Re: [gardeners] In the garden

Matt Trahan (
Sun, 15 Nov 1998 23:13:44 -0500

>Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 08:01:07 -0800
>From: George Shirley <>
>Subject: Re: [gardeners] In the garden
>It's the only expression relating to cold weather that I know that
>doesn't refer to part of a witch's anatomy. <VBG> You would have to be
>a southerner to realize how much we hate cold weather.
> wrote:
>> In a message dated 13/11/98 01:33:11 GMT, writes:
>> <<  Cold as a
>>  well-diggers ankles in Alaska out there. Must be 40F! To cold for us to >>
>> Hi George, love this expression.
>> Mary in England

Hi George,

 Try "cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey".

 Now wait a minnit! <VBG>  *If* I remember correctly, this comes from
someone on gardens (this was a few years ago) who was fond of an email list
that explored the meaning of old sayings.
 I believe a brass monkey was a square metal plate with depressions for
individual cannon balls. The cannon balls were stacked in a pyramid shape.
 Apparently, when it was cold enough, the brass would contract more than
the cannon balls, and it would contract enough to shift some of the balls
off of it.
 Amazing what you learn through the computer.

 There was another good one. I was sure I saved it, spent an hour looking
for it in my old mail, but I can't find it.
 It was a history lesson in just a long paragragh, but it spanned over 2
millenia. It started with "why are the rails on a train spaced the distance
they are?" It went back to include the Roman roads, the average distance of
wheels on a cart, the approximate distance of several men walking abreast,
It was fascinating! If anyone is familiar with it, please let me know where
I can find a copy of it.

Have fun and stay warm
Matt Trahan  <> or <>
USDA zone 8, AHS heat zone 7, Sunset zone 31, northeastern N.C.