Appreciating the Icy Winter on the Farm


| 2/15/2014 10:40:00 PM


Lori HavensCan 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

Sundog1

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.