We won’t get fooled again — or at all.

We’ve had snow on the ground in Minneapolis since November 13 (see my post about the first big snowfall). A lot of places in the U.S. get a lot of snow — even more than we do — but many of those areas have the hope of melting it occasionally throughout the winter. Up until a week or so ago, we’d just been adding blanket upon blanket to the November cover.

Then we had a few days in the 40s and even touched 50 once or twice. Some people around here were ecstatic, but most life-long residents played it cool — because we knew.

The weather people on TV were all blabbing about spring being in the air, etc. I heard one say that our 50 degrees a few days ago was the “first kiss” of spring.

But it was mid-February and we knew. They talked every night on the news about how much snow was melting, but I looked around my neighborhood and didn’t really see a major change. Here’s a photo of my front yard today. Yeah, it was deeper a few weeks ago, but does this look like a major melt has just happened?

Does this look like spring to you?

Guess what? Now the bipolar cabin-fever mongers are all wringing their hands about tomorrow. The latest prediction I’ve heard is another blanket of somewhere between 12 and 20 inches in the next 24 hours.

Yes, we were kissed by spring last week. But it was just an obligatory peck on the cheek that promised nothing more.

It was actually kind of sad, in a way — because we knew.

So let it snow. Check back in about a month and a half and we’ll talk about showing some affection.

Dogsitting gets you outdoors

Emily and Kyle’s dog Peet has been staying with us for a few days while they were out of town. Peet’s a wonderful dog and we love having him in the house. I’ve never been a dog person, but I love this guy — and not just because he’s my first grandchild.

I’ve actually come to see some benefits (I already knew the downside) of taking him outside several times a day to take care of his needs. The first walk of the morning on a cold day is the one I never thought I’d enjoy, but I have to admit that there is something about the dark, the quiet, the crisp air, the big steaming turd in the snow on a winter morning. After living in Minnesota all my life, Peet has taught me to appreciate cold!

Peet

Just for the record, we will not be getting a dog. And I won’t take care of your dog. But I will gladly and eagerly take care of Peet any time they ask.

All this is a roundabout way of saying that it’s also because of Peet that I saw some beautiful winter scenery this morning. I would not have been out driving around southeastern Minnesota had Emily and I not agreed to meet in Cannon Falls, the half-way point between my house and hers, to return Peet to his Mom.

I’m glad I had my camera along, because the conditions were right for one of those morning frosty fogs that whitens all the trees and makes the whole landscape look like a greeting card. I had heard about fog warnings earlier, so I had an inkling that it would be beautiful when the sun came out.

When I saw this funky sunrise over the Mendota Bridge, I knew it was going to be interesting.

So after we said our sad goodbyes to other daughter, Lauren at the airport for her flight back to Chicago, Peet and I set off across the prairie. I had a nice breakfast in Cannon Falls with Emily, while Peet napped in the car. On the way back I got my camera out, took a couple of little side detours from U.S. 52, and shot some photos. Here are a few of them.

That’s all. Nothing more to report.

I love Peet.

I like going outside with him (usually).

When I do, I see stuff I wouldn’t otherwise see.

I miss him already.

And to paraphrase Robert Duvall as Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore in Apocalypse Now — “I love the smell of steaming turds in the morning. It smells like victory!”

Top Ten reasons to spend the winter in Minnesota

Kyle helps Lauren build her dream house.

#10. It makes you appreciate NOT spending the winter in Minnesota.

#9. The comforting realization that you could probably live a productive life without fingers, toes, and ears.

#8. If your favorite color is white, it’s a no-brainer.

#7. With a $5 shovel, your driveway can become a work of art.

Hand-sculpted (no snowblower here)


#6. “Hunkering down” is considered an activity.

Emily hunkers down with a cold one.


#5. Ever drive for 45 minutes through a major city and never come to an actual stop? You can do it here!

That red light is just a "suggestion". The driver has to decide whether stopping and possibly getting stuck is worth the risk.


#4. You can make a lot of friends just by pushing cars.

#3. Our new motto. No longer the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”, we’re now “Minnesota: Where everything is more difficult”.

#2. You get to say things like, “Anything above 10 degrees ain’t too bad” — and mean it.

#1. Thanks to our handy collapsible stadium, you can get free tickets to see your NFL team play its home games in Detroit!

Our alternative motto could be, "Where dreams come true". Emily has always embraced the winter.

Shovelin’ it but not really diggin’ it

Is there a word that means both beautiful and foreboding?

I’ve lived in Minnesota all my life and to me, snow is no big deal. But I do see the beauty in it and I’m glad I live somewhere that has four distinct seasons, blah, blah, blah. Snow is nice to have around Christmas time and I don’t mind it too much for the first half of the winter, but on my ranking of favorite seasons, winter is still a solid #4 with no bullet.

First snow of the season (photo by Steve Date)

We got our first snow here in Minneapolis this morning and I was compelled to go out with my camera. I have a blog, after all, and this is the kind of day where people notice the beauty and reflect on . . . . whatever.

The old water tower looks good in any season (photo by Steve Date)

Almost anything you say or take a picture of about snow is a cliche. It’s all been said many times and in much more interesting ways than I ever could. I’ll admit, it was pretty this morning — a wet, heavy 3 inches (with 6 more to come by tonight). But because I was shooting photos, I didn’t wear gloves, so after 10 minutes my figures were numb. I didn’t wear boots, so my feet were soaked. The wind was blowing and the camera lens kept getting wet. So I walked around the block, shot a few pictures, said to myself, “Yup, sure is pretty out here”, and ducked back inside.

Now I have a few snow pictures that are about as good as the billion others that were taken by Minnesotans this morning.

It was in the high 60s and sunny just a few days ago, so I guess I’m not ready for this, even though a mid-November snowfall is not at all unusual. This one will melt, but it won’t be long before we get the one that stays with us until April.

There are those winter days in Minnesota where sky is deep blue, the air is clean and crisp and the snow stays fluffy and white. Today isn’t one of them. Today’s snow is wet, heavy and already starting to look dirty.

I’ll be out shoveling this afternoon, then getting the last couple of chairs and a hose into the garage and the pond pump out of the water.

I’ll leave my camera indoors.

That makes two of us