Saturday, February 18, 2006
I would like to extend this invitation to all readers of this blog to come and spend this, the coldest weekend of the year, here at Sand Creek. You'll have to dress warm, and cover everything; with the wind chill factor added to the temperature above, any exposed flesh starts freezing almost instantly. But don't worry; it's plenty warm inside, with the wood stove and propane heater going simultaneously. You can enjoy watching Calvin playing Tony Hawk Skateboarding on the Game Cube, or watch Harry Potter movies, or maybe enjoy a little music from me, or help me plan my garden. The beer is nice and cold, all I have to do is keep it on the porch floor and it nearly freezes. Later on I'll make a pot of chili guaranteed to warm you inside and out.
The Hermit claims the temperature before sunrise, which tends to be the coldest time, was 28 below zero F. How does that compare with the rest of Minnesota? International Falls, the icebox of the north, recorded a low of 24 below. Rural Lake County, which includes the towns of Tower and Embarrass that hold the record for the coldest temp ever recorded in the lower 48 (I think it was 60 below), also bottomed out at 24. The lowest recorded temperature I could find for last night was Hibbing, northwest of Duluth on Minnesota's Iron Range, with -27. Cloquet, about 40 miles to the north, recorded a balmy 20 below. Duluth, forget it, with the lake effect they never get as cold as we do here. So it is very likely that this was the coldest spot in Minnesota this morning. As Calvin remarked, "It's so cold, when I pee it freezes before it hits the ground."
Oh, and you can also enjoy a cup of coffee or tea by the woodstove, while you watch the activity at my bird feeder.
I call this dead spruce the "Tree of Life" in winter, because on a day like today the branches are a flurry of bird activity. Note the yellow guy on the trunk.
Here he is at the broken top of the tree. This is the male Evening Grosbeak, a boreal species that we see occasionally in the winter. This morning was the first time I actually saw them come to the feeder.
And of course there are black-capped chickadees. They will likely be close to the feeder all day, as they must eat constantly to stay warm. They are hard to photograph, as they are constantly in motion, like this one.
So come on up to the Frozen North!