IMG_9959It’s cold.

10 degrees and it looks like that’s where it’s gonna stay. All day. The rest of the week.

I wanna snuggle up in a big ‘ol pile with this kitten and all my blankets.

IMG_9944It’s funny how fast the seasons shift around here. I’ve lived here long enough to expect it, but just a few days ago it was sunny and mild and the hilltops were gold and we were walking around saying, “What a beautiful fall we’ve been having!” “Aren’t we lucky!”

IMG_1218And then, overnight…

IMG_0155Below zero temperatures. Icy roads, people trying to remember where they put their favorite scarf. Hat. Mittens.

IMG_0160I hauled the giant tub of winter gear upstairs to sort through. Ordered a new pair of snow boots.  

Took the dogs for a walk.


Turned around after five minutes and went back inside.

Shit. It’s cold.


I’m not ready for this.

The dam is froze up. Ranchers are breaking ice and feeding hay.

IMG_9961I am making plans for soup for dinner every night for the next six months.

I even went to craft club and attempted to make mittens out of an old sweater.

I hadn’t used a sewing machine since I nearly failed Home Ec. in the 8th grade. This time it didn’t go much better.

I required assistance. A lot of assistance. And the mittens, well, one is done. Sorta. I might need to call Martha Stewart…and pour a drink…


But these are the things people out here do in the winter. They have hobbies. Or create new ones that will help them pass the time in the dark and cold that settles in here around 5 pm and lingers until the morning. And some might pour a little bourbon in a glass, you know, to thaw out a bit…

If the cold and the white on the plains were as inspiring to as many people as the waves in the ocean hitting the shore, or the tall pines of the mountains reaching toward the sky, we would have thousands of poets and painters here telling the story of a frozen world.

Old shack in winter

But the cold settling in on the plains is a beauty recognized by the characters out here who  can’t help but marvel at extremes. They appreciate what cold does to the body and the soul, makes it slow down, recharge, toughen up and soften up at the same time.

We take pride in the taking care of things, the animals, the driveway, one another.

We laugh at things like frozen eyeballs, snot-sicles and relocated southerners who think 20 degrees is as cold as it gets.

It is cold. But it will get colder.

My Lord, will it get colder.


It Came In With The Night
Go find your mittens
so your fingers don’t freeze
slip on your big boots
pull your socks to your knees

Dig out your best scarf
wrap it round yourself tight
the snow has arrived here

it came in with the night.

I’ll put the roast in the oven
and heat the milk on the stove
they’ll be right here waiting
when you come in from the cold

Knocking ice from the branches
and stringing Christmas tree lights
yes the snow has arrived dear

it came in with the night.

So squeeze on your knit cap
over wild wooly hair
watch your breath float and drift
in the crisp morning air

Break the ice for the cattle
put the saddles away
yes the snow has arrived here

and I think it might stay.


12 thoughts on “Colder.

  1. I hear ya! It is cold here too in Gackle, North Dakota! It is 5 degrees, but with the windchill it is well below zero! But all this snow and cold definitely puts me in a Christmas and holiday mood! 🙂

  2. The frozen prairie has a wonderful beauty that rivals the sea. It’s the bitter cold that I couldn’t take. My Cousin lives in Saskatchewan and their Winters are like yours and my Cousin will say (when it’s minus 20) “But it’s a DRY cold” … lol

  3. It feels so strange to be sitting here in Queensland, wearing shorts and a top, shoeless and sweating while you are experiencing winter. It’s expected to be 40 C here (104 Fahrenheit) on Saturday and it’s still spring. The world is an extraordinary place. As a child I grew up reading Laura Ingalls-Wilder’s tales, and I suppose my knowledge of the prairies has been limited to that until I found your beautiful blog. I’m loving the photos and commentary from your part of the world. 🙂

  4. I REALLY don’t miss 3 pair of socks; longjohns and two layers of jeans; tshirt, shirt, sweatshirt or sweater, jacket; 2 pair of mittens; sweater around neck and one around the head. How the hell did I ever MOVE? let alone get on a horse? then ride to school? And strip down to one layer of jeans, one shirt, no mittens, jacket or scarves? Then put them all back on and ride home? good grief, how nuts! But SUCH beauty riding over the hills, down coulees, over springs to that country schoolhouse. Snow sooo blinding white, sky bluer than blue. How very great Thou art!

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