Friday, February 27, 2009

Frosty Friday

This is actually from a few days ago, but the Bag Lady thought you might like to see how pretty it was.
You will notice she is not whining about how cold it was yesterday.

And here is a self-portrait. Notice how attractive and bulky the Bag Lady's chore coat makes her appear! (If you look closely at the bottom right corner of her "portrait" you can see the tatters where she is constantly catching her coat on a piece of metal that sticks out on the loader door....)

You might also notice that she doesn't have much else for you today. The biggest excitement lately has been that she had to climb into the granary and shovel the oats closer to the door. Believe her when she tells you that it is a miserable job. Dusty, dirty and itchy. But occasionally necessary. The Bag Lady has fairly long arms, but there is a limit to how far she can reach!
On the other hand, it is good exercise. And so is trying to blow all that dirt out of your nostrils for a couple days afterwards... oops, was that too much information? The Bag Lady really should learn to wear a mask when she does something like that.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 26, 2009


That's it. The Bag Lady is totally and completely fed up and is going to bed to hide under the covers until it warms up! Probably some time in March....err April.... May?

Actually, she has decided to declare this blog a "No-Whine" zone as far as the weather is concerned. She will not complain about the weather anymore. Really. At least for the remainder of the month!

Of course, without the weather to complain about, she has nothing else to blog about....

Well, that's not true. She could rant about something. Like the fact that humans seem to be less and less civil, at least in this neck of the woods. The Rancher told the Bag Lady that the company he works for is looking for a new driver for their low bed truck (the truck used to haul heavy equipment from job to job) because the last fellow is injured. And how was he injured, she asked. He was beaten up, replied the Rancher, in a road-rage incident. Not, fortunately, while he was driving the low bed truck, but while he was driving his own vehicle. The Rancher was unsure of all the details, but apparently there were insults hurled and single finger salutes exchanged. When the fellow pulled into a parking lot and got out of his vehicle, the two fellows from the other vehicle jumped out of their car and beat the crap out of him, breaking ribs and doing some serious bodily harm. What the hell is wrong with people?

The Bag Lady has had an occasional brush with an idiot or two on the road, and has even stooped to cussing at another driver (sometimes out loud), but to follow someone and wait until they exit their vehicle in order to beat them up? What could he possibly have done to warrant that kind of treatment? Cut the other vehicle off? Was he slow starting away from an intersection when the light changed to green?

What is it about driving a vehicle that makes people behave in such a ridiculous manner? The Bag Lady has had near-accidents that have made her angry, and she has occasionally been tempted to follow the person who almost hit her and confront them about their lack of caution, but she has never actually done so. What purpose would it serve? Would it make them pay more attention on the road? The Bag Lady thinks not. She also thinks that she prefers her ribs intact and unbruised, so she wouldn't go looking for a confrontation.

What about you? Have you ever suffered from road rage? Been a victim? Have you ever wanted to use your vehicle as a weapon?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Honey, Cinnamon and Apples

Well, the Bag Lady has to confess she stopped drinking the honey/cinnamon concoction. After just one and a half days, she gained 3 (yes, three!) pounds! That's one pound per cup of honey and cinnamon. Who'dathunk that one tablespoon of honey would translate into a whole pound of Bag Lady?

And poor Charlotte over at the Great Fitness Experiment was so unimpressed with the drink, she threw up! So, like the intrepid guys on the television show, methinks that myth is busted! (But it did taste good....)

The Bag Lady had another physiotherapy appointment yesterday, and things are progressing. The therapist is targeting various muscle groups, trying to stimulate them and remind them of what their jobs are! Yesterday she was trying to wake up some of the Bag Lady's sleeping glutes. she may have succeeded, if the Bag Lady's sore butt is anything to go by! The Bag Lady has several exercises she is to do at home, which are designed to help strengthen her core. (There is a joke in there somewhere, considering the Bag Lady's apple shaped body.....)

The weather is decidedly winter-like again. It snowed a lot, and the temperature has plummeted, so the Bag Lady is still in hibernation mode. The Rancher is still on night shift, and the Bag Lady is getting pretty good at tip-toeing around! She wonders if tip-toeing is a good butt-strengthening exercise.

The Bag Lady has to keep reminding herself that spring is just around the corner. Of course, the corner is still quite a distance away, but spring will be there when we get to the corner. Really.

Monday, February 23, 2009


The Bag Lady has had a couple of "off" days lately. She hasn't felt like doing much of anything, except perhaps hiding under the covers until spring arrives! She has one of those nagging little headaches - not a rip-roaring migraine or a pounding hangover, just a wee cramp affecting her whole head. This generally means she's been clenching her teeth in her sleep. She cannot figure out what is bothering her, except perhaps this interminable winter!

She also has the theme from "Dallas" looping through her head. Over and over.
Maybe that's what's giving her the headache!

Hopefully something worthy of a blog post will happen soon!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sweetness and Light(er?)

The Bag Lady recently received an email extolling the virtues of honey and cinnamon. Apparently, honey and cinnamon can cure whatever ails you.

Now, the Bag Lady may be one of the few people in the world who doesn't really like honey. She finds it cloyingly sweet. The Rancher, on the other hand, is a big honey fan - he will eat it with peanut butter on toast in the morning. Of course, the Bag also is not a fan of peanut butter with jam, either - she prefers her peanut butter straight (yes, sometimes straight out of the jar!) or, on occasion, wrapped in chocolate!

But the Bag Lady decided last night that she hasn't challenged herself lately, so she is going to give the honey and cinnamon thing a try. Apparently, a tablespoon of honey mixed with a teaspoon of cinnamon in a cup of hot water, taken half an hour before breakfast is supposed to help you lose weight (as well as prevent cancer, cure your arthritis, clear up your complexion, fix your hemorrhoids and vacuum your house for you.... okay, okay, that last one was just wishful thinking!) So she is going to try it. Because, really, what harm can it do? Besides, it actually tastes darned good!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Call to Arms

The Bag Lady has been watching television lately (yes, incredible though it may seem!) and has been catching up with a program called "Ancestors in the Attic" (or something like that...). She has always had an abiding interest in genealogy and spent an entire winter on the internet, researching her family tree.

There is an amazing amount of information out there, and some terrific resources. She was lucky enough to find some very helpful sites, and some very helpful people.

One of her ancestors fought in the Civil War in the States, and died in the service of his country. Many soldiers died during the war; some on the battlefield, some from wounds received during battle and many more from disease. The Bag Lady is of the impression that her ancestor died of a disease. Here is the only known picture of Eber. He was the Bag Lady's great-grandmother's brother.

If you look closely, you can read the dates under his picture. He was 16 years old when he died in Bolivar, Tennessee on Sept. 22, 1862.

She believes he is buried in Harrison, Henry County, Ohio, (her memory fails her right now) and wishes she could travel there to try to find his grave. Unfortunately, that is not feasible, so she wonders if she has any readers in Ohio who would be willing to search for his gravesite. If so, please contact the Bag Lady at the email address in the sidebar.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I Can't Get No....Satis...Distraction

The Bag Lady has lost her mojo (and no, she isn't talking about Emily's dog...)

She cannot think of anything to blog about. Part of that stems from the fact that nothing much is going on at the ranch right now. This is the lull before the storm, she fears. With the Rancher on night shift, she spends her days tiptoeing around the house while he's sleeping, and her evenings cursing the fact that she didn't get more done during the day, but is too tired to do much more than watch television in the evening! Worst of all, she isn't sure what has caused her tiredness - who knew that tiptoeing could wear you out!

She has a few posts in the planning stage, but somehow hasn't gotten much further than a few little nuggets of an idea lost in the vast empty space where her brain used to reside. She wonders if she can blame the loss of her brain on menopause, but fears it's more a matter of distraction. She is easily distracted of late, and the things that distract her don't necessarily have to be shiny! Some of them aren't even things. Some of them are big shapeless blobs floating around in her brain, blocking coherent thought, in much the same manner as those big puffy clouds block the summer sun.....

Maybe the clouds will disappear, the sun will shine again and light will stream from her ears? onto her computer screen once more.

In the meantime, she will....... what's that? It's awfully shiny.....

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Happy Hump Day!

The Bag Lady had yet another busy day yesterday. She had to run to town for parts, then had to fix the waterer at her mother-in-law's place. She did accomplish all she set out to do, except was too tired to write a blog post last night!

She has fewer goals today, but never really knows what the day will bring. In the meantime, here's a photo for you to ponder:

Monday, February 16, 2009

Water Freezes When It's Cold!

Oy. The Bag Lady has had quite a day. The Rancher started on night shift last night, so when he got home at 6 am, the Bag Lady made him something to eat, and he tottered off to bed. Shortly thereafter, the Bag Lady sat down to write a blog post, but first she settled in to read her email. She had just opened the first one and read the first line when the electricity went off.

She waited a few minutes, then phoned the power company. Got a recording saying that the power was off in her area due to a vehicle striking a power pole. It would be restored by 11 am. This was at 9 am. So she did a little puttering around the house, read a little and waited. And waited. At 11:30, she called back and the recording told her the power would be restored at 1 pm. She did her chores, and tried to be patient.

She also tried not to cuss out the dumbass who blew through a stop sign at a T intersection.... who must have been driving far in excess of the speed limit not to notice the 5 rumble strips he drove over, nor the BIG ASS stop sign at the corner, nor the fact that there was no road where he was heading, but there WAS a big ol' power pole... dumbass. (She has no idea if he was injured or killed - she had no electricity, so couldn't listen to the news on the radio...)

Please remember that when you get your water from a well, you have a pressure tank that runs on electricity. No electricity means no water. Cattle drink a lot of water. They sucked the waterer dry, but that didn't stop them from fighting over it.

"Let ME try - you must not be doing it right!!" Pushing and shoving and fighting. The Bag Lady lured the cows away from the waterer with a hay bale, but the calves are locked in the corral, and were perplexed by the fact that there didn't seem to be any water where there had always been water before!!

The electicity was finally restored at 2 pm. so the Bag Lady suited up with all her winter gear yet again and went out to check on the waterer. Naturally, after 5 hours with no electicity and no heat, the lines under the waterer were frozen. Fortunately, the heater was doing it's job (the Bag Lady could tell this because there was steam rising from the empty water bowl...) so she covered the bowl with a few boards so the calves wouldn't sizzle their noses and to help keep the heat in and waited. And waited. And waited some more.

She went back to the house for a few minutes, but could see that the cows were now in the corral, milling around, fighting to get a drink, so she got togged up again and stumbled out to the corral. Still no water. The cows had knocked the boards off so the Bag Lady put them back on, then stood guard. Finally, she thought she heard a gurgle. Then a swish. Finally she heard what she knew was water filling the bowl. She waited until it was almost full, then took the boards off and let the cows have a drink. Of course there was much fighting and jostling, but they did finally all drink their fill.

The Bag Lady sent the Rancher off to work, then made herself a little supper. She finally sat down in front of the computer and started to read her email. And the phone rang. It was her mother in law saying she had a little problem with the waterer at her place.....

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy "V" Day

The Rancher and the Bag Lady went out for supper last night to celebrate Valentine's Day. The Ranchers' brother and his wife and her sister and her husband had invited them to go along with them.

This was the first time in recent history that the Rancher was not working on Valentine's Day, and it was great to be able to go to a restaurant and enjoy not having to cook. The ladies all ordered Filet Wellington, which was not as good as it could have been, but was still not too bad.

The Bag Lady also tried a new drink, and fell in love with it! She is going to have to try to reproduce it at home - partly because she so rarely goes to town and orders a fancy cocktail in a restaurant, and partly because for the price of one of those fancy cocktails in a restaurant, she is pretty sure she can purchase all the ingredients for making it a home, and still have money left over for nuts!

It was a martini called Berry Me, and was really, really good! Contained raspberry vodka, triple sec, lime juice and a selection of frozen berries.... yum.

After dinner, the three couples retired to one of the in-laws homes and played cards into the wee hours of the evening.... 9 pm or some such nonsense! Crazy party hounds, that's us.

How did you spend your Valentine's Day? (Try not to be too jealous of the Bag Lady's rip-snorting good time - remember, this is the first time she can recall going out for dinner on Valentine's Day since she moved to the ranch... 14 years, but who's counting?)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Meanwhile, Back on the Ranch

The Bag Lady, as most of you know, feeds her cows with a front-end loader. It is a large, heavy machine, with a bucket on the front. There are three spikes attached to the lip of the loader bucket (called a bale fork) that is used to lift the bale and transport it.

The cows get quite excited when the Bag Lady arrives in the pasture with a new bale for them. It doesn't matter if there is still feed left from the previous day; they absolutely must come and check out the new feed.

The bales are tied with plastic twine, which is wound around and around the big round bale, and is sometimes a little difficult to remove. If there is snow or ice on the twine, the Bag Lady has to be quite creative in her method of removal. The accepted method is to leave the bale on the fork, with it held slightly off the ground and cut all the strands on one side of the bale. Then the Bag Lady goes around to the other side and pulls all the strings off. She winds them up in a ball, gets back into the loader and spreads the bale out on the ground, either by shaking it slightly up and down or setting it down and peeling the hay off with the bale fork.

Remember though, that during this entire operation, the cows are crowding around, trying to get that first bite of the new hay. They push and shove and jostle each other, stand directly under the bale, or behind the loader (the Bag Lady shakes the bale out as she drives slowly in reverse) and generally make a nuisance of themselves.

But the cows are nowhere near as much of a nuisance as the bull is. He is young and a little on the goofy side. He is also relatively tame, and likes to have his head scratched. The Bag Lady is always cautious around him because he does outweigh her, slightly (by about 1900 pounds!!!), and he can get a little rambunctious.

Here is a little video clip of the bull "helping" the Bag Lady take the strings off a bale recently. He started on the opposite side of the bale, and it took the Bag Lady a little by surprise when the bale started bouncing up and down and the loader started to move. Unfortunately, in her haste to get away from the bouncing bale, she didn't get her camera out and rolling until he was almost finished "helping"....

He had started on the opposite side of the bale and did that all the way around. Certainly made it easier for the Bag Lady to shake it out!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Today the Bag Lady wants to share a few things with you. One of them is a brand new blogger who has recently started up, and the Bag Lady would encourage you to zip over and say hello to her. She is an exceptionally talented artist and she posted one of the Bag Lady's favourite paintings yesterday. You really should pop over to Redbush's Brambles and take a peek!

Another relatively new blog on the scene is this one, but the Bag Lady advises you to take your sense of humour with you when you visit. Rikk tends to sound a little on the cranky side about things, but in actual truth, he is far crankier than he appears he's just been in a bad mood for about 30 years!

The Bag Lady also wants to share this photo of the sunrise with you. It was absolutely gorgeous, and y'all know the Bag Lady can't seem to resist taking pictures of sunrises and sunsets, even if they never turn out all that well....
(click on it to enlarge - sometimes bigger really IS better!)

**Edited to add: The Bag Lady sent this picture in to the television station she watches, and the weatherman used it on his broadcast this morning! He said it was an "award-winning shot"!! The Bag Lady always knew he was incredibly intelligent and discerning!

****Edit #2 - here is as much of the broadcast as the Bag Lady was able to capture, using her little video camera! It's not the best quality, and you'll probably have to turn up the volume, but it's the best she could do!! Thanks, Mike, for making the Bag Lady's day!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wednesday Woes

The Bag Lady's computer has been having "issues" again. Well, partly it was her internet server... she couldn't get onto the internet yesterday afternoon. This morning, she had to wait for what seemed like hours (and was probably more like minutes....) before she could get into anything, so she is going to keep this short in case the kinks aren't exactly worked out.

If things seem okay, she may post again later today - if not, definitely tomorrow!

Hope everyone is having a good day!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday Tails

The Bag Lady has a couple photos to share with you. Here is one of her ever-so-graceful cat, Fuzzy (yes, the one who falls off chairs... is it any wonder?) The older cat had just walked by, so Fuzzy was attempting to catch his tail as he went by....

Here he is expressing his extreme boredom (in other words, he missed...)

And here's the full moon as it looked at the Bag Lady's house last night....

Never a dull moment around here.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Return of Winter

Winter keeps returning to the Bag Lady's world! The other day, she woke up to more snow.

The wet, sticky snow clung to everything, including the gate to the hay-yard:

It was a gray, dull day.

Here is a cow's-eye view of the Bag Lady's house:

Later on in the day, the clouds cleared away and the sun came out:

As the sun set, the fog started to roll in:

The temperature this week is supposed to be more seasonal, unfortunately. The Bag Lady has to keep reminding herself that February is the shortest month, and when March arrives, spring can't be too far away.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Butt Shot

Here are some of the calves enjoying their grain out of the newly built feeders in the corral.

They have really grown, haven't they?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Kitty - A Study in Complete Relaxation

Is it any wonder he falls off chairs....?

Much safer here - sleeping on a file box under the Bag Lady's desk. Not quite as far to fall, either, as from those high stools at the kitchen island.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Happy Friday!

The Bag Lady is brain-tied this week. That's kinda like being tongue-tied, only worse. She started to write some ramblin'-a$$ed story, but discovered half way through that it was even boring her, so she didn't want to inflict it on you!

The problem is that absolutely nothing blog-worthy has been happening around the ranch lately. That's not to say that nothing has been happening, but most of it is just not interesting enough to share with you. (Pretty sure you don't give a hoot about finding the sock that disappeared in the laundry last week.... although that was a highlight as far as the Bag Lady was concerned!)

Her cat fell asleep on one of the high stools that sit at the island, rolled over and fell off. That was pretty amusing, but the Bag Lady didn't have the camera at hand, so y'all just have to use your imaginations about that one.

She's hoping that something interesting will happen around here pretty soon, and be assured, if it does, she'll be blogging about it. In the meantime, she hopes everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

February Funk

The Bag Lady had a busy day yesterday. She had a physio appointment in town and had to do some running around while she was there. The Rancher has been off work for a few days, and the two of them have completed some chores around the place that required two people, such as drinking, partying and carrying on with the neighbours! doing some renovations in the corral and lying around, watching television even found time to attend a community meeting.

After some much-needed rest, the Rancher has gone back to work. On night shift. The Bag Lady hates it when he's on night shift, but there's not much she can do about it. She has discovered that whining doesn't help.

The weather remains quite mild, and the forecast is for a few more mild days before the temperature dips down closer to seasonal. The Bag Lady is hoping that the remainder of the winter will be tolerable and that there will be no more really cold days. The days are getting noticeably longer - there is daylight now until around 6 pm. The Bag Lady is looking forward to more daylight to help drag her out of her winter blues. How can it be that the shortest month of the year always feels so long?

What's happening in your corner of the world today?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Se* and the Country Girl

The Bag Lady decided to take a stroll down memory lane today. Way back when, before she had a blog of her own, she wrote a guest post that Crabby McSlacker was kind enough to post on Cranky Fitness. The Bag Lady realized that quite a few of her current readers probably never got a chance to read that post, and thought that you might enjoy it. Of course, some of Crabby's longtime readers may recognize it, and the Bag Lady hopes it garners a smile from them, too!

Well, okay, this isn’t about sex, but got your attention, didn’t it? With Crabby away, the Bag Lady thought she would try to fill Crabby’s shoes/claws (not that the Bag Lady has any wild delusions about her abilities…)

Actually, she started out trying to think how she could relate to a bunch of fitness buffs when she is, in reality, quite lazy, slothful, overweight and generally all-around not much good at anything in particular. So, with that out of the way, she’ll try to bluff her way through this.

Life out here in the country is challenging for someone with the Bag Lady’s limited capabilities. Being accustomed to the sedentary life, having in her previous incarnation been a city girl with an office-type job, it has proven to be an eye-opening experience. For all of you trapped in concrete, the fresh air alone takes some getting used to. Especially during the spring thaw, when it is perfumed by eau de manure. There’s nothing quite like it. All of which brings to mind yet another aspect of country life - cows. Those big (and I do mean Big!) deceptively placid creatures who populate the countryside, quietly munching their way through life. They need to be fed, watered, and generally cared for. When calving season comes, they need to be checked constantly (every 2 hours, 24/7) to ensure that they aren’t having any trouble producing their off-spring. This task eventually fell to the Bag Lady when her spouse was away supplementing the ranch income. She will spare you some of the Icky Details, but has to confess that in her wildest dreams as a singing, tap-dancing, amateur thespian-type urbanite, never thought she would one day find herself with her arm up to the shoulder inside the business end of a bovine! Especially when one considers the orifice directly above the one containing said arm.

Occasionally, those cows need to be moved from one place to another, either as a group or independently, depending on the reason. This is where the fitness aspect of ranching comes into play. Cows are generally easy to deal with, as long as you can convince them that it is their own idea to go into that corral/barn/pasture/whatever. If they decide there’s no f***ing way, you have to be able to move quickly and nimbly, something not in the Bag Lady’s repertoire. That said, she has surprised even herself with her ability to get the hell out of the way of a charging 1500 lb cow intent on doing her serious bodily harm. Certainly qualifies as aerobic exercise in the Bag Lady’s experience. (Envision a chubby older woman, doing the 100 yard dash, yelling “What the f**k am I doing here, I’m a dental assistant, for Christ’s sake!”) It’s hardly fair, considering cows have 4 legs, and they usually move so deceptively slowly - it is amazing how fast they can run. Fortunately, the Bag Lady can run faster scared than they can mad.

Calves are fun. They are so cute, especially when they are learning how to move their bodies. Usually around the age of 2 days, they are running, jumping, kicking up their back legs and generally goofing around. Mock bull fights with other calves or their mother, sniffing at the dog, then startling and running away when he licks their nose. They also contribute to the Bag Lady’s fitness routine. Calves need to have ear-tags inserted, and various other things done to them, which is easiest when they are small. Being small (roughly 100 – 150 lbs) doesn’t mean they can’t kick, squirm, wiggle and generally exhaust you. Wrangling some 40 or 50 calves in a hot, smelly barn filled with bawling calves, in the mud and the blood and the shit, while their mothers are outside, bawling for their babies, is something no fitness centre can compete with. Who needs Snoop Dawg when you can have a chorus of honking, bellowing cows expressing their displeasure?

Has the Bag Lady bored you to tears yet? There are other aspects to her fitness routine. For example, you have those step-thingys in your gyms – the Bag Lady has her tractor. Feeding the cows every day in the winter means getting in and out of the tractor roughly 14 or 15 times. (You get in to drive the tractor out of the shop, you get out to close the shop door, you get back in, drive to pick up the big round bale, get out to open the gate, get in to drive through the gate, get out to shut the gate, get in to drive to where you put the feed, get out to cut the strings off, get in to shake out the bale, drive to gate, get out to open the gate, …you get the picture.) This is every day – there is no Not Doing It Because I Don’t Feel Like Exercising Today.

Gee, the Bag Lady just checked her word count and realized she has run way over Crabby’s limit. She’ll just have to save all the other fun stuff for another day! Hope you enjoyed your foray into country life. (Next time will have the sex part…)

**The Bag Lady edited the title of this post because she was tired of it being included in searches for kinky sex! The Bag Lady is a lot of things, but she's really very old-fashioned....

Monday, February 2, 2009

Slip Slidn' Away

It's been quite a weekend at the ranch, weatherwise. The Bag Lady and the Rancher spent a lovely Friday afternoon building feeders in the corral to replace the damaged feeders that would no longer hold the oats for the calves to eat.

The temperature was such that the Bag Lady had to change out of her winter coat into something a little less insulated! Water was running everywhere in the yard, and the pasture resembled a lake.

The Rancher decided he needed to do something about the trail the cows follow to the waterer because it was a sheet of ice in places, and under water in other spots.

Here is where he tried clearing the snow and ice off the trail. It rapidly filled up with water. You can see water lying in the pasture in the distance.

The temperature dropped after the storm blew through on Friday evening, and all that water froze. The Rancher drove his Caterpillar over it so the tracks would break up the ice. It helped a little, but was still very slippery.

He finally resorted to spreading dirt over the ice to give the cows some traction. The last thing they need at this stage is to take a bad fall on the ice and risk losing their calf. (The Bag Lady thought she had taken a picture after he spread the dirt, but she can't find it. ~sigh~)

Here is the Princess, demonstrating the proper technique for four-footed navigation on ice: (keep your head down, apparently... )

The temperatures are supposed to stay mild for the next few days, hovering around the freezing mark. On the one hand, it's nice to have a break from the bitter cold, but the ice is definitely a problem.

And, finally, this picture makes it look as though the temperature dropped in a really big hurry, doesn't it?