The Reality of Winter

winter blowing snow

So here we are in Minnesota. The temperature is 12 below zero Fahrenheit with a wind chill factor of 33 below zero and dropping. Water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit so that means we are 44 degrees below freezing. If you take a cup of boiling water and throw it into the air outside it will turn to vapor and blow away in the wind. No kidding, it really works. If you blow bubbles with a childs bubble blowing wand the bubbles will freeze instantly and break like glass. Now I know that those of you who do not live in a northern climate really have a hard time understanding how cold it gets so here’s some reality for you. There is ice in my dogs water dish on the kitchen floor. Heat rises, so the kitchen is not that cold but there is no basement underneath it so there’s not much insulation from the outside. You have to wear slippers or shoes in the kitchen. Now to be fair, these really cold days are usually rare. Most often the temps are between zero and 30 degrees F. and by the end of the week it’s supposed to warm up into the 20’s. It’ll be quite the heat wave. We’ll probably have to break out the barbeque grill. Well maybe not.

We live on the north side of a lake. One of more than twenty lakes in Rice County. Our lake is on a river and was formed when a damn was built at Faribault for a flour mill. Cannon Lake is only fifteen feet at it’s deepest point and the really cold weather can have serious consequences for shallow lakes. As long as the temp stays below zero ice continues to form and shallow lakes can freeze all the way to the bottom resulting in fish kill. Two years ago one of our lakes froze all the way and in the spring there were hundreds of dead fish on the shore. It can take a few years for the fish to build up a decent population and if all the fish die in a lake that is spring fed (no river to feed it) there just won’t be any fish unless the DNR stocks the lake. My son goes out ice fishing quite a bit and he tells me the ice is getting pretty thick. A co worker said there is two feet of ice on the lake she lives on. There are lots of fish houses, cars, trucks and four wheelers out on the lakes. The fishing is good.

With all the difficulty of living in winter in Minnesota, we still love it here. If your car starts you have to let it warm up a good fifteen minutes before you drive it. The brakes and steering will be stiff and the engine runs rough when it’s that cold. You have to dress for the weather. Lots of clothes, boots, coats, mittens, scarves, hats, etc. And you have to be really careful when walking outside. People have fallen and frozen to death because they couldn’t get up. Frostbite is a reality too. You can lose your fingers and toes if you get frostbite too badly. But we love it. It’s beautiful here. The air is crisp and clear and the sun shines alot in the winter. The snow sparkles like diamonds and it’s great getting outside when the weather permits. So if you don’t already live here, come on up to the north. Like I said, it’s beautiful here.


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