30 degrees below zero!

This morning the outside temperature where I live was thirty degrees below zero! The typical low for this time of year is 5 degrees F. Fortunately my pipes froze and I had to shovel the drive — two good reasons to bundle up and go outside in the REALLY cold weather.

I live in an old house that has an outside door to access the cellar. So I grabbed the heat gun (used for paint stripping) and the space heater and headed out to the cellar. Fortunately there was very little wind.

DAMN it was cold! My nostril hairs started to freeze with the first breath. In the cellar, I ran the heat gun along all of the pipes and set the space heater on high. An hour after I left the cellar, water started rushing through the pipes. It’s so nice to be able to flush the toilet. 🙂

A bit later when the temperature had warmed up to 25 degrees below zero, I headed out with the shovel to clean off the driveway. Luckily there were just little drifts of snow that had blown over the last two days and a pile that the snowplow made by the road to clean up.

When it’s so cold the air and sky are almost always crystal clear. I paused several times while shoveling to enjoy the beautiful view. The air was so clear that I could hear jet planes passing by high overhead. Usually the tiniest bit of moisture in the air will muffle the sound from such heights, but today the cold had wrung the air completely dry.

It’s amazing also how cold it is in the shade on a freezing day. But if the sky is clear and you are facing the sun it’s very comfortable. If you’re out of the wind, you could probably sit outside as long as you like.

When I first looked out the window this morning I saw several juncos that live in the trees pecking around in the snow. These creatures appeared to be absolutely unaffected by the cold. I understand that they are well insulated with their feathers, but I’d think that they’d freeze because of their very small bodies. What do I know, I guess?

I have some cats that have access to the outside through a little cat door in the house. Whenever I venture out-of-doors, they follow me to see what I’m up to. If I’m shoveling they’ll gather on the sunny side of the house and play. They do this even if there’s snow and even if it’s cold. This morning was no different. Oh to be a cat with a big fir coat on and to be care-free in the snow and cold!

Over the noon hour I went to exercise. I exercise in an open unheated garage that’s about as warm as a barn without any barn doors. The temperature at the time was 15 degrees below zero. Fortunately the sun was streaming into my workout area and there was no wind.

When you exercise in the cold, you tend to workout a lot faster than you usually do. It’s an odd sight to see the vapor from your breath rise then fall in the cold, and to see your spit freeze as soon as it hits the ground.

I notice that I always feel stronger in the winter. It could be because I eat more in the winter or because I’m a bit more sedentary (which gives me a little extra reserve) or because the cold helps to flush blood out of the muscles. At any rate it’s a decent trade-off for having to endure the cold.

A day this cold is more rare than a beautiful summer day. It’s even more rare than a rainbow. It would be a shame to not appreciate such a thing.

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