Cold snap

Cold snap! | Clean.

Cold snap! | Clean.

Cold snap! | Clean.

Cold snap! | Clean.

Cold snap! | Clean.

Cold snap! | Clean.

Cold snap! | Clean.

Cold snap! | Clean.

Cold snap! | Clean.

Just before the cold snap hit, the kids and I ran away to the woods for one more fire.

We thought that -25 F would keep us inside for days, and we'd better get out there while we could.

We were right.

Our hike warmed us through and through with ice sculptures and muskrat slides by the creek, and the quiet solitude of our little Solstice "camp" in the woods.

We made a small fire, drank warm honey milk from the thermos, and talked by the fire.

We hiked out as the sun set with a flourish behind the hills.


And now?

It's cold. Wicked, crazy cold.

We're grateful for valley living, as it's not quite as cold here as up on the ridges. -56 F wind chill up there!

Pete and I spent the day before the cold arrived out on the farm, preparing our critters for the bitter chill.

More experienced farmers gave us tips about insulating our beehive and feeding our goats hot molasses and cayenne tea to keep them warm.

It seems to be working, as everyone is cozy in the barn during these bitter cold days and nights. Our hens are even laying now and then, despite the sub-zeros. (We just need to check them often or we bring in split, frozen eggs.)


If you happen to live where it's crazy cold, do your family a favor and boil a pan of water. Take it outside, and throw it out away, up into the wind. (See what happens here.)

You won't regret it.

Oh, and frozen bubbles are always a treat.


Stay warm, friends. Sage and I are down this week with a bit of the flu, so I'll be back as soon as I'm up to move conversation.

Stay warm out there!

16 thoughts on “Cold snap

  1. Almosta farm says:

    I’ve been wondering how y’all are faring in this article vortex! Fortunately our critters have pulled through so far, hope everyone at your place does the same. I’d like to offer a word of caution on the water trick as I spent a while yesterday reading tweets and updates from folks who had scalded themselves attempting it… Just be prepared!

  2. Anneli says:

    Thanks for the tip on the pan of hot water! I’d love to try it out. I live in Sweden. The weather is really strange. We usually have a lot of snow at this time of the year but now we only had some snowy days in mid december and is still waiting for it to come back. The weather is unusually warm here for the season. Last year we had a very long winter starting early and we thought the spring would never come but it did very fast for an unusually short time in may and then all of a sudden it was summer.

  3. Deb says:

    I think I saw that same sunset! I took pictures two different days. I am along the Mississippi bluffs south of LaCrosse! Love your blog!

  4. Rachel Wolf says:

    So funny that I thought you meant hauling buckets of hot “tea” to the goats when I first read this. Yes. Throwing boiling water in the air is, well, throwing boiling water in the air! Aim well and the adults should be in charge of the throwing/checking wind condition/etc. Thanks for the safety thoughts!

  5. Rachel Wolf says:

    The winter was crazy long here too, and the same – no spring – boom! Summer. This week is record cold here in the Midwest of the US. So. Cold. Take care over there!

  6. brooke says:

    Hope you feel better soon! And we are boiling water right now for that trick (in S. Ontario)…….We graced our chickens with the heat lamp last night and a homemade meal this morning, lucky clucks!

  7. Hannah Rose Ecklund says:

    I was in Viroqua on Sunday visiting family– I always send a mental shoutout to the handful of souls I know from there and then I remembered “oh and Rachel Wolf an her family”. 😉
    Even your sudsy fans keep ya in their loving thoughts.
    Stay warm.

    Your fan,
    Hannah Rose

  8. kristin says:

    A friend of mine tried that boiling pan of hot water trick and sadly it went up and landed on her arm…burning it. Good thing she has a sense of humor about the whole thing…her words of wisdom #1 never throw a pan of boiling water that is too heavy to properly throw into the air…#2 always throw water AWAY from your body…and #3 putting soy sauce on a burn takes all the sting away.

    Stay warm!! We have been huddling together for three days now and are waiting to hear if we can all go back to school tomorrow.

    Thanks for sharing about your animals…I always wonder how they get through these kind of temps.

  9. Xan says:

    Holy moley Rachel! That’s a level of cold I simply cannot fathom! What kind of heating do you guys have? Summer has not yet kicked in here (apart from a couple of stinking hot days)but I’m sure the real heat will be coming soon. Take care, be gentle with yourself and keep warm xx

  10. amy says:

    I hope you and Sage are on the mend! Lovely photos:) I would appreciate knowing the tips as well regarding the bees and goats! We have had -23 degree wind chill….not finding it fun at all…no sir…..not fun at ALL!

  11. Charli Mills says:

    Frozen eggs, peppered goats and snow bubbles–your fun never ends even when the temps dip! Here in northern Idaho, our valley is so buffered by the Rocky Mountains that it funnels the arctic blasts away from us…or so it seems like a good story to explain why it is warmer here than in Florida today!

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