When you live in the south, you really don’t expect the freezing point to actually mean something. To me, it’s always felt more like a guideline.

“Water could start freezing at 32 degrees.”

But no. I really actually means that water freezes.

And as such, it’s been freezing around here, so we’ve been experiencing the shocking sensation of naturally occurring ice. Who knew that happened south of Michigan?

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We’ve been meandering around town, looking for bodies of water to disturb. And the kids have been perplexed, amazed, and endlessly fascinated by throwing things at the lake and watching the lake fight back.

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180104 Walk on Water and Icy Day IMG_9654

(If there’s a rise in general Alabama water volume due to displacement by rocks, that’s on us.)

I’m not saying I’m doing all of this exploring out of the generosity of my heart – I’m pretty geeked out by naturally occurring ice myself. I thought ice was created by ice makers and came out of the door of your fridge in neatly uniform tapered cubes. But ice is way fancier when it creates itself.

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We didn’t exactly attempt walking on water at Oak Mountain, but we certainly considered it. And gave the lake a few good shoves with our feet to see if it was possible. It was not, but the thickness of the ice was nonetheless impressive.

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(And by the way – the most satisfying sound I’ve heard in a very long time is the unique tinkling of a piece of ice being thrown at, breaking into dozens of pieces, and then sliding chime-ingly across a lake.)


But on our second day of Arctic Alabama Exploration, we hit paydirt.

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There’s something about this fountain – perhaps its extreme shallowness – that made it perfect for an actual attempt at walking on water.

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And so, after a few tentative steps around the edges, the children indeed realized they could do just that.

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I mean, this is SERIOUSLY NOT supposed to happen in the deep south.

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But they were happy to test it out, despite the fact that my dad had just finished telling us a story about a fisherman in Virginia that fell through the ice, and upon asking the locals what they would do about it, they said, “Oh, we’ll find him come Spring – if the turtles don’t find him first.” Dad followed up his story with “Anyone who is trying to walk on ice in Alabama has GOT TO BE stupid.”

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It was treacherous.

And we knew we were taking our lives into our hands.

So naturally, we let my Dad be the first to know of our dangerous adventures.


Lack of turtles. That’s the key for ice walking.


So we shall continue our bitter cold adventures until our normal winter temps of the 50s come back very, very soon.

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But we’ll always look down and check for turtles first.

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How are you coping psychologically with the cold?

9 thoughts on “The Highs and Lows of Winter.

  1. I’m in MN, so it’s really just the beginning of winter for us, especially since we had an amazingly mild December. Your ice is beautiful. Honestly, my mind’s coping mechanism is to think ahead 2 months. “Soon it will be March, and things will periodically melt,” my mind tells me as I look at the high in the negatives. So I guess I’ve gotten to the age where the passage of several months seems very short, or at least I’ve deceived myself into thinking that. Also, hot chocolate and carbs. Some people are doing whole 30 here this month. I will never give up carbs in January or February. Insulation is good.

  2. I love your fascination with the ice! It makes me realize that I never stop smell the ice roses. Haha! I do LOVE a good hoarfrost. SO pretty! I hope that fountain is ok when it melts. It looks like it was going when it froze. The pumping mechanism can get burnt out when that happens. All our fountains get drained in the winter so they don’t get ruined.

  3. We are facing our last (thank you Lord, Hallelujah!) winter in the north. For the last 14 days it hasn’t reached freezing. My dog, cat, kid, and myself are huddled around our portable oil heater. Not because our heat doesn’t work, but because the cold air hovering around the windows makes it feel colder than it actually is. I’ve decided that I shouldn’t go out until the temperature reaches my age (a balmy 45!)

    In the meantime I’m making soup, and chili, and trying not to drink coffee non-stop!

  4. It will be -1 here tomorrow morning, not wind chill, the temperature. Our master bath pipes are frozen and not accessible except for about 6 inches. They are on an overhang so we have heated various spots with space heaters and are praying. Basically the plumbers we have talked to are full of gloom and doom. We just had a $10,000 sewer repairs due to the former owner’s passion for DIY work so this is awesome. It is 90 degrees in our master. At hand still frozen. My kids are not getting why going outside is dangerous or my 10 year old just likes to argue!! But we are surviving. Going to be 48 next Friday but an ice storm Monday.

  5. It got cold here for a couple of days, and almost hit freezing overnight, but, alas, no ice to be seen. Not that I could see it anyway, as I’m stuck inside after breaking my ankle the day after Christmas…fun stuff when you live upstairs. :(

  6. I live outside of Nashville, so ice is a rarity for us too. Our local police department sent out a text alert last week that people were supposed to report anyone they saw walking on ice. This prompted a highly mature 18 year old woman to post on a local Facebook group that whoever turned in her and her friends for walking on ice was a WITCH (but, you know, with a B instead of a W). She also made sure to tell people that she was smart and successful as the proud owner of some fine butt (but not butt…) vehicles, a big butt (but not butt…sensing a pattern here?) house, and lots of good crap (or another word…whatever). Hopefully your kids don’t grow up to have that kind of attitude since walking on ice when they’re younger is obviously a gateway drug to complaining on Facebook…

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