Appreciating the Icy Winter on the Farm

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Can we all say it together? WE’RE SICK OF WINTER!!! This one has been especially tough here in the Midwest. Since it’s our first winter on our Wisconsin farm, we’ve had a real education in rural living … or should we say survival! We are now pros at heating with wood, and I’ve learned what happens when you try to paint a wall that contains a drafty door when there is a strong, icy wind coming through … who knew that paint granulates when applied to a cold wall? I suppose we’ve jumped into the deep end of the rural-winter-pool, and, having survived, it shouldn’t be any worse in the future!

Nonetheless, there are some really wonderful winter experiences we’ve had up here that have made me stop and stare with wonder, even with below-zero wind blowing in my face. Here are a few of my favorites:

The Sun Dog

I can’t explain what this thing is, so I’ll let Wikipedia do it: “Sundogs are commonly made by the refraction of light from plate-shaped hexagonal ice crystals in high and cold cirrus clouds or, during very cold weather, these ice crystals are called diamond dust, and drift in the air at low levels. These crystals act as prisms, bending the light rays passing through them with a minimum deflection of 22°. If the crystals are randomly oriented, a complete ring around the sun is seen — a halo. But often, as the crystals sink through the air, they become vertically aligned, so sunlight is refracted horizontally — in this case, sundogs are seen.

As the sun rises higher, the rays passing through the crystals are increasingly skewed from the horizontal plane. Their angle of deviation increases, and the sundogs move further from the sun. However, they always stay at the same elevation as the sun.

Sundogs are red-colored at the side nearest the sun. Further out the colors grade through oranges to blue. However, the colors overlap considerably and so are muted, never pure or saturated. The colors of the sundog finally merge into the white of the parhelic circle (if the latter is visible).” (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_dog)

Eagle Watching

This huge bird is a regular visitor to the field adjacent to our pasture. He watched me as closely as I watched him while he ate his meal. I made sure our 25 pound cockapoo puppy was safely inside of the house before I headed into our side yard to take these photos!

Winter Sunrise, Sunset

I wish I had the kind of camera that could take nighttime photographs, so I could show you the glorious winter night sky, thick with stars and the Milky Way. Even when it has been way below zero outside, I have not minded taking puppy out that one last time before bed…I just bundle up well, and keep my eyes heavenward! It’s been a tough winter, but there is beauty in the ice and snow which warms the heart.