The Coldest Spot in the Nation – My Backyard!

Feb 02 2019
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Well, it was officially announced on Thursday morning that my spot was the coldest in the entire nation. Yay. No, that’s not something we want to be known for. Five miles off my back deck (as the crow flies) is my little home town and at the airport they officially registered -42 real temp and somewhere around a -65 degree windchill. Its enough to turn a grown woman like me into a pouty toddler whose hungry and needs a nap. “Really!?” That’s so cold its impossible to really comprehend!

Living in the coldest spot in the nation during the January 2018 polar vortex in northern Minnesota. Horses water, being sure to stay safe and warm.Living in the coldest spot in the nation during the January 2018 polar vortex in northern Minnesota. Horses water, being sure to stay safe and warm.Living in the coldest spot in the nation during the January 2018 polar vortex in northern Minnesota. Horses water, being sure to stay safe and warm.Living in the coldest spot in the nation during the January 2018 polar vortex in northern Minnesota. Horses water, being sure to stay safe and warm.

I went to the grocery store on Monday and overheard a woman say, “This cold weather just makes me want to eat!” Another person replied with, “I’m going to the liquor store.” I also stopped at the liquor store on my way home lol.

The post office closed for all of Wednesday along with ALL non emergency hospitals clinics etc. Most places didn’t open but, of course, just about everyone TRIED to be open at some point if they could get there. I’d say about half our population’s cars would not start (and fair enough!) I heard out of thirty employees at Walmart something like only six of them could even get there.

(For real though, when it is THIS cold there should be some kind of order made that mandates ALL businesses be closed. If you can literally be dead outside within thirty minutes I really don’t think anyone needs to go to Walmart!!)

Major natural gas shortage. Xcel Energy announced on Wednesday that all of their natural gas customers needed to turn their thermostats down at least to 63 and to try not to use anything that runs on natural gas besides. They were going door to door with local authorities to make sure that those people who weren’t getting natural gas were not going to freeze to death. WOW!

I didn’t even try to get my car started I just hitched a ride into town on Tuesday and Thursday morning. Wednesday, with a high of -35 at 9am, I didn’t leave my yard.

The only place I went was to check on my horses in their shed and to the barn to check on their water. (If my nearly full enormous stock tank freezes solid it will be dead to me until spring.)

So I got up around 9, put out a TON of bird seed, filled my pellet stove, made myself a cup of coffee and basically just stared at my horses for the next hour.

I WAS REALLY WORRIED. It was -40 degrees!

Here’s what was going on. My gelding Garcia (head honcho, crabby butt head to everyone except female humans who he kisses and loves on to the point of all ridiculousness) was standing at the front of their shed being all agitated.

I could tell he wasn’t cold but he kept chewing and licking and tossing his head and even pawing at the ground. He did a bit of pacing and kicked his poor pasture-mate out of the shed twice.

(My mom’s little black mare Jazzy doesn’t really like anyone but she puts up with my gelding because she has no choice.)

Then he REALLY booted her clear out of the shed and out of their little pen area and herded her all the way up behind the shed, biting her butt when she wasn’t moving fast enough. They took their path across the pasture to my old barn and I just laughed the whole time.

My gelding refused to go get a drink of water alone.

As soon as they got to the tank Mr. Dickwad Extraordinaire pushed by her, got himself a drink and THEN LEFT HER THERE AND RAN ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE SHED WITHOUT HER.

Really, Dude?!

Jazzy got her drink and then proceeded to hoof it back double time and I swear I could hear her yelling, “You are such and Asshole!”

Unfortunately I didn’t video the whole thing because the whole way to their tank I was holding my breath.

The minute they reached the tank I would know by their reaction whether or not they still had open water or if our tank heater died in the night. If it was frozen then I would be hauling buckets of water down to them and my day (and my days to follow) would go from not bad to truly hellish.

Their reaction made me breathe a major sigh of relief.

Living in the coldest spot in the nation during the January 2018 polar vortex in northern Minnesota. Horses water, being sure to stay safe and warm.Living in the coldest spot in the nation during the January 2018 polar vortex in northern Minnesota. Horses water, being sure to stay safe and warm.Living in the coldest spot in the nation during the January 2018 polar vortex in northern Minnesota. Horses water, being sure to stay safe and warm.Living in the coldest spot in the nation during the January 2018 polar vortex in northern Minnesota. Horses water, being sure to stay safe and warm.Living in the coldest spot in the nation during the January 2018 polar vortex in northern Minnesota. Horses water, being sure to stay safe and warm.

Last year I did A LOT for my horses and this cold made it all even more worth it.

So much of my 2018 summer work was devoted to cleaning out this shed, giving them part of it and designating the rest for hay storage. They had refused to use the old lean to off the back of the barn and the hay was getting wet inside. (Just the thought of them not having any shelter or even a wind break makes my heart just cry, thank god I got this done for them last year or they would have just been standing out in this horrible cold.)

At the barn I have electricity and water, I couldn’t afford to move either to their new shed.

Which means they have a bit of a hike from their shed to the barn for water but it forces them to get at least a little exercise so I’m not terribly unhappy about it.

(In my perfect world, where money is endless, I would have their stock tank in the back of their shed with a spigot and an outlet right above it lol)

Another thing I did last year was move the stock tank INTO my old barn by opening up a door on the side of it. I also wrapped it in insulation and covered it with foam boards.

Thank the universe I did all that!

I waited until it “warmed up” to -20 at around 11am before I went out there. I wore A LOT of clothing. I’m a Minnesotan, born and raised here, I own gear for this kind of weather and was even a bit too warm by the time I got back to the house.

(This is what I was wearing: Long johns, jeans, three pairs of socks, two sweat shirts and a long john shirt under them. A scarf, a beanie, my giant serious below zero coat with that hood up over my sweat shirt hood up over my beanie lol.)

However, I wanted to take pictures, so I left four fingers out for the first five minutes, taking pics with my phone as I went. Then I put my fingers back in the mitten part of my glove and shoved it into the coat pocket against my chest.

Five minutes was too long for my fingers.

By the time I gave the horses grain and hiked up to the water tank (just to be absolutely positive that it wasn’t frozen) my fingers felt like they were about to explode.

I was outside for about twelve minutes all together. I got back to the house, shed my gear and went directly to the sink. My fingers took awhile to get back to truly “normal” with no numbness or pain etc. I just soaked them in a cup of warm water.

My fingers were in no danger, this is not my first rodeo, the moment I knew they needed warmth I went in. But seriously, FIVE MINUTES! I live here and even to me I was still just STUNNED.

As most of you know I got rid of my wood stove and got a pellet stove this fall. My whole 2018 was devoted to making sure winter wasn’t so bad for me or my horses and I have never been so relieved I did anything in my entire life!

I geared up and checked on my horses so many times on Wednesday that my gelding was clearly starting to get worried about ME lol.

Horses are so tough! I watched them leave their shed and find a nice spot in the sun to stand and nap at -25!

On Thursday morning (still -30 at 8:45am) I checked out everything one more time knowing full well that if the tank heater had made it through Wednesday night then we were in the clear.

We made it!

Hopefully (crosses fingers) we don’t see cold like this again for another generation… or EVER.

Stay warm out there, let’s all hope spring shows up early this year, we deserve it.

Every time anything crazy happens I’ve taken to collecting screen shots with my phone of some of the best responses that the internet can offer. So, here they are:

Living in the coldest spot in the nation during the January 2018 polar vortex in northern Minnesota. Horses water, being sure to stay safe and warm.Living in the coldest spot in the nation during the January 2018 polar vortex in northern Minnesota. Horses water, being sure to stay safe and warm.Living in the coldest spot in the nation during the January 2018 polar vortex in northern Minnesota. Horses water, being sure to stay safe and warm.

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4 Comments

  1. Connie
    February 5, 2019 at 7:56 am

    Thought of you and so glad you and your horses are okay. Wow, I can’t even imagine dealing with that type of temperatures. Happy that all your hard work paid off for both you and the horses. I would worry about them too. You have accomplished so much on your own – you should be proud of all you have accomplished.

    • February 5, 2019 at 9:37 am

      Thank you Connie! Hopefully we won’t be seeing colds like that again for a very long time… or EVER!

  2. liz
    February 7, 2019 at 10:24 pm

    So glad to read that you and your horses made it through the freeze without any mishaps. I am amazed that horses can tolerate such extreme temperatures.

    • February 7, 2019 at 11:13 pm

      Hey Liz, me too! I am so impressed with my horses, they act like its practically not big deal. Amazing! Thank you for coming by and commenting, stay warm out there!

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