Sub-Zero Fun in Minnesota

When the never-ending sub-zero temperatures keep knocking at your door, you sometimes simply need to fling open the door and say, “let’s party!”  As the air warmed up to a balmy –14°F (-25.5°C) on Monday, just a few degrees off the warmest temperature of the day, I decided the home office afternoon coffee break needed to take place outdoors.  The arctic blast prompted Minnesota’s Governor to cancel Monday classes for schools throughout the State.  With no sign of above-zero temperatures until Wednesday, most Minnesota schools have canceled classes for students on Tuesday, as well.

Balmy Duluth temperatures

In the meantime, I decided to recruit one of my teens as my assistant for the outdoor coffee break activities.  The local hardware store told me soap bubbles were a popular item, so I knew we were not alone in examining their response to the frigid air.

Soap bubbles in sub-zero temps

While our results were not as spectacular as photographer Angela Kelly’s bubbles, we still enjoyed watching them float off while slowly freezing and “shattering” in mid-air.  Capturing one on the end of the bubble wand allowed for a closer view.

Soap bubbles in sub-zero temps

Soap bubbles in sub-zero temps

Soap bubbles in sub-zero temps

One gentle puff toward the fragile sphere prompted it to crack like an egg, with its ragged semi-opaque shell momentarily remaining on the wand, before dissipating into shredded frozen soap fragments.

Soap bubbles in sub-zero temps

When the novelty of blowing bubbles in sub-zero temps wore off, it was time for the boiling water toss.  We added a little food coloring to spice things up. Then we headed outside again.

Boiling water with red food coloring

One …

Sub-zero red boiling water toss

Two …

Sub-zero red boiling water toss

Three …

Sub-zero red boiling water toss

It was akin to a fireworks show … oohs and aahs were the response as the boiling water turned to a frosty arcing powder the instant it hit the freezing air.

Sub-zero red boiling water toss

Sub-zero red boiling water tosss

An explanation of why the hot water vaporizes as it is tossed, along with videos of others performing the boiling water-to-snow trick, can be found in this Slate.com article.

Sub-zero red boiling water toss

Do it again?!  OK, how about in blue this time?

[Click on any photo in the gallery below to enlarge it.]

How are you keeping cabin fever at bay during this far-reaching cold snap?

Ciao! ~ Kat

35 thoughts on “Sub-Zero Fun in Minnesota

  1. This weather is so totally foreign to us… my wife has never seen snow in real life, and our town also no snow in human history… But you look adapted to handling it well! Our coldest days in winter is about -3 degrees C, and only one or two of those at most a year. And now: 37 degrees, it is HOT here…

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  2. Jenny Young

    Zachary thought this was really cool and wants to try it…think we’re still cold enough today to give it a shot!

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    1. Wish I was further along with learning the tricks of a DSLR (a Canon Rebel — my Christmas present from my parents!), reading for now and hoping to find time to really practice. So unfortunately, mainly automatic settings while I figure things out. However, I know I couldn’t have captured these shots with the old camera! If you can beat the cold, you simply have to join it (although I swear this morning seems even worse out there). Looking to warmer temps ahead!

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  3. Oh what fun, Kat! I have to show this post to my kids, they’re gonna wanna to do these experiments instantly:) Of course, here in North Texas, it’s cold but not quite enough…Keep these coming our way! Happy New Year to you all.

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  4. So cool. My daughter did it, but apparently the water wasn’t hot enough. Might have to try it again today. I know they did it in school a few years back when we had some extreme temperatures. We were about the only school in session, which was really interesting since we had a fairly unreliable furnace. Ha!

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  5. Very cool, icy cool, in fact 🙂
    I was wondering whether cold water wouldn’t freeze even more quickly than hot boiling water? Loved that tinge of food coloring in there. I may try that this afternoon, although it has “warmed” up to 0 F since this morning.

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  6. Oh, how fun is this, Kat? You are such a sport! I saw that Heather–you know Heather, yes?–was making snow bubbles, too. We northerners must be a hardy lot to discover Fun in the midst of such bone-chilling cold. You win an award for this!

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  7. Kathy (above) mentioned you on the post I did about freezing bubbles just the other day 🙂 Got your blog address from her and had to come check out your frozen fun, too. I see you were smart enough to wear “real” gloves. I just wore thin cloth ones and my poor fingers about froze off 😉 Hooray for staving off cabin fever!

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  8. Pingback: Top 10 Reasons Duluth is the Best Place to Live | Travel. Garden. Eat.

  9. This is why I moved away from Minnesota in the early 80s and never looked back. What does surprise me, though, is that school would be closed because of the cold weather. I never remember that happening when I was growing up, even on the “tundra” in the north west corner of MN. I have permanently frost bitten knees to prove it, being to vain to wear pants under my dress when I walked home from school. 🙂

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    1. I think those incidents of kids suffering frostbite or standing at bus stops without proper clothing (sometimes by choice, often by lack) prompted it when the windchills dipped in the 20’s and 30’s below zero. This winter, however, we’ve only had one 2-hour delay. However, I do love the beauty of the winter landscapes and would miss them if I didn’t live here …. that being said, winters could often shorten their stay, or at least let Spring have an appearance! Thanks for stopping by!

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