Tag Archives: winter in the Ozarks

Wonderful Fur Coats

Winter cold, ice, snow reign in the Ozarks for another month or so. Coats, hats, long underwear add girth and still the cold seeps through. The cats sit and play in the snow in their wonderful fur coats.

I’m jealous.

Tyke and Cloudy have shared the barn for several years. Tyke was there first and is older. They stay in the barn by choice pretending to hunt mice. They do catch a few to impress me from time to time.

Over the winter the two cats found cozy beds in the hay or on extra goat blankets and coats. The house was used overnight only in extreme cold and for cat food.

winter fur coats help keep Cloudy cat warm
My cat Cloudy is one tough cat. His winter coat is an inch thick. He races and jumps through the snow. He makes small snowballs to bat around. He can’t understand why I don’t want to stay out with him.

Running fingers through the cats’ wonderful fur coats is to find them thick and soft. A generous undercoat makes the coats like deep plush velvet. This traps heat. The outer fur sheds water to keep the undercoat dry.

Tyke is getting older and now sleeps on the floor in the house. He prefers the cold floor to warm blankets. I don’t mind as he doesn’t share well and thinks my side of the bed is his and I can move elsewhere.

This bed stealing is a subtle thing. He waits until I am asleep, moves up against me and shoves. I roll over. He repeats. Lucky for me he starts on the outside or I would be on the floor.

Days Tyke goes out. He catches mice in the hen house. He catches voles in the pastures. Rain or snow, he goes out.

Tyke cat warm in winter fur coats
My cat Tyke comes into the house with snow or rain on his fur and uses my leg for a towel. I see him out in the pasture walking through the grass in any weather. He seems unaware that such weather should chase him indoors.

Cloudy is more of a clumsy clown when I see him. He loves showing off bounding through show, racing up trees, leading the way with sudden stops to trip me up. Days in the twenties don’t slow him down.

As I put on the layers getting ready to go out to milk or put out hay or carry water, I look at those wonderful fur coats and sigh. I try to remember that next summer those fur coats won’t look so tempting.

Special Morning Light

Six degree mornings don’t have much going for them in my opinion. They need all the help they can get. If conditions are just right, special morning light can be that help.

Winter mornings are not sunrise mornings for me. The wood stove goes out around three in the morning. Dawn brings a cold house.

Sunrises are left to themselves as the floors are swept and the fire started in the stove. Only after that are winter mornings looked at.

By this time whatever colors might have appeared for the sunrise are gone. Since winter mornings are overcast more often than not anymore, the color change is from purplish black to blue gray. I don’t find this very impressive.

special morning light sets off the trees
No picture really captures how special morning light sets off the trees along my Ozark creek when cold temperatures coat them in ice. Only some trees glow like this. I think it is a combination of the sun’s angle and where I’m standing that creates this moment. I’m glad it does.

Now and then the sun puts in an appearance which is special morning light all by itself. Such occurrences must be spotted without forecasting help. This winter seems determined to prove the forecasters wrong about cloud cover as much as possible. The clouds simply refuse to leave.

Clear mornings are a double edged sword. It’s wonderful to see the sun and have a sunny morning or, even more rarely, a sunny day. Having no cloud cover lets the temperatures drop.

So the temperature dropped to six degrees. The moisture on the trees froze encasing them in a thin coating of ice. And the sun started sliding up over the eastern hill.

special morning light sets off ice stalactites
This winter has formed magnificent ice stalactites and columns on the bluff rocks along the road. Some are only a foot long. The biggest are easily six feet. Early in the morning the ice glows in the sunlight. What I’m looking at is that great shelter under the rock overhang. The Carduans find a similar an overhang.

Ice is clear. Like water, ice has no color. The trees shimmered as light refracted through the ice turning the trees into crystal works of art.

Less than five minutes and the light show is over. The sun is up over the hill. The ice is melting in the trees.

Like sunrises and sunsets, special morning light is fleeting. Catching a glimpse of it makes even a six degree morning special.

Relax reading about the Ozark seasons in Exploring the Ozark Hills.