Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Backyard Winter Wonderland
OK, so 'Winter Wonderland' might be a bit much. And for those of you that either grew up in, or currently live in the colder climates, this probably won't make much sense. But for 3 boys growing up in Houston... it was amazing!
Coming from someone who grew up in New Orleans, I can tell you that waking up to a snow and ice covered winter scene was something that I could only dream of as a kid. I'd watch, green with envy, as cities just an hour away would see an inch or two of ice and snow, a blizzard by Gulf Coast standards. Living in a city sandwiched between The Mississippi River and Lake Ponchartrain kept us just warm enough to miss out. Snowmen, icicles, and days off from school seemed to get no closer than the evening news.
So last week when an arctic blast was forecast to reach deep down to the Gulf Coast with seemingly solid predictions of snow, I knew exactly the kind of excitement it was brewing in my boys. Finger crossing, wishing, and hoping on a new level of intensity. I had to agree, chances seemed good as schools were planning on closing, and the forecast said "snow". Not "ice" or "sleet" or "chance of flurries". Just "snow".
Being an overgrown 12 year old myself, I stayed up to see it roll in. I waited... and waited.... and waited....
It seemed like some extra cloud cover showed up to keep things just warm enough to prevent snow while the precipitation was still falling. And once the temperature finally dropped, the precipitation stopped. It was wet, and freezing. But there was no snow.
This would not do.
Last summer I installed a misting system to help keep our dog cool through the heat. Not surprisingly, I had hoped this sort of situation would come around when I was setting it up. What better to create ice on a cold winter night than a misting system?!
The next couple of nights were forecast to get back down to the lower 20's F. Perfect!
I tried on two different nights. The idea that the mist would just freeze in mid-air and fall to the ground as snow-like frozen crystals, think snow making on ski slopes, just didn't happen. However, the slow accumulation of mist on surfaces, freezing layer after layer did make for some very interesting ice forms.