Back when we were RVing we quickly found out how important it was to be aware of the weather. Not only to avoid driving through the Midwest during tornado season, as we did here, but also to try to avoid frozen pipes, as we learned here. We relied on a thermometer that had a really long wire with a sensor on the end. We’d run that wire through a gap in the kitchen window and into one of our storage bays. That allowed us to keep an eye on how cold it got in there. If the temperatures dropped too low we’d turn on some little ceramic heaters to prevent our pipes from freezing…again.
Well, times have changed and not only are we now off-the-road and learning to “farm” but thermometers now come with wireless sensors. I know, I know…what will they think of next?? (Okay, they also have Bluetooth thermometers that will send temperature data straight to your phone but you have to have good Internet…something we are lacking here in the canyon).
Until recently I’d been using a cheapo version of a wireless remote and thermometer. It seemed to work well but, with only one sensor I was constantly having to “borrow” it for different projects. For instance, when I started making my own yogurt using a cooler (more on that in a different post) I would steal the remote from outside and place it in the cooler to track the temperature without opening the lid (and letting the necessary heat out). I could easily seen if the inside temperatures were within the prime target range of 90-110 degrees F. But, I would no longer know the outside temperature. Not the end of the world but a little annoying.
We then build our new grow tunnel and I planted seeds. I needed to know how hot it was getting inside so I could vent the windows if necessary. Another inconvenience…especially if I also happened to be making yogurt which, when using raw milk, is kinda important to keep at a certain temperature.
A couple of weeks ago we got 3 new chicks (Shelia, Chessy and Leeloo). A chick brooder (or plastic swimming pool in our case) needs to stay around 90-95 degrees for the first week or two. Too cold and the chicks could get sick and die. Too hot and, well, little bitty chicken nuggets. Obviously, the priority for our temperature sensor was the chicks. During that time I tried to make yogurt. It didn’t set right…probably because I didn’t keep it warm enough. Wasting food sucks. Wasting somewhat expensive raw milk is a travesty. Since it’s raw milk I’m not even sure if the spoils are safe enough to give my livestock. Sad face.
The good news that came out of this sad, sad story is that it prompted me to find a solution. And yeah, I get it, back in the old days farmers and homesteaders and grandmas were quite capable to making yogurt and raising chicks and planting in cold frames all without having a gadget that tells them the temperature. But, they also didn’t sit around in their spare time and read blog posts on a computer or smart phone or tablet like you are right now. We all like a certain level of convenience, right?
What I found to fill my need is this lovely Ambient Weather Thermo-hygrometer with 8 channels. I’ll admit, I didn’t know what all that meant but soon discovered that this thing would provide me with a base unit I could have in my house and up to 8 more remote sensors I could place anywhere I needed. I decided to buy the unit which came with 3 remotes, knowing I can add more later. And, the beauty of this unit is that it is compatible with a variety of sensors including one you can use in a hot tub or pool. For now, I have a sensor in the chick brooder, one in the grow tunnel and one on the back porch. As you can see, I still don’t have one dedicated to the yogurt cooler but I don’t feel so bad borrowing the back porch remote once a week to make yogurt. And, I can always add more remotes…which you can purchase separately as your needs grow.
I’m contemplating purchasing one of these wet probe remotes (which also works with my base unit). This probe might be useful for keeping track of the moisture levels in the garden as well as soil temperatures. If the moisture sensor works like I hope then it could save those poor veggies I sometimes let get too dry between watering. I’ll keep you posted.
Obviously, there are many applications for this set up. It’d be handy in your RV for the reasons stated above or you might want to keep you wine cellar or humidor within the necessary parameters you see fit. Maybe you want to know how warm (or cold) your pool is before just jumping in all Polar Bear Plunge style. Or maybe you’re into fermenting foods (like sourdough, kombucha, yogurts or kefir) and want to ensure your fermentation area is conducive to…um…fermenting. I feel this is money well spent and will update you in a few months on how the unit is functioning and other applications we come up with…so stay tuned!
Disclosure: Tales From the Mutiny (aka Clark and Lynn Bonelli) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Our aim is to link to products we actually use and recommend.