Saturday, February 18, 2006

An invitation

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!


Rexroth's Daughter said...

Love to join you for a cup of tea, but that's a bit too cold for me! Wow, we thought we were cold here with the temp at +18 degrees, but I see that's a rather balmy morning compared to yours. Hope you all manage to stay warm and comfy,and enjoy that hot chili tonight!

madcapmum said...

The year we moved down to this area, 10 years ago, it was -52C, which according to the temperature conversion site is the same as -61.5F.

Thanks but no thanks to the invitation. It finally warmed up here this weekend and I'm not going out in search of cooler climes!

Cathy said...

Here in the banana belt of Colorado - it's 0 this morning. More snow in the forecast. Would love to crochet in front of your fire, watching the birds, listening to your music and enjoying your family. Reminds me of my time at the MO farm when my son was young and my first marriage strong. Just worked up a tree of life for an arch window and now must add a bird or two after seeing your photo.

Darlene said...

Wow, thanks for the picture of the Evening Grosbeak. I've never seen one; well, in bird books, but not a live one on a tree, like you showed us. I'm in St. Paul, and have never had any at my feeders or in the trees, but you must be in the nether parts of the state, further north.

Still getting nuthatches and black-capped chickadees though, at my thistle feeder, and downy woodpeckers and red-headed sapsuckers at my suet. We're in the middle of a frigid spell here. Otherwise, it's been a mild, not-much-snow winter. Love it, but I'm afraid it's going to stunt the roots on my spring-blooming flowers. Brrrrr

Chris O'Byrne said...

22 below here in Bozeman, MT this morning! Not quite as cold, but bad enough. By the time I get back home to Rochester, it should be way up there in the 20s above zero. Good day to sit inside and do some pickin'!

Floridacracker said...

Below? Below Zero? Does the thermometer go there?
I just got back from a top down Jeep ride out to Cedar Key for fried shrimp and Margaritas.
Below zero??......

Deb said...

RD-Cold is relative. And I'm relatively cold!

Madcap-Yikes! Of course, you're where all our cold air comes from, so it should not be a surprise.

p.s. I think I may be up that way in June! You're the first stop on my list of places to visit.

Cathy- It's nice to hear from the banana belt of Colorado! I visited your blog, and it looks like there's a lot of nice crocheting going on. I haven't done any in years, but it may be time to start again.

Darlene- I've seen Evening Grosbeaks as far south as Chisago County. I used to see huge flocks of them at my grandparents' house on West Rush Lake.

Chris- Unfortunately I didn't get any picking done. We went shopping in Duluth, but this is a long weekend so there's still hope. Are you going to be around for the Winter Bluegrass Weekend at all? I'm thinking about it; it's not far from my dad's house.

Floridacracker- you realize you're absolutely killing me by admitting you went for a top down jeep ride for margaritas and shrimp. The best we can do here is fried northern pike with rum and Diet Pepsi Lime. I was drooling at the bags of frozen shrimp at Sam's Club today.

pablo said...

If I had the free time, I'd dash up there for a visit in a minute, but only if I could be assured of a shower in that nifty outdoor arrangement you have!

Floridacracker said...

If he does zip up there for a shower, please, no towel clad Pablo in the snow pictures :)

Melissa said...

Geez. I thought it was cold here in Oregon when it dipped down to 18 the other night. That's cold where you are!

Deb said...

pablo-we would be more than happy to have a hot shower waiting. And I'm with you, Floridacracker, I wouldn't want my Greek god mental image of Pablo to be shattered by a less-than-flattering photo. ;)

Melissa- It's much warmer today (Monday); it didn't even get below zero last night.