Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Hunkering down during Minnesota’s extreme cold January 7, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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FOX 9 morning news on Monday shows temps and windchiills predicted for Monday evening.

FOX 9 morning news on Monday shows temps and windchills predicted for Monday evening in the Twin Cities.

I’M ONE OF THE LUCKY ONES. I don’t have to venture outside, into the frigid cold which is gripping Minnesota and many other parts of the country.

Rather, I can hunker down inside, working from my home office.

When I arose Monday morning and switched on the radio, the temperature registered at a negative 22 degrees Fahrenheit with a windchill of 47 degrees below zero. That’s cold, people, darned cold.

Starting a cold winter morning off with a bowl of banana-laced oatmeal.

Starting a cold winter morning off with a bowl of banana-laced oatmeal.

The television weatherman reported the same brutal temps before I turned off the TV and enjoyed my usual morning bowl of oatmeal.

We have an abundance of fleece and wool throws at the ready.

I have an abundance of fleece and wool throws at the ready.

On mornings like this, the house feels colder than normal. So I’ll notch up the thermostat a degree, to 68, and grab a fleece throw from the couch to toss across my lap while I write.

A cup of instant cappuccino set atop a stash of books.

A cup of instant cappuccino to kickstart me on an exceptionally cold winter morning.

And although I’m not a big coffee drinker, I typically have a single mug of instant French vanilla cappuccino each morning. I can almost hear all of you serious coffee drinkers out there cringing at the idea of me drinking instant coffee.

Every January the regional library system implements its reading incentive, appropriately named "Hot Reads for Cold Nights." My mom gave me this mug, which she got from her library system.

Every January the regional library system implements its reading incentive, appropriately named “Hot Reads for Cold Nights.” My mom gave me this mug, which she got from her library system. That’s my stash of books and magazines from the library.

Saturday I stopped at the local library to stock up on books and magazines, but didn’t read much until Monday evening as I attended a wedding on Saturday and then Sunday evening was riveted to the two-hour premiere of Downton Abbey. Much to my husband’s dismay, I recently discovered this Public Broadcasting Service Masterpiece Theatre show.

Ice rings created by my husband and in the backyard.

Ice rings created by my husband and now in the backyard.

My spouse entertained himself on Sunday by watching the chilly football game in Green Bay and later making ice candle holders. He froze water in ice cream buckets on our patio. I darted outside Monday morning to view and photograph his ice art.

The furnace vents into my backyard.

The furnace vents through a pipe into my backyard.

And then I photographed the exhaust venting from the furnace, enveloping the lawn chairs in a visual contrast of seasons.

A reminder that, yes, spring will come and this fern will once again grace my backyard.

A reminder that, yes, spring will come and this fern will once again grace my backyard.

Back indoors, I aimed my camera lens at a fern (temporarily displaced by the Christmas tree) and at a pineapple on my kitchen counter.

The closest I am to anything tropical.

The closest I am to anything tropical.

If you live in Minnesota, you understand why I photographed both. Right?

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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