Temperature the old way

Analog thermometer outdoors

It’s around noon, and an unseasonably, pleasantly warm 62°F/17°C. This cheap old plastic analog thermometer has been hanging in a doorway for at least the last 10 years. It’s a quick and reliable way to see how warm or cold it is. No worrying if batteries are running down. No looking for the right angle to read the screen. Only this column of dyed-red alcohol—safer-than-mercury!—expanding and contracting, going up and down. The simplicity is soothing. The way it’s positioned, the afternoon summer sun hits it on one side, causing it to shoot up. Otherwise, all through the winter, it’s shaded from the direct sun, and it gives a roughly accurate reading of the air temperature, 24/7. Why not reposition it so it’s always shaded? Checking it for the temperature on a hot summer afternoon hasn’t seemed to be a big concern. Not sure why!

For tiny farming, I’ve used a few electronic weather gadgets, alongside analog devices like the trusty old min-max thermometer, and a plastic weather vane/thermometer/rain gauge combo that looked like a toy, that I stuck on a post. The thing about seeing the temperature in real-time, it’s a little late to do anything. It’s mostly about satisfying curiosity. On the other hand, min-max thermometers, that record the lowest and highest temperatures they hit until you reset them, they’re super-useful tools, for example, to monitor how cold it gets in the greenhouse at night and adjust! And soil thermometers, now they can come in handy!

Weather forecasts are another story. A day or so out, I’d say they’re around 60% right maybe a bit more (I could be off, it’s just a guess). Overall, it’s hard to tell how useful they actually are, though if you’re in tornado country, you may have a different view! Since yesterday, there’s been a weather alert on my phone. Not color-coded in alarming red and yellow, so far this one is only grey. Still, it’s a “warning”, not the milder “advisory”… The temperature is may suddenly plunge in the afternoon, with heavy gusting wind, and the chance of instant ice on the roads. A cold front is coming, so, I guess, beware…

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