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Hello from the frozen tundra; ice fishing in northern MN

Jan 06 2017 -
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At some point here you guys are going to get tired of my talking about our incredibly wintry winter but, honestly, its kind of all consuming. A friend of mine posted a meme on Facebook that read “only 6 Mondays until spring!” yeah, she apologized because we are actually 10 Mondays from the official day of spring and, let’s be honest, we’ve had snow storms on March 20th so it could be a while after that too! My aunt tells me that on January 15th we will be half way through with winter and that does ease the blow a little bit. It was -20 this morning when I got up at 8am and it felt like -37. We’re all sorts of optimistic up here and my father would say, “That’s why you people can live here!” Well, he’s not wrong. In conversations about the weather this morning at work I’ve already heard (or said myself) the following optimistic statements, “Well, at least the wind isn’t blowing!” “The roads are clear because its too cold to snow, that’s good!” “The sun is out and and its really not that bad when you stand in it!”

We’ve had a doozy so far, seeing temps hitting nearly -30 degrees and getting an amazing amount of snow the likes of which we haven’t seen in years upon years. Right now the snow pile(s) beside the office I work at are officially taller then the building. In town, the snow banks on the sides of the roads are taller then most cars and my brother has already plowed us out half a dozen times this year. I am not a big fan of the cold but I am glad someone in my life loves winter; my husband because he loves ice fishing. Last weekend he took me along. I wore three pairs of socks, long johns under my jeans and a pair of carhardt coveralls over that. On top I wore four layers plus a big hoodie sweat shirt and my arctic coat over that. On my head I had an ear band, a stocking cap and my hood up the majority of the time not to mention some serious winter boots, gloves and a scarf. My husband had his coat open the majority of the day, no gloves and rarely even had his ears covered, if I had worn what he wore, I would have died. Peeing in this ensemble is an amazing feet the likes of which I managed twice.

Going ice fishing when its twenty degrees below zero in northern MN, feeding corn to the squirrels and finding ways to stay warm in a frozen tundra.
Going ice fishing when its twenty degrees below zero in northern MN, feeding corn to the squirrels and finding ways to stay warm in a frozen tundra.
Going ice fishing when its twenty degrees below zero in northern MN, feeding corn to the squirrels and finding ways to stay warm in a frozen tundra.

It will still be a couple more weeks before my husband risks driving on any of the lakes. A lot of people are not as cautious as he is (idiots) and have already driven major trucks out to plow roads and haul huge fish houses out on to many of our lakes. Joe waits for at least 16 inches of ice, right now we have about 11 depending on the lake, I am very very very glad he is a cautious man. We have a two man pop up fish house that comes on its own sled so we drop all of our stuff in it and just drag it out. (Or, I carry a shovel and follow Joe as he drags it out.) Then Joe drills half a dozen holes and goes looking for fish and then, when he finds them, we set up the house, turn on the propane heater and settle in. It was wonderful to get out and do something even if it was cold and we caught just enough fish for supper! (Pan fried them in butter after patting on a crust of cilantro, Parmesan and garlic salt – delicious.)

Going ice fishing when its twenty degrees below zero in northern MN, feeding corn to the squirrels and finding ways to stay warm in a frozen tundra.
Going ice fishing when its twenty degrees below zero in northern MN, feeding corn to the squirrels and finding ways to stay warm in a frozen tundra.
Going ice fishing when its twenty degrees below zero in northern MN, feeding corn to the squirrels and finding ways to stay warm in a frozen tundra.

A while back we gave up on trying to keep the squirrels away from our bird feeders so we started feeding them instead. Now we enjoy the squirrels more then the birds! At any point in the morning we have at least four around and we’ve had up to eight. I love how they stop and warm their front feet up on their chests. Before winter really hit I watched one lay out flat in the sun in one of our trees and take a nap and then he woke up and gave himself a little bath like he was a cat. Truly adorable. They have gotten braver and come right up to the glass doors to let us know when they’re out of corn. We also have an array of wood peckers (four different kinds so far) the one in the picture is the most unique of the crew, his orange head is just striking.

Going ice fishing when its twenty degrees below zero in northern MN, feeding corn to the squirrels and finding ways to stay warm in a frozen tundra.

Joe’s out just about every other day ice fishing, sometimes he’s alone, sometimes I go with him and sometimes he goes with friends. (He’s between jobs right now and though we are worried about money (always) I told him he needs to try and take full advantage of some time off!) Last weekend he headed out on Saturday for most of the day with my cousin/best friend’s husband. With the house to myself I drug all of the wood I needed to the basement (from the barn) to start building our new bed frame! You guys know I’ve been planning this bed frame for a LONG time (like, months upon months) but just a couple weeks ago, finally, it hit me/I figured it out/I knew exactly how to do it. Once that happens there is no stopping me – I get all kinds of itchy and excited. So, I got all the pieces cut for the sides and the bottom, now I just need to screw them together, sand them, stain them and poly them. From there I have six boards to cut for the supports and two pieces of plywood to cut to put over the whole thing. The hard part is done now I’m on to the grunt work and I can’t wait to show you guys! (Our staircase is so narrow I’ll have to get everything cut and finished and then take it upstairs one piece at a time for assembly.) I also finally painted the dark brown door we hung a couple of weeks ago, so, only two doors left to go and I’ll be finished with all of our interior doors!

Hope you all had a great new year!

Going ice fishing when its twenty degrees below zero in northern MN, feeding corn to the squirrels and finding ways to stay warm in a frozen tundra.

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8 Comments

  1. January 6, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    It is so good to know it is colder somewhere else than where I live.

    • January 6, 2017 at 7:35 pm

      lol come by any time it will probably always be colder where we’re at *shakes head* I am looking forward to spring 🙂 Thanks for coming by!

  2. January 7, 2017 at 5:58 am

    This post is insane! I live in Australia and have never seen snow. I can’t believe you drill through ice to go fishing. I need more photos please! Feel free to write another post about all the crazy things you do each day to survive. And include LOADS of snow photos. xx

    • January 9, 2017 at 5:34 pm

      Kate, you made my day! A fellow co-worker of my husband’s is from Florida and though he had seen a little snow and cold before he couldn’t believe it when he saw the ice freeze over and followed my husband out to the middle of the lake and then a drilled a hole! I’ll definitely take more photos, the snow in our yard is unbelievable, I almost put on all my gear the other day to slide down one of the biggest piles like a kid.

  3. February 8, 2017 at 7:41 am

    Aw, squirrels are so cute. It’s nice of you to feed them during the coldest part of the year. Ice fishing looks like a lot of fun.

    It’s been an unusually hot winter in Virginia. I remember there used to be blizzards in this area, now we’re getting days where it’s 70 degrees F in December. Weirdness.

    • February 8, 2017 at 5:21 pm

      Angelica, yeah the weather patterns have definitely changed a lot for us too. Our last two winters were REALLY mild and then this one is like something out of a history book. It is strange. Thanks for coming by!

  4. September 22, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Hi Tarah.. that’s so amazing fishing trip.. I love ice fishing and I am planing my trip with family real soon. thanks

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Iris Nacole
Making a shoe rack and closet storage out an old ladder

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