of Outer Space


Frost on Space Spider Webs

Stepping out of our Tiny Space Ship the wisps of atmosphere drift outward into space in a billowing white cloud of frozen water vapor around our space suits. The space spider’s silken strands seek to snatch the escaping crystals – nothing is wasted. We waddle awkwardly across the Martian landscape to do chores in the four billion degrees below zero temperatures.


Weather not fit for Man nor Beast nor Machine

No, actually, it wasn’t that cold. In fact, it didn’t even get to the 27°F below that had been predicted. Last night I measured 16°F below zero as the low and was thankful. That’s 27°C below zero for the Fahrenheit challenged or a balmy 240°K for those who spend their time in space and prefer absolute Kelvin.


Pigs on a Warmer Day

Still, with the wind it felt a lot colder. Had you been here you would have seen us dressed in full insulated work suits with four layers, ear flap hats, goggles, gloves and thick boots. Chores were to be done as soon as possible and everyone was in by 11:40 am. Fortunately by noon it warmed up to zero in the intense sun of the cloudless day on northern Mars.


Dirkholm Learning About Pigs

The pigs, ducks, chickens and geese didn’t even consider getting up and greeting me as I did morning rounds. All of them were snuggled into the fresh hay we have been putting out in extra abundance these past few days in anticipation of this ultra-cold weather.


Ben, Dogs and our Space Ship

The dogs on the other hand, with their thick double fur coats and hyper metabolisms, were zipping around all over the snowscape on their jet packs, hopping from asteroid to asteroid, crater to crater. The deep cold of outer space, or even Vermont winters for that matter, never seems to bother them. They just curl up on top of a snow bank for a break where they can see everything and gradually get covered by snow, vanishing from sight. The surface of their fur is so insulating that snow doesn’t melt on them. When they get up they leave a ring in the snow and almost no icing. Using my temperature gun the dogs appear to blend in Infra-Red with the background letting out almost no waste heat except from noses and eyes. Then they give me a wide glowing grin – Nobody here but us snow spirits!

Outdoors: 5°F/-16°F Sunny, Winy
Tiny Cottage: 69°F/59°F

Daily Spark: Perhaps Hell is a cold place above the ice and heaven is the warmth below, protected from the fierce winter winds.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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13 Responses to Cold of Outer Space

  1. David Lloyd Sutton says:

    Lived for a couple of years in New Mexico, about eighteen miles south of Santa Fe, at about six thousand feet. We had a pack of wolf hybrids, looked much like your LLGDs as to intelligent eyes and shimmering grins and even conformation. They would not bother to enter their igloos for anything less than a full blizzard, and often lay on snow drifts, sleeping spread out and panting. I never put an IR gun on them, but suspect their insulation factor was absolute. The pack mother was Arctic Tundra, the daddy Mackensie Valley Timber. Hybrid vigor!! Both sides had a bit of Malemute about five generations back. Made for almost instant housebreaking and easier trainability. Suspect they tamed us, not the other way ’round.

  2. yb says:

    spelling mistake, should be asteroid not astroid.

  3. mellifera says:

    Wait, how many puppies do you have kicking around now? I don’t believe I’d met Dirkholm….

  4. Jennifer says:

    Brr! It’s thinking about ya’ll and other friends up North (and wearing proper clothing) that keeps me from grumbling when it’s in the teens (that’s in positive numbers) here in NC.

    Can’t help but wonder if young Dirkholm is thinking, “Well, they are ugly dogs, for sure. Bald. Smell funny, too. And their eating habits, oy vey!”

  5. Emma says:

    I have a curious question to ask. Why does the tractor wheel have frost on it like that. Is that how high the snow was?

    I love your house. So snug and cozy looking.

  6. Anne Brightstar says:

    I love your cottage too. I want to build something like this. Small. A low carbon footprint. I like that cement will last forever or at least my lifetime and many more rather than like wood that burns or falls down or gets moldy and termite eaten. Termites are a real problem here. The fact that you and you family were able to do it yourselves so fast makes it seem feasible to me to do too. Ive been reading back through all your old tiny cottage posts and loving them.

  7. Duck says:

    Like Millifera, I haven’t met Dirkholm yet either.
    I love your dogs. Someday I’d be honored to own one, but that would be a long way off until I have a bit of land and more of a need for a Guardian. Right now my two house dogs scare off pretty much whatever might be lurking, and having only three goats in a small pasture (soon to be larger thankfully) I don’t have to worry much about predator loss.

    As I’ve been wondering and sort of coveting them lately, how much would a puppy cost anyhow? Then I might have a goal to shoot for, lol. Thanks. :)

    • This is a question I get a lot but I don’t have an answer as we don’t have puppies available and we have many dozens of people who’ve asked to be “on the list” for puppies. Since we don’t breed the dogs to sell it is only occasional that one might be available. The last time we sold a dog the cost was $600 but that was many years ago. I would expect the price to be higher now if we did have a pup available.

  8. Mikey says:

    I love the new top photo of the mountains in snow cover. The sky is so blue it is sureal. Did you photo edit it or is that natural?

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