Monday, February 6, 2012

Hoarfrost and Icefog

When your occupation requires you to be outside at all hours, you get to experience some of the wonders of nature otherwise overlooked.

The aurora borealis, shooting stars and wild lightning shows are but a few of the sights we have seen in the night sky. Rainbows and sundogs are part of the daytime show. Snowstorms and icestorms are beautiful in their own way, but also cause untold difficulties.

This morning, we encountered what may well be my favorite weather phenomenon. Hoarfrost! When I looked out in the dim light of early morning, my first thought was that it must have snowed lightly in the night.

When the overnight temperatures and humidity are at just the right ratio, the ice crystals grow upward in weird and random designs. Everything is transformed into a lacy fairy world of delicate whiteness. The combination of ice and fog give a mysterious feel to the entire farm. The photo ops were amazing, so it took the Boss and I much longer to do chores than usual this morning.

I was rather disappointed that the fog we experienced this morning was just fog. “Ice fog” sounds more interesting and wintry. However, since we are not within the Arctic Circle and this morning’s temperature was well above 14*, I will have to settle for “just plain fog”.

Apparently, it was a very localized phenomenon. My mid-morning trip to town revealed the frost-line several miles down the road and those I spoke to in town had no knowledge of ice and fog.

The hoarfrost is unusual and weirdly beautiful, but also short-lived. By lunchtime, it was but a memory. The misty whiteness of early morning gave way to the brilliant blue sky of a beautiful mid-winter day.

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