Coldest Place on Earth

Winter is winding down. We still have a foot of snow on the ground and the driveway is still covered in ice but the sun has warmth again and the forecast for the week ahead is starting to lean toward spring temperatures. I suspect by this time next week we will have a whole different landscape out the window.

Looking back I think it’s been a great winter-y sort of winter. We are not blessed here in southern Wisconsin to have winters that automatically come with piles of snow and cold weather but this year we were. Of course this year we also had, according to our school’s superintendent, “an unprecedented amount of snow days” and some people didn’t really like that. Other people complained that they ran out of places to put snow along their driveways and sidewalks, I guess they didn’t like that either.  Still other people liked to share the shocking fact that for a bit it was colder here than in Antarctica (of course it was summer in Antarctica, but people using that phrase don’t like when that is pointed out to them). In any case it was undeniably cold here, the weather powers-that-be called it a polar vortex.

I liked to call it real winter but that made people want to facewash me in that lovely winter snow. Fortunately for me, those were also the people who didn’t want to follow me outside into the cold and snow so I was pretty safe. And yes, it was super cold, like pipe freezing cold and “Wow, let’s use the infrared thermometer to take the temperature of the toilet seat because I think my butt is freezing to it” cold.  One could be upset by that or you could just relish in the fact that taking the temperature of the bathroom floor vs the toilet seat vs the living room floor vs the woodstove is a fun game to play with the infrared thermometer you always wanted but never needed. Of course that’s just inside the house, the real fun was outside.

Going outside when the windchill drops to 40 below (for my international friends that’s the same in Fahrenheit and Celsius) is an adventure. There are layers and layers to put on and eyelashes try to freeze together and your boogers certainly freeze inside your nose and if you spill water on yourself while hauling it to poultry it freezes solid before you get inside and, if you really get a good gust of wind on your forehead, the cold can cut through all your hats and layers and give you an ice cream headache just from standing in it.

It’s amazing when it gets that cold!

Reading back on that I fear I have failed to relay the amount of fun that is. Maybe you have to be a certain kind of person to find the fun in just being when the air makes your face hurt. But what can I say, I’m that person.

My (possibly weird) love of the cold is not the point though. The point is, it was quite cold and wintry here.  However as cold as it was outside, I maintain the odd truth that the coldest place around (certainly colder than Antarctica was this February) are gas station bathrooms. How they manage to keep their water running at such frigid temperatures is clearly some form of gas station magic that us mere mortals are not privy too. As much time as I spent outside in the “dangerously cold” weather I was never as cold as I was in a gas station bathroom. In fact I’m willing to put forth the theory that it’s possibly the weathermen had it wrong and this “polar vortex” situation was really just what happens when too many gas station bathroom doors open simultaneously.

How about you? Were you any place colder than a gas station bathroom this winter?

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April Snow Woes

It’s that problem you have when the day before the ground was solid mud but today it’s all snow covered and frozen.

When you are accustomed to being a glorious white but the mud has lingered and you are are hardly fit to be seen.

When all the puddles and ponds have frozen and all you have left is a water bowl.

And it’s just too small for a decent bath.

 

 

Alternating Rhythm

I love the winter.

I love the snow and the cold, the skiing and the sledding and tromping about in a winter wonderland.

But I also love the long nights with the extra time inside to play games, read by the fire and even catch a little extra sleep.

When I was outside trying to capture the alternating rhythm in the light on the field for this week’s photo challenge, it occurred to me that maybe part of why I love winter is the alternating rhythm of my days.  With daylight hours spent up and moving in the cold weather and nights reserved for recovering by the warm fire, winter days acquire a rhythm that those long days of summer never do.

Or, maybe, it’s just that I like it when my boogers freeze.

 

 

Sun on Snow

Photographers Choice, week 5 of the Dogwood Photography Photo Challenge.

I didn’t quite capture the real warmth that the evening light leaves on the snow.

I can’t quite see that feel the evening has when the snow looks like it’s glowing golden alongside the cool blue shadows.

I missed the wintry wonder of being able to see the warmth of the sun even as your cheeks stiffen in the cold.

But that’s okay, we finally have a winter wonderland outside again and I’m happy to try again tomorrow!

Not Just Any White Stuff Will Do

There are all different kinds of snow.

There is the icy, crystally kind that hurts your cheeks when it drives down out of the sky and the impossibly fluffy kind that falls out of the sky in feathery clumps that compact into almost nothing by morning. There are the super cold drifts that squeak beneath your boots and the terrible warmed and refrozen kind that is really just snow shaped ice covering the ground.

The best kind, that never seems to come around as often as you hope, is the wet pack-able kind. This snow, that snowballs and snowmen are made of, shows up on warm days. And those days, when the snow is debating disappearing altogether but hasn’t yet given up it’s hold, those are the days for sledding.sledding

The track becomes hard and packed so you fly down the hill.Ivy sledding

And between the climb of the hill and the warmth of the day everyone can stay out for hours.Jonas sledding

The soft snow that might be turning to slush at the bottom is forgiving of crash landings. Grandma Mary and Ivy sleddingIt will melt on your face and your clothes, until snow pants start to sag with the weight of it.Grandma Mary, Clara and Ivy sledding

It takes a certain kind of day, a certain type of warmth, a certain amount of snow and a perfect hill.Tyler and Jonas sledding

Not just any white stuff will do…John sledding

…if you are looking for…
Jonas and Pete sledding

 

 

… a perfect day on the hill.Jane sledding