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Minnesotans are a tough lot

January 8, 2010
By Kerry Hoffman

Who else, except those that live even further north than we do, could handle the extreme temperatures we have been experiencing lately and then decide to continue existing here?

During the middle of winter you know you're from Minnesota if you can relate to some of the following anomalies I have observed throughout some of my days.

If you wake up in the morning and you look at your telephone and the temperature reads 6 degrees below zero, and you smile because you think it's warm, you might be from Minnesota.

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Kerry Hoffman

The other morning, while I was filling my coffee cup before work, Joey walked out of the house wearing his chores jean and his winter chores coat. I am assuming he was wearing something under that coat, but you never know with him.

Several minutes later, he was back in the basement of the house putting on his coveralls.

"I guess it's not as warm as I thought it was going to be," was all he said.

The very next day, Joey was standing outside working on getting the Cow Car going in the blasted cold. Sure enough, there he was, standing there in his black sweatshirt, jeans and tennis shoes.

"Don't you think you should have a coat on?" I screamed out the front door.

"Well, alright," he answered and immediately turned to come back into the house - like I was really forcing him to put on a winter coat during one of the coldest winters in recent history. I am such a mean mother.

You also know you're from Minnesota during the long irritating winter when you get home from work and your husband is a Grizzly bear.

He absolutely finds no enjoyment in having to repair equipment, every day, all day, when the weather gets to be a downright frigid.

He complained about the frozen water pipes. He complained about frozen silage in the silo. He complained about the frozen feed mixer, because it won't mix the feed.

I just go with the flow and make him feel like I feel bad for him. I genuinely do. I mean, if he weren't out there doing that yucky work, who do you think would have to be out there?

You also know it's too darn cold in Minnesota when you observe something that you have never ever seen in your entire life, and probably never will again.

On one of those gnarly days this last weekend, I decided I better fill up the bird feeder. I was feeling kind of sheepish, since I hadn't been feeding the birds at all this winter. They were in the trees and on the feeders looking for the usual winter feasts, and there was none.

I swear the little chick-a-dees, yellow finches, nuthatches and various other birds would look through the kitchen windows and glare at me, probably call me a naughty word, in an effort to nudge me into action.

Tromping through three-foot snow drifts - should have maybe used my Jeep to bust through those drifts - just to get to the bird feeders outside my kitchen window, gave me my once a week work out.

In my lethargy, I took the easy road and walked around the base of the 80-foot tall pine tree to get to the bird-feeding destination. There's not as much snow around the base of the trees.

I looked down around the barren, brown ground surrounding the tree and right there, frozen in mid action, was soft, light-brown colored field mouse.

Frozen stiff I tell ya. Even his tail was straighter than an arrow.

It looked like he was on a mission, probably to find somewhere warm. I wonder if that was the same mouse that ran around in Steve's office, after Louis the cat started acting like a German Shorthair Pointer. She sat there looking in the corner, under a shelf, for hours on end. (Can't you just see the cute little mouse, teasing the ornery cat, because he knows she's too big to get at him? Like a little mouse doing a tap dance with a cane!)

Any way, the obnoxious mouse was in a deep freeze with the ground. I know this is a fact, because I kicked it in an effort to move it away from the tree.

Why? I don't know. Human nature?

I reached down to touch the dead mouse. Yup, stiff as a board, soft as fur on a baby bunny rabbit.

I know we will make it through the glacial winter being thrust upon us by higher forces, and I know there will be another one down the road.

I can only hope that winter coats are in vogue, Steve is still around to work on equipment and that Louis will have eaten the resident mouse for breakfast.

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at



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