• John Hogeland

The Challenge of Winter

We are back after a big long break over the holidays. Thanks for sticking with us!


Ice covered every branch and power line

We had our first ice storm of the year a few weeks back, followed by 3 inches of snow and enough cold to make it last.  For me it meant just more work - now the cows have to be fed the hay we cut over the summer as each blade of grass is coated with ice and then covered with snow.  But for Beth, it meant only one thing, ski season had arrived!  She had the first day's cross country ski trip planned out the night before, hoping and praying for snow, then checking the windows every few minutes to see if it was still snowing.


We woke to a world dipped in crystal, glistening in the sun, but the beauty we found was quickly tempered by the huge ice covered limb broken out of the top of a Chinese Elm.  It landed behind the tiny house, right where we normally park our car.  Lucky for us, we had parked elsewhere that night.


Beth heads out skiing, even with only a few inches of snow on the ground

But Beth had us up and out on the road, with conditions just about as perfect as your are likely to get in Iowa after an ice storm.  We skied up the road toward my sister's house, Beth chivvying a reluctant Rosie along until she finally gave up and let the old dog head home.

As we crested the hill, a bobcat tom on the road several hundred yards away stopped and looked at us, clearly nonplussed as to what sort of creatures slid along on skinny planks.  He didn't wait around to find out as we skied toward him. Later, I found the cattle fine but literally rattling around the pasture in coats of ice beads that slowly dropped off as both the cows and the day warmed up.


The next day was a ski day too and we headed out to Thousand Acres, the only chunk of state owned land in the region.  The B-Grade road was ideal for skiing even with only a few inches of snow on the ground, and we shuffled along as the wind howled above the trees.

The weather then turned bitterly cold with it's accompanying storms. First snow came first, then more ice.  A half inch thick crust of glittering ice had covered the snow.  Rosie ran out into the yard and a moment later laid splayed out on the ice, unable to get up.  With this sudden change, the tiny house grew tinier, our comfy cabin transformed into a deluxe prison cell, with Beth slowly losing her mind as the outdoors became almost entirely inhospitable.  

Ice storms in Iowa have probably the most beautiful aftermath of any weather event. It comes from ice glazing the world, but it challenges the mind and body with its hard, hard edges.


Luckily for us, it has turned again warmer and snowier. Most of the ice has gone and a beautiful, quiet, white wonderland awaits. The Tiny House remains small, the two of us in close quarters around the clock. But at least now the outside world is more inviting and we can head out to play.


Our tiny house on the prairie! The snow is now falling steadily



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