Tag Archives: winter in the Ozarks

Snow Days Drag By

Winter is not my favorite season. Most of the things I like to do can’t be done on snow days.

One thing I can do is go outside and look at the snow. Sunny days look great for doing this, but light cloud cover is better.

Snow looks white because if reflects almost all of the light shining on it. After spending some time out looking at snow scenes on a sunny day, everything looks dark inside as the eyes try to recover from the onslaught of reflected light. Even sunglasses don’t help a lot.

Snow days have snow on everything
Moving water has no snow on it. Slow moving water can ice over. The creek has started a gravel bar under the bridge and snow sits on it.

Snow may look inviting on a sunny day. It’s still cold. The snow is cold. The air is cold. The snow will melt onto the boots.

I wandered down and out into the pasture below the barn lot. Snow days are pretty until the snow starts to melt and sinks into ice.

This snow did fall in cold temperatures. For a time the flakes were in clumps an inch or two across. Most of the time it fell as tiny ice spheres. These packed together into a heavy, dense snow layer.

Snow days leave the creek flowing between snowy banks
The creek is such a lovely place to go, except when the banks are covered with snow. Snow looks nice for a few hours. then it makes the place look cold and dreary.

Footprints or tire tracks left ice. Sun melted the base layer into ice. Town beckoned, but I stayed home and looked out the windows or tramped to the barn and looked at the snow.

There’s something about snow days. There are lists of things to work on. There are piles of books waiting to be read. There are several writing projects including rewriting “The Carduan Chronicles.”

snow days leave snow on trees
Snow does make bare winter trees look dramatic. Don’t stand underneath when the sun shines or the snow may drop onto you.

It isn’t boredom. It’s a restless feeling leaving me casting about for something to hold my interest.

What I really want to do is go outside and walk. The snow is waiting for me with pretty vistas. Trudging through snow in heavy boots ruins a walk while keeping the feet warm and dry.

So I stay inside most of the time. And the snow days drag by.

Wonderful Fur Coats

Winter cold, ice, snow reign in the Ozarks for another month or so. Coats, hats, long underwear add girth and still the cold seeps through. The cats sit and play in the snow in their wonderful fur coats.

I’m jealous.

Tyke and Cloudy have shared the barn for several years. Tyke was there first and is older. They stay in the barn by choice pretending to hunt mice. They do catch a few to impress me from time to time.

Over the winter the two cats found cozy beds in the hay or on extra goat blankets and coats. The house was used overnight only in extreme cold and for cat food.

winter fur coats help keep Cloudy cat warm
My cat Cloudy is one tough cat. His winter coat is an inch thick. He races and jumps through the snow. He makes small snowballs to bat around. He can’t understand why I don’t want to stay out with him.

Running fingers through the cats’ wonderful fur coats is to find them thick and soft. A generous undercoat makes the coats like deep plush velvet. This traps heat. The outer fur sheds water to keep the undercoat dry.

Tyke is getting older and now sleeps on the floor in the house. He prefers the cold floor to warm blankets. I don’t mind as he doesn’t share well and thinks my side of the bed is his and I can move elsewhere.

This bed stealing is a subtle thing. He waits until I am asleep, moves up against me and shoves. I roll over. He repeats. Lucky for me he starts on the outside or I would be on the floor.

Days Tyke goes out. He catches mice in the hen house. He catches voles in the pastures. Rain or snow, he goes out.

Tyke cat warm in winter fur coats
My cat Tyke comes into the house with snow or rain on his fur and uses my leg for a towel. I see him out in the pasture walking through the grass in any weather. He seems unaware that such weather should chase him indoors.

Cloudy is more of a clumsy clown when I see him. He loves showing off bounding through show, racing up trees, leading the way with sudden stops to trip me up. Days in the twenties don’t slow him down.

As I put on the layers getting ready to go out to milk or put out hay or carry water, I look at those wonderful fur coats and sigh. I try to remember that next summer those fur coats won’t look so tempting.

Special Morning Light

Six degree mornings don’t have much going for them in my opinion. They need all the help they can get. If conditions are just right, special morning light can be that help.

Winter mornings are not sunrise mornings for me. The wood stove goes out around three in the morning. Dawn brings a cold house.

Sunrises are left to themselves as the floors are swept and the fire started in the stove. Only after that are winter mornings looked at.

By this time whatever colors might have appeared for the sunrise are gone. Since winter mornings are overcast more often than not anymore, the color change is from purplish black to blue gray. I don’t find this very impressive.

special morning light sets off the trees
No picture really captures how special morning light sets off the trees along my Ozark creek when cold temperatures coat them in ice. Only some trees glow like this. I think it is a combination of the sun’s angle and where I’m standing that creates this moment. I’m glad it does.

Now and then the sun puts in an appearance which is special morning light all by itself. Such occurrences must be spotted without forecasting help. This winter seems determined to prove the forecasters wrong about cloud cover as much as possible. The clouds simply refuse to leave.

Clear mornings are a double edged sword. It’s wonderful to see the sun and have a sunny morning or, even more rarely, a sunny day. Having no cloud cover lets the temperatures drop.

So the temperature dropped to six degrees. The moisture on the trees froze encasing them in a thin coating of ice. And the sun started sliding up over the eastern hill.

special morning light sets off ice stalactites
This winter has formed magnificent ice stalactites and columns on the bluff rocks along the road. Some are only a foot long. The biggest are easily six feet. Early in the morning the ice glows in the sunlight. What I’m looking at is that great shelter under the rock overhang. The Carduans find a similar an overhang.

Ice is clear. Like water, ice has no color. The trees shimmered as light refracted through the ice turning the trees into crystal works of art.

Less than five minutes and the light show is over. The sun is up over the hill. The ice is melting in the trees.

Like sunrises and sunsets, special morning light is fleeting. Catching a glimpse of it makes even a six degree morning special.

Relax reading about the Ozark seasons in Exploring the Ozark Hills.