Friday, November 20, 2015

Hard freeze reset

As summer faded into early autumn, I waxed poetically (or so I'm told) about the joys of the season of easy living while looking forward with no little trepidation to the coming winter.

Earlier in the week we got our first taste of wintry weather. The weekend had been rapturously beautiful, with gentle puffball skies, warming sunshine, temperatures nudging 70 degrees, and barely a puff of wind. I spent most of the daylight hours outside, attending to the manifold chores that grow like weeds around the ranch. It was glorious.

Nona and Red

Autumn range

The first ranch house

Tumbleweeds, fences, and next year's project

There she is

There she goes

Mmmmmm. Sodium and chlorine.

Ready for harvest

Autumn gold, shade 327.2

Autumn gold, shade 154.9

Light, shadow and iron oxide

Nature at play

Pferde Erwärmung in der Herbstsonne
On Tuesday nature did what nature does. It started with a line of gunmetal clouds on the far western horizon. The mercury tumbled, the winds freshened, and the snow fell.

As winter storms go it wasn't worth wasting ink on. A very mild, very vanilla weather event. But it was the first of the year, and it was cold and uncomfortable -- particularly as it came hard on the heels of a heavenish three days. I had to bundle up in layers, the roads were treacherous, I needed to engage the four wheel drive, and everything I had to do required the extra effort required to work in the cold, windy, freezing realm of not easy living.

First snow they've seen


Frosted wheat ground

The storm left wind sculpted mini-drifts behind
One of the things the first storm does is reset the comfort gyro. Before the snow and wind and cold arrived, 40 degrees seemed quite chilly, particularly if there was a touch of breeze. After the storm, morning sunshine and a windless 30 degrees was pure ambrosia. In these conditions I hiked and fixed fence and chopped thin ice and reveled in nature's delightful beauty.

I don't know for sure, but I think life would be a grim experience without variety, and I suspect I'd be an empty husk if there were no harsh days to stand in contrast to the beautiful days.



  1. Up to 5" tonight, with high winds blowing it about, low in the 20's. But it IS almost the end of November, and the current temp of 35 will seem warm as toast in two months. Thank You, God, for Four complete seasons, so we appreciate each in turn.

    1. By the way, I have seen Minneapolis Moline tractors up close. Autumn Gold is much brighter than that!

    2. Here's to appreciating the seasons!

  2. OOPS! Minnie-Mos were Harvest Gold, weren't they? If you want me, I'll be back under my rock.

    1. That's the shade that we '60's-era Case 930 operators called "yellah."

    2. As opposed to Desert Sand, and Flambeau Red?

    3. Is that what the Case colors were back then? I guess that's better than faded orange and babyshit yellow.

    4. Yep, that's what they were!
      Oliver: Meadow Green and Clover White
      Allis Chalmers: Persian Poppy
      Ford: Copenhagen Blue
      John Deere: Agricultural Green and Industrial Yellow
      International Harvester: IH Red

    5. Heh, I knew a kid whose family owned and operated Allis stuff. Now I know why he ended up on the heroin.

  3. Good stuff Shaun. I'm braving the plains of Nebraska from the comfort of my desk.

    Thank you for that. (It's way warmer at my computer, no matter how you slice it.)