Monday 23 January 2023

Hoar frost

We are experiencing a second protracted period of hard frosts, like December just gone, with temperatures remaining below freezing all through the day. Back to lugging buckets of water back and forth because of frozen outdoor taps and hoses and breaking the ice in water troughs. 

I had another delivery of straw last week for bedding the pigs. The fleece of the sheep are frosted but they do not seem to mind. They get through their hay far quicker because what grass there is at this time of the year is frozen stiff. 

The last few days has seen the preponderance of hoar frost giving the surroundings a winter wonderland appearance. It looks very pretty if you care to look up and about. The feathery white hoar frost forms when the water vapour in the air rapidly forms ice  crystals when it comes into contact with already frozen surfaces. As more water vapour comes into contact the ice crystals continue to grow.  

Looking up the meaning of 'hoar', it is an Old English word for grey and the connection to hoar frost is grey beard which in a way hoar frost resembles. I assume 'hoary' refers to a traditional piece of knowledge extrapolated from greybeards being associated with elderly wisdom.

Hazel tree covered in hoar frost

Hoar frost close up


  1. We thought the trees looked beautiful as we drove through the countryside to church yesterday. You're right about 'hoar'. One of my favourite old Baptist hymns, written 250years ago has a verse about God blessing us right through our lives, even to old age and grey hairs ( that verse is usually missed out these days. (I suspect people might misunderstand the word hoar)

    1. "And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn" - I rather like this line. How you retrieved this reference from your memory I'll never know!