We have been very cold.

The Bay Area has been having a bit of a cold spell, temperatures around 20F at nights, not getting much above 50F during the day. While those of you who regularly experience -20F might scoff, the cold feels a lot colder when you live in a house where you can see the outside through the walls, and where the heating system is not sized to deal with temperatures that low. It was kind of like winter camping.

Morning frost

I'm not used to going out and seeing frost on the deck and garden every morning. We do get the occasional frost here, but usually not for seven days in a row. And certainly I can count on one hand the number of days when I needed to scrape ice off the window before driving to work.

That was pretty much every day last week.

Frost on the California poppy

Some plants rolled with it. The California poppy actually does fine in frost; it's a plant that lives in a lot of different climate zones so that makes sense. Frost is no big surprise further inland.

The oxalis doesn't care for the cold

The oxalis, on the other hand, did not cope with repeated frosts very well. I can't say I'm heartbroken, though I'd like to keep the pretty pink oxalis we have out back.

More insulation, and plastic sheeting

In response, Noel did more blocking and installed more insulation upstairs, and then stapled up this piece of plastic on the ceiling in the upstairs bathroom. Tonight, for the first time in weeks, you can walk upstairs and feel warm. Pretty nice.

posted by ayse on 12/15/13


Don't assume that something that looks dead from frost is actually dead. It may regrow from the roots as spring comes on. There is oxalis here in zone 6 where I live. I leave the leaves and stuff in place through the winter for that type of plant, assuming they provide some insulation for the roots.

Is that tile on the wall and finished framing around the window that I see? It looks like things are moving along. We're adjusting to −26 C (about −15 F) here in Ontario and later this week, it's supposed to go back up to 2 C (about 33 F). What a crazy roller coaster of temperatures!

I was wondering about you over there last week! Our house in San Leandro (stucco outside/plaster inside) has ZERO insulation except downstairs in the laundry room, where we had to do sheer walling so put in some insulation at the time. We are scheduled to have insulation blown into the attic in January. Not soon enough! Since we cannot keep any heat in the house anyway, we've been sleeping with the furnace off and waking up to a 45-degree house. My friends in Minneapolis think that's insane.

Your eternally positive attitude always makes me smile, shake my head and think - how in the world do they manage to be so positive in that torn up house? You guys are amazing. Thanks for being you.

Yeah, that oxalis will probably pop right back up again once it warms up. Twenty-degree week-long freezes didn't manage to kill it off in Portland, so unless your varietal is particularly tender it'll likely survive to infest (ahem, I mean bloom) again.

Given that it survived me torching it with a flame thrower, I wasn't thinking it was dead and gone, just that it has nicely died back for now. I'm not sure that anything other than letting the chickens do their thing with it will work. They dig out the little bulbs. No more oxalis, but the area is a wasteland when they are done.

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