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What caused this ice formation in my mother's birdbath?

A few years ago, my mother sent me pictures of this odd ice formation that she found in her birdbath, wondering if I had any idea how it formed. I asked around on Facebook and none of my friends could identify it, but no such luck. I just occurred to me today to ask Ask. Here are the pictures: birdbath and close-up. Any thoughts on how that shape was created? This was winter 2010, in Connecticut.
posted by Neely O'Hara on Mar 27, 2014 - 7 answers

 

looking for recommendations on slim-fit winter clothing

does anyone make high-quality cold(ish)-weather outdoor wear, such as fleeces and windbreakers, in slim-fit cuts? [more inside]
posted by xbonesgt on Mar 24, 2014 - 10 answers

Help me find a warm puffy coat for NEXT winter.

Please help me find a warm, puffy and DISCOUNTED coat for next winter! [more inside]
posted by Viola on Mar 11, 2014 - 18 answers

Spring and Autumn: 2 weeks each. xkcd?

I am convinced - or I've convinced myself - that there was an xkcd diagram that showed winter as unbearably cold and long, summer as unbearably hot and long, and a very short burst of spring and autumn where temperatures were just right. Does this actually exist, or is it some other cartoon, or have I imagined something as real?
posted by Wordshore on Mar 8, 2014 - 5 answers

Why does the road salt (in the Northeast, anyway) come from far away?

With all these winter storms here in the Northeast (and Midwest and South), I've been hearing a lot about salt supply issues. Supposedly much of it has to come from Chile...but there are plenty of salt mines in North America, aren't there? What about solar evaporation from the ocean right here? Wouldn't such sources save on the costs and environmental impact of shipping long distances? Are domestic sources just exhausted by demand in the Midwest and parts of the South far from ports?
posted by Seeking Direction on Mar 2, 2014 - 4 answers

Would you go ahead with a trip to DC this coming week given the weather?

My family and I are set to travel by train to DC for a week of enrichment during our Mardi Gras break. The weather looks like it has the potential to close museums etc. and make us fairly uncomfortable for the significant walking from place to place. We could cancel it all and set out for something warmer tomorrow, but is my concern overblown? We're going tomorrow through Friday. The potential for closures and outages is the biggest factor, I guess.
posted by zangpo on Mar 1, 2014 - 13 answers

Does Home Depot rent flame throwers?

What is the best/easiest way to clear snow and ice from a driveway and parking area in sub-freezing temperatures? [more inside]
posted by Betelgeuse on Feb 28, 2014 - 19 answers

Fun activities for a house bound dad?

My poor dad is recovering from an accident, and is stuck in the house during this crazy winter. What are some fun activities to keep him busy while we wait for the snow to melt? [more inside]
posted by silverstatue on Feb 26, 2014 - 15 answers

Spring fever

Help my little family enjoy spending time outside with two feet of snow on the ground. [more inside]
posted by anastasiav on Feb 24, 2014 - 10 answers

Help me find the warmest full length winter coat in the world.

Help me find the warmest full length winter coat in the world. [more inside]
posted by parakeetdog on Feb 17, 2014 - 24 answers

Winter trail-sharing etiquette?

Cross-country skiing on trails also used by snowmobiles: Apart from common courtesy and common sense, is there any etiquette that I should be aware of? [more inside]
posted by usonian on Feb 15, 2014 - 8 answers

Spring and Fall Games

There are summer and winter versions of big sports events such as the Olympics and the X Games. Are there spring and fall-based sporting events too? If not, why not? Are there any sports that are specially seasonal outside summer/winter?
posted by divabat on Feb 10, 2014 - 10 answers

Roofing repair... In February... In New England...

I was up in the attic the other day, putting away some stuff, and I noticed a delightfully large amount of mold going down either side of on section of the roof. Joy. The question now is exactly what to do, with a roof that obviously needs repair, in February, in New England. [more inside]
posted by katers890 on Feb 10, 2014 - 8 answers

How big would a snowman have to be to survive the summer?

(This is from my 11 year old son, purely because he's curious and because we have 11' snowbanks this year). How big would a snowman have to be for at least some snow to survive to the next winter? [more inside]
posted by sweet mister on Feb 6, 2014 - 23 answers

What's the best viewer reference for the 2014 Winter Olympics?

Last Olympics there was an FPP linking to a thorough Olympics prospectus. Among other things, it has a condensed three-event-a-day set of viewing recommendations, a per-sport set of athletes and countries to keep an eye on, and bunches of athlete and sport context sprinkled throughout for flavor. I loved being able to tune in to a random event, pull up the prospectus, and quickly find a few sentences/a paragraph that gave me the gist of the narrative/context for that event. Is there an equivalent this year? Failing that, what are other good resources for Olympics viewers this year?
posted by jdherg on Feb 5, 2014 - 1 answer

RUNNING IN A WINTER WONDERLANDDD

Running in Chicago in the wintertime. I'm not as worried about the cold (love running in the cold!) as I am about ice. (South Side location.) [more inside]
posted by stoneandstar on Jan 31, 2014 - 12 answers

Skilled skier seeks ski sites

What are some websites or books about skiing? [more inside]
posted by shothotbot on Jan 26, 2014 - 6 answers

Non-freezing shipping

I'd like to ship glass containers carrying liquids to a friend in a Northern state (opening them up and placing them in another container is not an option, as they are carbonated.) It is currently winter and frequently well below freezing outside. Is this possible to do without the contents freezing solid and exploding? FedEx recommends placing thawed gel coolants in a package to prevent freezing as a "heat sink". How does this even work?
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College on Jan 22, 2014 - 15 answers

Need big hats and big boots in Toronto

Where in Toronto can I find (1) an extra large size toque with ear coverage (like the Mountain Hardwear Dome Perignon) or (2) size 15 waterproof warm winter boots (like the Sorel 1964 PAC T)? I've already visited or called several places (MEC, Get Outside, Patagonia) to no result. [more inside]
posted by grouse on Jan 22, 2014 - 11 answers

Winter enjoyment tips for germophobes

Every year I dread cold weather, mostly for norovirus-related reasons. Especially since it seems media reports about norovirus outbreaks, flu deaths, etc. have increased over the last few years. It's all I can do to go to work and social events during the week (barely--I probably won't eat food prepared in a strange kitchen or where I notice a lack of handwashing). You could not pay me to get on an airplane or visit a nursing home this time of year. Lately all I want to do is burrow into my apartment with herbal tea and bleach wipes, but life demands that I go to parties, spend time in public, etc. [more inside]
posted by magdalemon on Jan 14, 2014 - 39 answers

Winterizing with cats

I live in a drafty old house and have recently winterized the windows using a kit from Home Depot. It works pretty well! But these bad cats really, really like to claw through the plastic. Is there a more cat-proof option?
posted by munyeca on Jan 12, 2014 - 12 answers

What should I wear in the winter? Difficulty level: Toronto

For a Texas boy, I got pretty good at dressing for the weather in London and Seattle. But now I've moved to Toronto, where I've found my clothes inadequate for the cold of the previous couple of weeks. I was also possessed to plan on a visit to Ottawa's Winterlude in a few weeks where I have been warned I might just freeze to death. What new clothes do I need and where do I get them? [more inside]
posted by grouse on Jan 11, 2014 - 37 answers

Remember back when you didn't like getting socks for the Holidays?

Point me to your favorite winter socks. Because it's cold here. Really, really cold, and every single pair of socks I own has holes. All of them. [more inside]
posted by instead of three wishes on Jan 6, 2014 - 31 answers

To snow tire or not to snow tire?

We're driving in snowy weather for the first time in our lives. Do we need snow tires, or is it better to just get a new set of all weathers if we are spending the money? Cars are a Corolla and a Focus.
posted by chaiminda on Jan 5, 2014 - 33 answers

My poor chickens are so cold!

How can I provide heat to my chicken coop, without an electricity source? [more inside]
posted by silverstatue on Jan 3, 2014 - 27 answers

Things to do in Denver when it's cold?

Besides skiing, of course. I think myself and Ms Jo will be in Denver area for 4 days or so within the next two weeks. We may ski one day, but prefer just being out of doors and walking and hiking. Is this too crazy given the season? I would love to go to a hot springs but the closest one looks kinda cheesy/expensive. We will have a car. I like beer. Suggestions for activities and accommodations are welcome. Basically, I am looking for a non-ski reason to go Denver area this month for 3 or 4 days. If the answer is to come back later (during brew fest and better hiking weather, so be it).
posted by J0 on Jan 3, 2014 - 15 answers

Power is out! So, how long until my pipes burst?

I have a small weekend cottage. I am currently 2 hours away from said cottage and the power there went out 3.5 hours ago. The temperature there is currently -2 F. Power company estimates return of power around midnight. Are my pipes going to freeze? [more inside]
posted by minervous on Jan 3, 2014 - 13 answers

What to do: winter evenings in Niagara Falls, NY

I am traveling to Niagara Falls, NY, for business next week. I will be there for four days. What shall I do with myself when I am not working? [more inside]
posted by CiaoMela on Jan 3, 2014 - 9 answers

Make it foggy this winter?

Help me understand humidifiers and purchase one that will help deal with my overly warm/dry winter apartment without breaking the bank. Difficulty level: Canadian! [more inside]
posted by Phalene on Jan 2, 2014 - 12 answers

Truck + plow blade. Snow-covered driveway ending in garage. Can it work?

Dumb question: can a pick-up truck with a plow blade clear a short straight driveway that goes from the street right up to a garage? By design, the plow is intended push snow in front of it—so won't the result be a pile of snow against the garage door? Or can the blade be raised high enough so that the driver can move it over a mound of snow, lower the blade, and drive backward to pull the snow away? [more inside]
posted by StrawberryPie on Dec 31, 2013 - 11 answers

dealing with dry skin and being active outdoors

I like running in the cold, but it’s majorly screwing up my skin and drying out my already dry skin much more than usual. Please help me! [more inside]
posted by raztaj on Dec 29, 2013 - 7 answers

Raincoat adaptable for puffy and unpuffed people

What's a great waterproof men's rain shell / raincoat that I can wear over my winter coat AND by itself in the summer? [more inside]
posted by scarylarry on Dec 20, 2013 - 4 answers

Planning a ski trip... A year in advance

Help me figure out all the logistics involved in planning my very first big-boy vacation: A ski trip to the Rockies. I could use location recommendations or tour companies if any of you have experience with that. Details inside [more inside]
posted by nickhb on Dec 19, 2013 - 14 answers

Personal shopper needed for some snowboots in Aisle 7 please

Say you're a hip and adorable lesbian- what snowboots would you buy? I'm trying to buy my partner a pair of snowboots for Xmas and want to find some really cute, stylish ones but am coming up short. We're in the Rockies. I just buy utilitarian boots, so I am bad at this. [more inside]
posted by rabu on Dec 16, 2013 - 17 answers

Where is the best man's scarf?

I don't want to find a good men's scarf. I want to find the best men's scarf. It should be non-wooly/scratchy, smooth to the touch, long enough and thick enough to be wrapped around the neck and draped over the front to create an insulation layer while waiting on cold train platforms and be in a "masculine" pattern/color that would suit most coats. It should also be durable and long lasting, I want a scarf you could wear without comment for 20 years and then be buried with it. Where is this scarf?
posted by The Whelk on Dec 11, 2013 - 31 answers

getting a car ready for winter

My friend has 2 cars; a '77 Toyota sedan, and a "06 Subaru Forrester. Most of her driving is in the city and some highway. I have brought up the idea of winterizing them both; tuneups, de-icer, scraper, better wiper blades, windshield fluid, tires, more weight in the rear, sand, shovel, emergency flash, cell phone charger.......she has let me know the tires are not changing. Any ideas for making the cars, and her time in them, safer and more secure? Best battery? Oil?
posted by ebesan on Dec 11, 2013 - 23 answers

Women's coat warm as Canada Goose, but not Canada Goose. And stylish.

I love to walk to and from work, all year long, and this requires a warm coat. My current coat doesn't keep me as reliably toasty as I'd like. I want something as warm as a Canada Goose coat, but I don't want that brand - i want something that every second person (in toronto) isn't already wearing, and that is (if possible) slightly more urban/stylish/flattering, and less sporty/functional looking. In particular, i really don't want a big logo/badge on it, as all Canada Goose coats do. I absolutely want a down-filled coat, though. (I've never seen a wool coat that is anywhere near as warm as down.) Bonus points for something available at a retail store in Toronto (or possibly NYC, which i visit occasionally), and that costs $700 or less.
posted by Kololo on Dec 10, 2013 - 27 answers

Good places to buy men's gloves in midtown and the lower east side

What are some good places in Midtown and the Lower East Side to find men's winter gloves? I work in Midtown and want to hunt for some on my way home to Brooklyn this evening. [more inside]
posted by rhythm and booze on Dec 10, 2013 - 4 answers

Warmest underlayer to wear with dresses in winter

Looking for a really warm underlayer for dresses for when I cannot bulk up on sweaters.. merino slip? [more inside]
posted by kirikara on Dec 9, 2013 - 21 answers

Winter driving precautions in Chicago?

I just moved to Evanston, IL from North Carolina. It snowed about an inch today, and unlike what I'm used to, everything didn't shut down in panic. What do I need to know in order to make my driving commute a safe one? [more inside]
posted by Comrade_robot on Dec 8, 2013 - 41 answers

How can I encourage my dog to pee .. cold weather edition

So, it's been around -30c (-22f) daytime with windchill of -40c (-40f) and my shih tzu is protesting. This is his first winter in these temps. He is puppy pad trained, but will not use the pads during the day. For five days he has been relieving himself only at night (on training pad), and I am worried he will do damage to his health. [more inside]
posted by batikrose on Dec 8, 2013 - 9 answers

Redoing a garden. In winter. In Switzerland.

We moved to Zurich earlier this year. Our apartment has a couple of balconies, both with raised gardens around the edges. When we moved in, they had been untouched for months and are full of scrubby things and stumps. I want to spend winter (while the ground isn't frozen) cleaning them out for spring, as well as preparing the rest of the garden for potentially heavy snow. [more inside]
posted by tracicle on Dec 8, 2013 - 7 answers

Woman's long dress coat

Help me find a Christmas present for girlfriend. [more inside]
posted by falsedmitri on Dec 6, 2013 - 12 answers

Best radiant/oil heater?

My apartment doesn't have central heating, and space heaters aren't doing the job. It never gets below freezing here, but does get pretty chilly (maybe 40ish at the lowest) after dark. I have a couple of space heaters, but they don't really heat the full space (two rooms, about 300 sq. feet each), and so I'm left with just sitting right in front of the heater, so there's hot air blowing right on me, which is uncomfortable and dries out my skin like crazy. A friend recommended a radiant or oil heater, but didn't know a lot of specifics. Has anyone used these? Are they better than the type of space heater that just blows out hot air? And, do you have any recommendations for specific brands?
posted by rainbowbrite on Dec 3, 2013 - 11 answers

How do I exercise in winter?

I have been running 3 to 4 miles every other day since about June of this year. It has become a very important part of maintaining my mental health, and now that winter has arrived it has been nearly impossible to run. What do I do now to stay active and sane? [more inside]
posted by Hey Dean Yeager! on Nov 30, 2013 - 23 answers

Let's pretend it's not winter.

I am looking for gardening books focusing on perennial flowers or vegetables or books on landscaping design/ideas that will make me drunk with plans for spring. [more inside]
posted by A Terrible Llama on Nov 29, 2013 - 6 answers

How to drive cross country - safely - in the winter?

I'm driving from DC to Washington State in a few weeks, and will take the northern route (OH, IL, IA, SD, MT, ID, WA). I'm concerned about wintry weather, and want to take precautions for a safe drive. What are some best steps or considerations to get there safely? What worked well for you in similar circumstances? [more inside]
posted by LittleFuzzy on Nov 24, 2013 - 20 answers

Help me stay warm: tall+slim outerwear for women

Winter coat filter: Hello minds of mefi, I am looking for an uber warm women's parka. Complexity level: I am six feet tall and size 4. Brands like North Face are great, but the sleeves are too short and waist is too wide. So I am looking for quality brads that I could look into that would fit a tall, slim woman. Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks in advance.
posted by mooselini on Nov 24, 2013 - 8 answers

wanted: brick-and-mortar store in Chicago for winter coats

First Chicago winter for a California native. Need recommendations for stores that have good-quality but not-too-expensive winter coats. [more inside]
posted by phoenix_rising on Nov 22, 2013 - 19 answers

Skinny man seeks winter coat (London)

I like M&S-style clothing, but as a slender man (35 chest 31 waist) I often have trouble finding something that fits, and the M&S range of winter coats, even in 'Small', looks a little baggy on me. Where else in London could I find something reasonably stylish, but also warm, to wear over a shirt & sweater, for less than, say, £300? [more inside]
posted by piato on Nov 18, 2013 - 12 answers

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