Monday, January 20, 2014

There's cold and then there's COLD

Here in Wyoming, where winter lasts for 6 months, cold is a part of life. Kids take their snow pants to school for recess, you have to start the car 20 minutes before you go anywhere (unless you have the luxury of a garage), and you become a religious weather checker. After living here for a couple of years, you get to the point where you can gauge the temperature by how quickly your snot starts to freeze.

There's a bit of pride involved in being able to live where the elements are harsh. I know how to drive on the snow and ice, I can build a fire, I can go for a walk in 10 degree weather and think it's not that bad. Don't get me wrong, this time of year I envy those who live in more temperate climates. But if it weren't for the long winters and mosquito filled summers, Cokeville would have a population of 10,000 instead of 535. The cold is what keeps this little slice of heaven one of America's best kept secrets.

One of the downsides of the cold is that we don't get very good snow for snowball fights and building snowmen. It's usually so cold that the snow is dry and doesn't stick together. When we get a big snowstorm, it's not necessarily a kid's dream. You can go sledding or skiing if you can handle the cold, but hanging out in your yard playing in the snow usually doesn't last that long. Oh, and we NEVER get snow days.

Well, last weekend we got a bunch of snow followed by an unusually warm day. And by unusually warm I mean upper 30's. It's only the second time this winter we've had good snowman snow.

Here's a quick peek at our first snow day in November:

Silver's like, "Freakin' human with the camera, making me sit here and get ice balls in my fur."

This is one of my favorite pictures. Amelia and Mack are actually working together.

This snow came right after the last weekend of decent weather. I never did get the leaves raked in the back yard.

The cats had mixed responses to the snow. Spooky wanted to be right in the middle of all the action. Firetail mostly stayed under the camper or the propane tank (unless you were offering pets, then he came running). Annie decided that snow was for the birds and she went right back to the door, thanking her lucky stars that she's an inside cat. Jackie and Sophie were off cattin' around the neighborhood.

Isn't he a pretty boy, especially in the snow?

One of the coolest gifts we've ever gotten is a snowman building kit. My cousin's wife, Jenn, gave it to us for a family gift exchange a few years ago. It includes wooden eyes, a carrot nose, a pipe, coal for the mouth, and a scarf.

The girls were sure proud of their snowmen (Mack had long since called it quits and gone inside for some hot chocolate).

Now, fast forward to January. After the kids had been sick and cooped up in the house for several days, they were super excited to bundle up and play outside with our next-door neighbors, Rebecca and Brenden. Oh, they had a fun time!

Silver hung out with us, but had to be tied up on her long leash because she kept trying to run off to snoop around the neighborhood. Can't have that, not everyone is happy to see a dog in their yard. ;)

The snow was great for packing, but the snowballs got big fast. Mack wanted to roll his own snowball, but it got so heavy that he couldn't move it. He didn't want any help from his sister and had a little meltdown when he couldn't do it all by himself.

Each of the kids got a little brick maker from Stan & Betty's store here in town. Mack was so excited to get one, but it took a couple weeks before there was the right kind of snow to use it.

During the snowman building, Lily was out in Daddy's camper/wood shop working on a small wooden box with dovetails. I had to get her help to lift the top two snowballs and I still almost broke my back!

A snowman's hat stays on better if you fill it with snow and attach it with a stick inserted into the snowman's head.

The kids really wanted Silver to be in their picture.

I suspect our giant snowman will be watching over our front yard for the next two months. :)

That was a fun day. But let me show you what a more typical winter morning looks like in Cokeville.

I drive Amelia to school each morning because she is never ready early enough to walk and there's no way my non-morning girl would ever walk in this cold anyway. Lily, however, is up early, ready early, and is not afraid to walk in the cold if it means she can get to school at 7:30 when they unlock the doors.

-9 degrees isn't the worst we've seen this winter. On December 11 my Facebook status said, "-20 degrees. Wyoming ain't for wusses." This is the inside of our storm door that morning. Jack Frost's handiwork.

Occasionally we'll have a foggy night combined with freezing temperatures. Everything gets encapsulated with frost and the trees look so pretty.

{photos taken January 2010}

The other morning I went to take Amelia to school and Spooky was covered in frost.

Now before you think we're cruel cat owners, note the little roof Spooky is sitting on. It goes to an insulated cat house that has heated beds inside.

This is where the cats are supposed to sleep. But apparently they're not too bright because I went outside at midnight last night to take Silver out and Jackie was the only cat smart enough to be in on the heated bed. Whatever.

I guess everyone adjusts to the cold, even the cats. You gotta get tough or die!


Anonymous said...

I love your philosophy about your little slice of Heaven :-). Maybe I won't move there just yet...
I am grateful you have shared all the photos with the kids and their fun in the snow... I don't feel quite so far away.
the Utah Grammie

Becky in Wyo said...

Yep, live in the cold. Get tough or die, dude. I do kind of have some Wyoming pride, just a bit. I walk out in the cold without a coat sometimes and think, "This isn't so bad." I'm probably tougher, weather-wise, than say, Californians . But then, those SEALs train out in the cold surf, so maybe it's all relative. I bet some of the Alaskans think nearly everyone else are a bunch of wussies.