Mystery Photo Frosty Tractor Wheel

Frosty Tractor Wheel

Here’s an interesting puzzler… Why is the tractor rim frosted like that? In the early morning the metal was clean of frost. As the day warmed I saw the frost rime appear and gradually grow on the steel.

Today was too cold to get this effect. In fact, the tractor wouldn’t even turn over never mind start today. My thermometer says it got down to -35°F last night but it was up to a balmy 21°F below zero when we were doing chores. I’m not sure if I believe the thermometer or not. The weather report had not called for it to be that cold. I will admit though that it was dang chilly – I put on my winter work suit rather than being out in the strong winds in my shorts as usual. Still, it didn’t feel like 35°F below zero so I have to wonder if my thermometer was off. Perhaps the intense winds were affecting it. I double check with the laser thermometer we use on our deliveries and it confirmed the extreme cold but it may be that the winds were acting to cool even the granite I measured on the stone dog house. My understanding though of wind chill is it won’t affect something like that. I told everyone to quit early with our outdoor chores once we had gotten the animals hay, feed and water. Whether or not it was really that cold I was worried about frost bite.

The answer is below in reverse lettering. Before you try to read it, think about the problem and leave your answers in comments…

!!!sdnah erab ruoy htiw ti hcuot t’noD .dloc os saw leehw eht ezis no ezorf erutsiom ehT .mir rotcart latem eht no desnednoc hcihw ria eht fo tuo erutsiom gnikcus renoitidnoc ria na ekil detca dna dloc deyats leehw eht ni diulf eht tniop gnizeerf eht ot pu demraw yad eht sA .orez woleb llew ot nwod dellihc ezeerfitna eht thgin eht revO .redaol tekcub eht htiw pu yvaeh gnihtemos gnikcip fo thgiew eht tesffo dna ytivarg fo retnec rewol a ,noitcart retteb sah ti os rotcart eht ot thgiew dda ot ezeerfitna htiw dellif si erit rotcart ehT

Outdoors: -1°F/-35°F Sunny, Very windy, Very cold
Farm House: 52°F/49°F
Tiny Cottage: 67°F/61°F

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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18 Responses to Mystery Photo Frosty Tractor Wheel

  1. MMP says:

    …ti ylppa ot ecalp a ,mazahs dna gninrom siht taht tuoba gnikniht saw I .)egnahc erutarepmet C eerged ni egnahc rep eluoj a sulp( dilos ot gniog )etats diuqil( cc rep seluoj 063 ffo sevig eci ot gniog ropav retaW .regnahcxe taeh a sa detca mir eht dna pmet diulf dloc eht evoba tog pmet ria eht ,pu demraw pmet eht sa dna )pmet thginrevo eht ,os ro 53-( dloc taht si serit ruoy ni diulf eht gnisseug ma I

    By the way, your tires look really round. The stuff I have read about tire pressure for tractors has been to put just enough pressure in to lift the tire up to the shoulder of the tread. Yours look a lot rounder than mine in this picture. What kind of pressure do you keep yours at?


  2. Most excellent. :) We keep the tires at the recommended pressure on the side wall. It is surprisingly low. I don’t recall the exact number at the moment. On the other hand, our van tires recommend 85 psi. I was surprised they were that high. I’m used to vehicle tire pressures being fairly low.

  3. Eek! That was my impression of how wind chill worked, that it required evaporation.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Do your tires have calcium chloride in them? Would that make frost form on the rims?


  5. Heidi says:

    **waves hand in the air** I know this one!! Its the fluid in the tires!!! RIGHT?!?!?!??!?!

  6. Carol-Anne says:

    Hello Walter. I always seem to wander onto your blog every couple of months but rarely have I left a comment. I saw your message encouraging people to comment so here it is. It’s actually more of a question. I noticed in some of your pics that you have the pigs and sheep in the same pastures. Is this true? Have you had any trouble with them sharing space? What about with chickens and/or other animals? We are looking at having a multi-species grazing situation but I don’t want to have any casualties because of my inexperience. Thanks for sharing your journey.


  7. Quatrefoil says:

    Do you know why most of the time I can’t read your blog? 8 or 9 times out of 10 I’m getting a message that says I don’t have permission to access it. I tried mailing your email address on the error message but it bounced too. Then every so often I do have access and can read several weeks of backlog. I thought I’d mention it in case I’m not the only one and you can do something about it at your end.

  8. Very good answers!

    Quatrefoil, what is your IP address? My first guess would be that you have a dynamic IP address within a range I have been getting a lot of spam from (not your fault) and that I subsequently blocked the IP address. If you can let me know your IP address I can check that.

    Carol-Anne, yes, we graze our animals together without problem. The exception is that during lambing we separate the ewes from the pigs. A new born lamb, covered in the after birth blood, is just to tempting to taste. Other than that they all get along together fine. Having them co-graze is very beneficial because each species grazes differently and the chickens act as both pest control and break up manure patties & dirt clots.

  9. Gadget_ca says:

    Warning: off topic post!

    Just out of curiosity, do you know what the air pressures are for inside your cottage vs. outside your cottage? To give you an idea of what I’m looking for:
    this fall, when we started up our fireplace for the first time (we made sure to clean the chimney first), we got a lot of smoke coming into the house. We’ve been “living” with this for several weeks now, but its been driving me nuts. I also noticed that the fire wasn’t burning very good. So, I got some 3″ ABS pipe and some fittings and rigged up a quick-and-dirty “cold air intake” for the fireplace. In the process of doing so, I noticed that there seems to be a significant pressure difference between inside the house vs. outside the house. I was wondering if this would be true with your cottage, or if the earth air tubes and solar chimney would correct for this.

  10. Gadget_ca,

    I’m not sure exactly what you’re asking for, or if perhaps we’re using different terminology. The air pressure inside the cottage is virtually identical to the air pressure outdoors. The cottage air pressure would be a tiny bit less perhaps since it is effectively inside a air flow system powered by the solar chimney effect, stack effect and wood stove chimney. But that difference is nominal and the air moves slowly.

    Air exits up our chimney and through the bathroom exhaust. Air enters through the low intake pipes.

    If the balance between the incoming out outgoing air were off such that there wasn’t enough incoming air then one would get the situation you describe of the chimney not working well, smoke coming back, the fire burning poorly, etc.

    After we had tightened up the old farm house we had a problem with this but when I added the earth air tubes that solved the issue by providing plenty of incoming air.

    Your solution of adding more incoming air was the right thing to do.



  11. Katharine says:

    Hey Walter,

    Off topic of weather, on topic of sheep and pigs…

    I have a question about running the sheep and pigs together. I had been doing that for a while also with no problems, one large boar, two sows and three ewes. No problems. I separated them for a while, added in some younger gilts and a young boar to the larger pigs area and then tried to put my sheep back in. WHAT A MESS! Believe it or not, the young boar was mounting and penetrating my oldest ewe!!! Have you ever know this to happen?? My husband and I were appalled, the ewe was actually pleased, and the boar was happy, until we were able to reach them and try to pull him off her. We finally managed to separate the two forbidden lovers and then they pined for each other from between a stout electric fence for about 20 minutes, him sniffing and grunting, her shaking her tail for him! We could not believe it! We tried pushing him off with our hands, kicking as in not to hurt him but pushing with our feet, nothing worked until I grabbed him by the ear. THAT upset him terribly and then he chased me across the pasture. Not the brightest move- BUT I got him off the ewe. Is this common? Unusual? Should I be worried about either the boar trying again, or my ewe warming up to my LGD?? WHAT causes this??

  12. Yes, Katherine, that does happen. We joke about someday getting pogs, shigs or the like. Nothing is born of these star crossed love affairs.

    As to why it happens, that’s easy – hornymoans, er, hormones. The chemistry is very similar across species. Not that I suggest you try it yourself, just don’t be too shocked at the antics. :)

    The only issue is that it could interfere with mating of the desired breeding pairs. I wouldn’t worry about it.

  13. Katharine says:

    Ahhh… Ok, thanks for the explanation. Now that I know I won’t bother with it, except when he’s messing up a nice fleece!

  14. It is an interesting thought… If we could cross the pigs, chickens, sheep and a cow we would have bacon, eggs, wool and milk all from one animals. Then all we need is to cross the Shigkenow with an orange tree for a complete breakfast with OJ. Somehow, I think that without resorting to genetic engineering we’ll never get there. :)

  15. Katharine says:

    They (scientists/arborists) manage to get multiple fruits from ONE tree, so I imagine that somewhere, someone is working on just such a project! Would cut down on the feeding times and costs though… I’ve thought of trying to get my broilers to shed their feathers, bleed themselves out, spit out their organs, and plop themselves down on in my roasting pan also, but I don’t think I’ll have much luck there either!

    I’ll keep ya updated though..
    Happy days!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Walter, I have been reading your Blog for a while now and summoned the courage to get three pigs this summer. All went well except… at the end the pigs started mounting our Nubian goat. Ughgh… We separated them as the pigs were big by then and we were worried about the goat. I told my husband, I had read and read and had not seen any reference to this! Sometimes, I wonder if these things only happen to us!! I am very glad to see we are not the only ones:)

  17. Linda says:

    As the air warms it contains more moisture than it did when it was cold. The tractor wheel is colder than the surrounding air and causes the water vapor in the air immediately adjacent to the cold steel to condense and then freeze.~Linda’s husband, Joe

  18. Karen B says:

    In response to Gadget, above, on a still day we have to open a window in the room the woodstove is in to equalize the pressure or we, too, get a house full of smoke. On a breezy day there is no backdraft problem.

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