What to do when it's really cold?
December 17, 2009 12:24 PM   Subscribe

Cool things to do when it's 40 below?

Moved to Fairbanks Alaska. It's cold here. Are there interesting things I can do that take advantage of lots of access to really cold temperatures?

Ideally, this would be kitchen-sciency stuff that doesn't actually require me to spend a lot of time in the cold, like the you-tube videos of taking hot water outside and turning it into ice fog. Or, if you fill up a balloon with water and put it outside it turns into an ice sphere, good for using in holiday punch.
posted by leahwrenn to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I, for one, would go immediately to the highest point on my roof that has a direct line to the ground, and see if my pee would freeze before hitting the ground. I'm sure my wife wouldn't approve, though.
posted by Grither at 12:26 PM on December 17, 2009 [5 favorites]

See if you can supercool some water in your garage.
This looks fun.
posted by JeremiahBritt at 12:30 PM on December 17, 2009

Vegetable musical instrument carving! (there are other vids of his with instructions, bonus you can enjoy another language besides English). Then have a soup party with your friends to make the Orchestra! Solves 'what to do today', 'what to have for dinner', and social interaction all in one. YMMV.
posted by kch at 12:31 PM on December 17, 2009

Blow bubbles! They instantly turn into glassy little spheres. (Admittedly, it was -60°F when I did it.)
posted by adiabat at 12:34 PM on December 17, 2009

Make some pretty ice lanterns.
posted by fish tick at 12:36 PM on December 17, 2009

I suggest appropriate outfits and snowshoes in case you decide to venture outside. It's sort of nice to get to walk without everything being slippery in the wintertime. Other things that have cold weather options [and I'm totally stealing the balloon thing for NYEve punch, it's about ten degrees here today]

- ice candles [with wax]
- ice candles [with water]
- build a snow arch
- snowflake photography [and plastic replicas]

You might want to look at other options in Instructables' Stay Warm Contest
posted by jessamyn at 12:42 PM on December 17, 2009

Freezing soap bubbles, as mentioned above. Use glycerin in the mix to get them to last long enough to freeze. And note that the ones you make by blowing (warm) air will behave differently from the ones you make by sweeping the wand through the (cold) air.
posted by madmethods at 12:47 PM on December 17, 2009

If you like booze, you could look into the legally dubious practice of fractional distillation. I homebrew various small-batch wines (dandelion, maple, blueberry, strawberry) and have never engaged in this practice, which has never resulted in a variety of astonishingly delicious "brandies".
posted by Shepherd at 1:18 PM on December 17, 2009 [3 favorites]

We take the mini fruity marshmallows and freeze them in liquid nitrogen, they get hard and crunchy and taste like Lucky Charms marshmallows. I wonder how crunchy they would get at -40 F? You may have to leave them out for a few hours.

And that supercooled water video BLOWS MY MIND.
posted by sararah at 2:39 PM on December 17, 2009

Boil a pot of water, take it outside and toss boiling water into the air. It should vaporize - going instantly from a liquid straight to a gas state.
posted by plasticbugs at 2:42 PM on December 17, 2009

Correcting myself --> Maybe not a gas state. It's more of a cloud of very fine ice state.
posted by plasticbugs at 2:47 PM on December 17, 2009

Make ice cream without the mess of a salted-ice cooling bath.
posted by hangashore at 3:19 PM on December 17, 2009

My Mom used to make Jello gelatin in a glass jar, then hide it out in a snowbank near our house. When I came home from school, I was charged with finding my after school snack. I would follow her footsteps around the backyard until I found a mound that looked like my Jello might be hiding there, then dig until I found it.

Awesome memories. Thanks, Mom!

Anyway....make Jello?
posted by Grlnxtdr at 6:44 AM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

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