Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘snow

Interesting Science

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I was actually beginning to write this interesting science post last Sunday morning, back when it was so cold outside, but then Cyndie burst in to announce we had a horse emergency. Boy, did we.

I spent a little time with the three chestnuts after I got home from work yesterday. They were mostly preoccupied with munching the freshly served hay that Cyndie had just put in the boxes, but there were some brief moments of acknowledgement from each of them.

They seemed a little hapless to me. It could just as easily be a projection of my own forlorn perspective, but they are obviously in the middle of trying to adjust to the sudden absence of their principle decision maker, so hapless feels like a logical possibility.

It snowed a lot on Sunday and Monday this week, so I also did some shoveling yesterday afternoon. The deck on the back side of the house had not been cleared since the snow piled up. I wanted to get that cleaned off before the next thaw arrives, which we are anticipating for the next few days, starting with this afternoon.

The last time I was writing about the deck was because it had remained surprisingly clear throughout the prior snowfall, partly because it had been so windy, and partly because that precipitation started as a drizzling rain. If you are a regular reader, you may recall that I posted a picture of it.

Well, by the afternoon of the very next day, the deck surface had changed so dramatically that I took another picture for comparison.

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I’ve written about this before, because it is a winter phenomenon that fascinates me. The ice sublimates from a solid to a gas without actually becoming liquid in between. It just disappears into cold, thin air.

If you enlarge the photo on the left, you can see the bumpy glaze of ice on the boards that formed as the relatively warm and wet precipitation started to fall. I originally posted that photo because I was amazed the several inches of snow that came out of the sky by the end of the event, never accumulated on the deck.

The wind kept the deck surprisingly clean.

By the afternoon of the next day, despite temperatures down around zero degrees (F), I glanced out and noticed that a large majority of the deck boards were now dry. There were hardly any of the icy bumps from the day before.

They hadn’t melted. The deck was completely dry. The frozen bumps had sublimated.

It’s like magic!

Or science.

Something like that.

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Written by johnwhays

January 18, 2018 at 7:00 am

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Sub-zero Sun

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One thing about really cold winter days, they tend to be very bright with sunshine. As I mentioned yesterday, the wind kept most of our deck clear of accumulation, even though I bet we received around 2 to 3 inches.

Since the precipitation started as a foggy drizzle before the temperature dropped back below freezing, surfaces received an icy glaze for a base coat.

When conditions changed to wind-blown snow, instead of accumulating on the deck, it acted as more of a polishing agent.

I failed at making an indoor nap the primary accomplishment of my day yesterday. There was a mess of snow that drifted on our front walkway which needed to be cleared, so I used that as an excuse to force myself up and out into the Arctic air. One thing led to another and I kept working my way along the driveway in front of the garage doors.

At that point, I couldn’t stop myself from getting out the Grizzly and plowing the full length of the driveway.

In the grand scheme of winter plowing, it wasn’t my best effort, but it will do for now. The surface is a frozen mess of layers from the changing conditions of the last month or two. We’ve packed down countless minor dustings by driving over it until it becomes a solid slippery coating, after which a warm spell turned some of it to pure ice and other areas to a slushy series of tire tracks.

The subsequent plunge in temperature has locked all of this up tight and then firmly filled in the crevices with wind-blown snow.

The plow blade basically bounced around and over the frozen pathway, as opposed to cleaning it down to the asphalt.

We’ve got plenty of sub-zero sun shining down, but it isn’t going to improve the surface of our driveway any. That will require the next wave of warm Pacific air when the jet stream shifts again, which forecasts hint could be just a week away.

There’s never a dull moment in our Wintervale weather adventure land lottery.

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Written by johnwhays

January 13, 2018 at 10:28 am

Cold Again

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We didn’t end up receiving the amount of snow that looked like a good possibility on the prediction charts provided by the weather service in the final hours before yesterday’s storm rolled across the region. It’s difficult to get a read on the actual amount because there was enough wind to keep most of the deck clear down to the boards, and in areas where it piled up, the drifts are all exaggerations of what officially fell out of the sky.

My commute both to and from work was generally uneventful, but complicated too frequently by overly cautious drivers who ended up blocking the passing lane.

It took me over twice as long as normal to get home. After an hour and a half, I decided to stop to get gas, just so I could use the bathroom.

The highlight of the day was that George and Annaliese arrived for a visit. Our horses needed a trim, and George offered his farrier services in exchange for room and board for a few days while he is back to service a batch of his old clients.

We shared a fine meal and sat by the fire for an ice cream and brownie dessert, chatting the night away in a throwback to the many wonderful days we shared in similar fashion last year when they lived with us while in transition between homes.

The horses were granted the protection of the barn overnight, so they didn’t have to tolerate the windchill. They are pretty transparent about how much they like being able to come in when the weather gets nasty.

It’s cold again outside, but we have all the warmth we need inside to rally our energies for doing battle against the winter elements for the chores that demand attention.

Something tells me that my indoor chores, like napping, just might be the primary thing demanding attention from me for the rest of this day.

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Written by johnwhays

January 12, 2018 at 7:00 am

January Thaw

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I have lived near the Twin Cities for most of my life, but I never realized how consistently we experience a January thaw. From Meteorologist, Paul Huttner’s Updraft blog:

“A January thaw is defined as two or more consecutive days of high temperatures above 32 degrees. That happens in 93 percent of all years on record for the Twin Cities. In fact, a January thaw is more reliable than a white Christmas (72 percent) in the Twin Cities.”

Everyone at Wintervale is enjoying this little break from the ravages of the deep cold that has besieged us for the last few weeks.

The sunshine and warm Pacific breeze was just right for an afternoon sun bath.

The chickens are much quicker to come out of the coop with the warmer temperatures. The Buff Orpington spent a fair amount of time breaking up frozen sand so her bath could be a mixture of sun and soil.

When I noticed her kicking up a dust cloud storm and wallowing luxuriously in it, I pulled out my camera to record video of the spectacle.

I got two seconds of fluttering and a minute and a half of her sitting mostly still, occasionally pecking at the frozen sand. She was not interested in being the star of my movie.

The scene of Dezirea nodding off in the sun, with her tail flowing gracefully in the gentle breeze turned out to be the more rewarding video, even though it has about the same amount of action as the shot of the hen.

Legacy interrupted my video of Dezirea when he stepped forward to poke his head into the bright sunshine and blocked my view.

We have been trying to absorb this early January thaw for all it is worth, given the impending swing back to serious winter weather being forecast. Tomorrow could become a day of our greatest snow accumulation this season, and the thermometer is expected to sink back to sub-zero overnight temperatures.

Hello, again, winter.

It’s getting hard maintaining a charade of still being on a tropical vacation by simply revisiting our photo albums.

But that doesn’t prevent us from putting forth an effort.

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Written by johnwhays

January 10, 2018 at 7:00 am

Divided Three

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I know there are a lot of divided opinions in our country lately, but what does that have to do with our three chickens? All summer long, that triumvirate operated as an impressively cohesive unit. 

Now, that seems to have changed. The Buff Orpington appears to have decided to break from the group, choosing to stay close to the coop while the Barred Plymouth Rock pair go gallivanting off in search of adventure.

Look at them just struttin’ their stuff on the freshly shoveled path Cyndie cleared of the paltry 1-inch NUISANCE amount of snow that fell yesterday.

I think the Buff is just being chicken.

Is it possible our yellow hen is being rebuffed by the other two?

Sorry.

What can I say?

It was a slow news day on the ranch.

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Written by johnwhays

December 12, 2017 at 7:00 am

Hello Snow

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Well, that was fast. Monday was awkwardly warm for December, but we knew what was coming. After dark, it started to rain, so we headed down to the barn to bring the horses inside for the night.

We’d hardly shut out the lights for the night when the pinging on the bedroom window reflected an obvious transition from raindrops to ice crystals. By morning, the landscape had flipped to an unmistakable winter scene.

What’s not to love?

Cyndie captured some views on her walk with Delilah yesterday morning.


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Written by johnwhays

December 6, 2017 at 7:00 am

Tattered

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

November 3, 2017 at 6:00 am