Hello Friends and Family,

1974 Winter in Minnesota, Part 2

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Just imagine, waking up on a cold Minnesota winter day, sitting in your warm house, looking out your picture window at the beautiful blanket of snow covering everything in sight. It brought out the little kid in me, wanting to get outside and play. It was ironic that it was usually too cold to make a snowball or a snowman — it turns out you need some moisture to pack the snow together — but it was just too darn cold.

Somehow, even as an adult, if you bundle up properly, it is enjoyable to take it all in — a winter wonderland! When it was really cold, I would wear an Air Force parka with a fur-lined hood and maybe long underwear. Good fur-lined gloves, warm boots, and sunglasses complete the outfit. I would still end up with ice in my mustache and beard — the moisture in my breath freezing on the cold facial hair.

To one side of my 1.6-acre lot was a small side road — which I never seemed to notice except when it was dusted in snow, then plowed clear. I wonder who lived down that road. I wonder who lived down that road.

Standing on that side road, I could get a completely different view of my house. Notice my tracks (plus someone else's) crossing my property. The rest of the snow was totally undisturbed.

Some snowscapes bring interesting questions such as why some of this property is so flat with no plants sticking through while other parts are full of plants pushing their heads above the snow. No idea.

Another thing one learns living in Minnesota is that the state is rightly known for its cold temperatures — not so much for its snowfall. When winter arrives, it will be cold enough to wring the moisture out of the air in the form of snow. However, later when it gets really, really cold, there is little or no moisture from which Mother Nature can make snow. So the middle part of the winter tends to be just bitter cold — and the snow already on the ground tends to get dirty, particularly around roads.

Late winter brings the moisture back and with it, more snow. In fact, when I lived there, it seemed like the worst blizzards occurred around the time of the state high school hockey tournament (you guessed it, hockey is BIG in Minnesota) — often forcing the competing teams to be trapped in their hotels for the duration of the tournament.

If you look closely, you'll see that these tracks were made by a couple of cross country skiers. It's a great way to get around in winter — you can even cross the frozen lakes with little fear of the ice breaking and giving you a chilly dip — the skis spread your weight over a wider area.

Ah, some more snow-coated trees and branches — so lovely.

With smaller vegetation also getting into the act.

The evergreens spread their branches and catch so much snow that gravity drags them down.

The road crews worked hard to keep the roads clear of snow. By and large, they seemed to do a pretty good job. My only complaint was when we had heavy, wet snow which when plowed, would end piled up at the base of my driveway — often frozen into big boulders. It took a lot of work to clear that bottom few feet of driveway. Sometimes professional help had to be called to clear the way.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com