20 below and 16 mph winds – yah it’s cold

Layers and mufflers, insulated boots and gloves – initially it feels OK. I really mean that, I’ve gotten acclimated over the last several weeks of a lot of below zero weather, but the difference is the cold seeps in fast and putting your hands in gloves in your pockets isn’t enough to help. The other thing is your face really needs to be covered.

If you haven’t been out in really cold weather I don’t think you can get a real idea of it. It’s much colder than a walk-in freezer, then again in wind blocked, sunny corners it’s a lot warmer. And usually when it’s this cold it’s bright. sparkly, sunny and the sky is clear, cloudless blue. This time, this morning it was cloudy and there was ice crystals blowing making it look like fog in the trees, but this afternoon…clear blue and cold.

This afternoon, along with the bright sunlight the wind has come up to a steady 16 mph out of the west. Wind and very cold, I’m glad I’m not a horse, but then again I’m amazed at how well they can tolerate it. But days of such cold wears on them and they get tired of wearing blankets too.

DeepFreezeJan5n62013 012a
Sunset on the coldest day of the year.

Give me 10 below or even 15 without the wind and I’ll be walking down Wester Avenue again.


2 thoughts on “20 below and 16 mph winds – yah it’s cold

  1. I am from northern California – about 35 miles inland from the Mendocino coast. It was 73 degrees here today. I am frightened by the photographs and your vivid descriptions of the extreme cold temperatures you are living in, and I would never live there in the winter. Your horses and other farm animals need warm-heated shelter as much as you do, because throwing a blanket on a horse’s back is insufficient protection from the ongoing daily brutal cold.

    1. It is cold and probably hard to imagine being out in it – that’s why I tried to make my descriptions vivid, but we are out in it (intermittently, daily) and so are all the wildlife (always). It’s easy to think they would like someplace warm and cozy, but the horses would be appalled and unhappy if we tried to bring them into a confined heated area, it would be too warm, cause overheating as they have progressively acclimated to the cold, limit their ability to exercise and could cause breathing problems (just as so many people have).

      It’s the abrupt changes and especially freezing rain and wind that are issues for them, and those are why I blanket them when I do. They are astonishing well adapted otherwise. Think of the wild horses in Montana who eat snow for water and forage under the drifts – a much harder life, but they keep expanding their numbers and have been studied for their hooves, which tend to be much better than the domestic horse feet.

      Often our “improvements” can cause other side-effects, so no, they don’t need warm, heated shelter as much as I do (since I really am not adapted to cold and have no fur), but they do need adequate hay (northern Wisconsin is an excellent grass/hay producer), salt, fresh water and a wind break. Horses are happiest and have the least stress-related problems when they are not confined (stalled), they much prefer and health-wise do much better with the ability to run-in or out of a three sided shed. Oddly enough the heated stable with extra lighting when people have them is used, not for the health of the horse, but to have a show-coat during seasons when otherwise the coat would be shaggy and not win ribbons, or be too hot for indoor cold weather competitions. Many people blanket their horses all the time during the winter to help keep their coat less plush, and to make it so they can shave their coat shorter where the saddle and pad go to keep the horse more comfortable when competing (less sweat/less overheating).

      Thanks for the comment, hope you wanted the feedback info – those commercials from Calif about ‘happy’ cows are ‘marketing’ not fact based šŸ™‚

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