Saturday, January 26, 2013

what's weather to a Californian?

After my post about the cold, Stan Arendts sent along his memories, and Marilyn Weidler Ulve made comments as well.  Made me think more about the hoarfrost in the barn.  There was so much moisture there that many of the windows would collect the moisture from the air, alternately chilling and heating it to the point there was typically a bank of ice at the bottom of the window.  Just like the insides of a poorly designed refrigerator.

Here are Stan's memories:

I can really identify with this. Aside from 2 misadventures to CT and one to OH, I have spent most of my post NKHS days in warm climates. During the Iowa winter, I could not keep warm. I even resorted to sitting on the furnace grate, to no avail.

If we failed to keep the humidifier stocked, the wood in the house would actually begin to split from the dryness. Sometimes the window hoar frost was so bad, you couldn' see outside.

One of the few advantages was to comb your hair with water, go outside and let it freeze. Worked like butch wax, however, if my mother found out she would have a hissy fit. One of my sisters still lives in IA (Marshalltown) and fortunately for her, she loves the snow.

If I ever considered moving back to the "auld sod" I think my wife would divorce me. Even though she is from NYC she has never seen anything like the IA winters. I have never been anywhere else where you could tell someone was approaching by the squeaking noise made in the snow.

I spent a New Years Eve in Minneapolis around 1965. It was -26 (no wind chill) the day of departure the brand new demonstrator my father let me drive would not start. I made a pledge to God "Please deliver me from this wilderness and I will never return" I have never set foot there again and do not intend to do so.


Meanwhile, 20 miles west of here at the St Paul Cathedral, the true winter lovers are in the middle of their Winter Carnival and several crazies are participating in the Red Bull Crushed Ice skating competition.  Strangely, it was so cold the other day that they had to delay their start by 3 or 4 hours so the ice would warm up.  Seems that sub-zero weather (mid-20s are ideal) makes the ice so dry it cracks and causes problems.  That would fit Stan's comment about knowing someone is approaching because the snow squeaks.  Personally I think the squeaking mostly only happens up north.  You know, Bemidji, Duluth/Superior, Warroad, International Falls, Ashland.  I mean, it gets COLD up there.

You can watch competition live today as it is streamed at this link. It's way too cold for me to bother to attend, and I lack the interest to view it online. The whole drill seems an exercise in self-flagellation.  Here's a video of one of the skaters taken from his helmet-cam.  It doesn't really show how often he is actually in the air as he goes over several humps.

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