Winter, we hardly knew ye

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life34 Comments


You want to know what's hard to do in Minnesota when you keep getting hit with days topping out into the upper 40s? Play outdoor hockey.

I've lived here since 1990, and I cannot recall a warmer, less snowy winter. And honestly, I'm not complaning. I shoveled so much snow last winter I swore come hell or high water a snowblower would be under my tree this year, lest I lift another shovelful of snow by hand again.

We didn't actuallly get a snowblower this year, and as it turns out, as of today, we haven't needed one.

So even though there are many like minded adults in this town, relishing the warmer temps and the snow-free landscape, I can tell you one boy who's kind of pissed off about it.


This playground by our house is usually a solid sheet of prime kid hockey ice from December through the end of March. This year, Cole's had to manage with about a 1/2 inch of ice, and that's on a good day. 

So last week, we headed out on one of the cooler days to a) let Cole get some ice time and b) play with my cool new refurb zoom lens I got for Christmas.


I haven't had a real zoom lens since I was a Nikon user a number of years ago. I didn't want some crazy high priced one either, and Dan found a lens as a refurbished item at our local camera shop. 

I don't have the steadiest hand with it yet, but Cole is thrilled with the fact that I can actually get closer and shoot him in his many sporty exploits.


Now if we'd just get a tiny bit more winter. You know, I'm really not asking for myself here. Really.

But the boy's childhood memories are going to require just a bit more precip. 


p.s. I'm sure I'm jinxing the entire state with this post. Just watch. Snowpacalypse is imminent.


Cathy ZielskeWinter, we hardly knew ye

34 Comments on “Winter, we hardly knew ye”

  1. #1

    HA!! you are so in trouble if your neighbors read this!! Might wake up to a TP raid in your yard!!

    The same is said for my son though and his love for snow because he gets to hot in the summer. I remember last winter and never want one like that again. We also only have a shovel and it was breaking my back by March. This week it’s been mild and light jackets for us. So I know it’s coming just waiting for the big snow to hit us.

    Great pictures with your new lens!!!

  2. #2
    Kendra B

    Great pictures!!! Most of my family lives in MN and I know a few of them who will be happy if you just jinxed them πŸ™‚

  3. #3
    toni from

    Snowpocalypse… you crack me up, sprayed coffee on my desk laughing so hard. I hadn’t heard that before.

  4. #5
    Lee Currie

    LOVE those shots! I’d love for a bit of cold, not necessarily snow, for the ponds around here to ice over. The boys love it and I know they’ve missed it this year – and so has my album πŸ™‚

  5. #7

    I too would love some snow. We don’t get too much here in NYC, but I’d love it anyway. Last year we had lots, and I loved it. But I don’t have a driveway to shovel.

  6. #9

    Hello. Okay. ANOTHER instance where you take my head off and put it on your shoulders!

    Seriously. Our 15 year old has been daily lamenting the freakish temps here in Chicagoland. He is primed with new (used) skates, a primo graphite hockey stick, and more pucks than the Timberwolves.

    Darn Global warming! Don’t they know we have able-bodied boys who need to remove their tukusses from computer gaming? Don’t they know the only way short of bribing with Starbuck’s frappuccinos or McD’s Big Macs is to tell them their friends have already started a pick up game at the park?!?!

    And if this jinxes, it, I say so be it! We need snow. We need snow. We need snow.

    C’mon. Say it with me.

    (Wow. WAY TOO MUCH coffee already). Sorry πŸ˜‰

  7. #10

    Oh yeah, in my caffeine-crazed diatribe above, I forgot to ask you if you like your lens? Been thinking of buying one myself to replace the one that went bouncing across the gymnstics gym a couple years back. When my daughter tried to be helpful and grab my photo bag BEFORE checking to see if there were any open pockets, she was only able to bring it back to me sounding like a musical shaker…

    So, is it worth it?

  8. #11

    Please. Come and snowjinx our state, too. Because the lack of snow is pissing me off, too. And I don’t even know how to ice skate. It’s just…unnatural!

  9. #12

    You know, its nice. I mean, it will get me closer and I think Dan ended up paying $100 for it. Now, in my dream world, I would have the pricier one with the Image Stabilization, or in a super dream world, Id have the L series version. But I am living in reality this year! LOL!. Its fine. Its not going to be the greatest image quality, but Im not a pro photog, so I can live with it!

  10. #16

    Cathy – I am in Buffalo,NY and we have had NO real measurable snow and it is making me very nervous!!!! I keep wondering when it will hit and when it hits will it be like 10 feet at once????? At least when there is snow on the ground we get to look at pretty white landscapes – not the dead grass,brownish yuck that we look at now!!!!

  11. #17

    I hear ya on the lenses. Wonder if they have L Series Anonymous for those of us who have considered blowing the college fund for a lens. And then, hiding it in the camera bag so hubby doesn’t see it.


  12. #18
    Briana N.

    Maybe you could get your snow blower at a discount now since we’re halfway through the season? Last year was WAY too much- those weekend snowstorms were horrible! If it does start snowing it will be your fault, though.

  13. #19

    We’ve been in the same boat, here in Southern Alberta. No snow in January? Kids riding their bikes in shirtsleeves? Grass turning GREEN? Dogs and cats living together? Mass hysteria!

    However, I’m now looking out my office window at the beginning of what is shaping up to be a potential snowpocalypse. I’m sure your turn will come. The end is nigh! πŸ™‚

  14. #20

    Love this post. I live in Ottawa, Canada. Our backyard rink is a huge part of our 13-year-old son’s life (our 14-year old daughter doesn’t get out nearly as much although she’s big-time into ringette. We (mostly my husband) have progressively improved our rink making process over the years. We now have a low wooden frame around the perimeter with a tarp underneath – we often have ‘melts’, so that retains the water until the next freeze. Because it’s right in our backyard (and across our neighbour’s too so we can make it bigger) we can easily flood it with a hose through our basement window from the laundry tub below. The only downside of the backyard rink is that I don’t have any photos of him walking to/from the neighbourhood rink with his skates/helmet hooked off his stick like that great one you have of your son.

  15. #21
    Melinda T


    I live in WI, and I’m so not fond of winters here! I’ve been here 7 years and its way too cold. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that there will be no snow…although like Cole, my daughter is wishing for snow too! πŸ˜€

    Although, I’ve no reason to complain, it has been a pretty mild winter so far! But, c’mon spring, I’m over winter already!

  16. #22
    Tammy Eberhard

    Cathy – your shots are awesome! Love that you have such a willing subject too. Can you tell me if you shoot .jpeg or RAW photo? I have been shooting both, but wondering if I should just back it off to one or the other. I do some post processing, but when I’m in a hurry the .jpeg file is nice.

  17. #24

    We could use some snow in Columbus OH too. My g’son did get to go snow boarding after Christmas but he had ski club at school starting in Dec. Those will have to get made up sometime! I have the windows open now thought- getting cool so I will have to close them soon.

  18. #26

    All I know is that it better get cold enough soon! I received my update email yesterday from USA Hockey that they are putting together “alternative measures” for the Pond Hockey Championships in Eagle River and Dollar Lake had better freeze soon!

  19. #27

    I love action shots! Here in N California we are having a crazy winter also. DRY, sunny and mid 60’s. January and February are our big rain months. . . .not so far.

  20. #28

    Hi Cathy I live in Illinois.
    My husband bought a snowblower this year. I told him if he did, there would be no snow. It is sitting by the garage door and is ready. We decided it will continue to sit there, ready, because if we move it, there will be snow. As a side note, I drive 60 miles to work each day and am relishing this snow free winter. But I know there are those, like your son, who miss it dearly and I sympathize.

  21. #29

    I have a similar situation going on in my house. I live just north of Buffalo, NY. I’ve lived here for 17 years and I can honestly say I’ve never seen a warmer December and January. No SNOW! The adults love it, but my kids desperately want to play in the snow. They made due with a measly 1/4 inch of snow in December and played outside. Because it was right around 32 degrees, they played outside for an hour before coming back inside. That’s just not normal.

  22. #30

    This winter has been the BEST ever! Here in northern Alberta most days have been above freezing. We’ve even had +8C/46 F. There is about 2% snow coverage on the ground. We shoveled a few times in November. Lived here my whole life and it’s never been like this.

    We’re wearing spring coats and running shoes, no warming up the car, no sweeping it off. AWESOME! Even if the snow and cold comes now there isn’t much time until spring, so it will be tolerable.

  23. #31
    Ann Kearns

    I realize he is probably “too old” for this…but, my goodness, that Cole is adorable (just don’t tell him I said that).

    p.s. I hate the snow. I married a landscaper with a plow. Coincidence? hmmm….

  24. #33
    Margy Eastman

    Great photos, Cathy! We got little Jack hockey skates for Christmas and had visions of hitting the grade school playground rink. We have plenty of ice and snow, but it’s -45 today. Ain’t no one goin’ anywhere.

  25. #34

    Love the post and photos. And my hubby is like Cole. He took up hockey about 2 years ago, and he’s been complaining nonstop that this is the “worst” winter ever because he can’t skate at the park across the street.

    Meanwhile, I’m perfectly happy not slipping all over the place or dealing with sidewalk clearing. Buying our double-size corner lot with 2 driveways seemed like a much better idea when we were house-hunting in the fall 5 years ago. πŸ™‚

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *